Pig Skin

Pigskin Manufacture

Pig skin is the leather fabric made from a pig or a hog. In garments and shoes it is usually referred to as ‘Genuine leather.’ If the product says this it is usually Pigskin that has been used. Pigskin leather is also sometimes referred to as ‘Berkshire’ leather.

Pigskin began to be used in 1852, as a more affordable substitute to goat leather, as the qualities and appearance are very similar. It was used frequently to make footballs, until these were replaced with synthetic materials. It was also used a lot in bookbinding as it had the best properties of all the comparable leathers, whilst still being affordable.

By the 1950’s developments in technology meant that Pigskin was now a commercially viable product to be used in garments. Like Cowhide, Pigskin leather is usually a by-product of the food industry. Leathers are made to reduce the amount of waste created and it is very unusual that Pigs are killed purely for their skin.

Pigskin leather is usually artificially grained meaning that a grain pattern is imprinted into the fabric. This is done to give it a better surface texture and make it more aesthetically pleasing.

Properties of Pigskin

  • Softer than most other leathers
  • Can be finished in the same way as other leathers such as having a sueded texture
  • Tough
  • Pliable
  • Flexible
  • Withstands moisture without stiffening
  • Excellent Abrasion resistance
  • Durable
  • Strong
  • Thin
  • Grain pattern
  • Breathable
  • Water, oil and stain repellent
  • Easy care maintenance

Uses of Pigskin in Fashion Past and Present

  • Work Gloves
  • Wallets
  • Shoes
  • Bags
  • Louis Vuitton use pigskin leather frequently in their handbags
  • Lots of shoes and sports shoes use pigskin suede on the inside

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Written by Kelly Mitchell

Kelly Mitchell, extremely competent and reliable, she is currently in her third year at the University of Lincoln UK, studying Fashion. Kelly is responsible for the Fabrics, Fibers and Leathers sections of our Dictionary

3 thoughts on “Pig Skin

  1. Is it possible to identify just by visual inspection whether a leather piece has been manufactured (either partially or fully) from pigskin or not?

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