It’s not uncommon for clothes to fade over time. If you wear the same shirt for several years, for example, it will likely fade to a lighter tone. It may have originally been dark blue, but after years of use, the shirt may fade to a light blue color. So, can leather jackets fade as well, or is this phenomenon restricted to traditional garments like shirts and sweaters?
Yes, Leather Jackets Can Fade
Nearly all garments can fade over time, and leather jackets are no exception. If you wear a leather jacket long enough, you can expect it to fade to a lighter tone. It’s usually not a significant color change, but it’s still a noticeable difference.
Black leather jackets may fade to a lighter off-black color, whereas dark brown leather jackets made fade to a light brown or tan color.
Your leather jacket won’t fade overnight. Depending on the type and quality, it may take several years before you notice any change in its color. Furthermore, there are ways to protect your leather jacket from fading, which we’ll discuss later in this blog post.
Why Fading Isn’t Necessarily Bad
While fading is often viewed as a flaw, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Fading is merely aesthetic, meaning it won’t affect the strength, durability or softness of your leather jacket. The only difference is that faded leather jackets have a lighter tone than their non-faded counterparts.
Some people actually prefer the lighter tone of faded leather jackets over the darker tone of non-faded leather jackets. When a leather jacket fades, it develops a distinct appearance that’s not found in new, non-faded leather jackets. The characteristics of fading are subtle, but it usually results in a uniquely stylish appearance. Faded leather jackets look somewhat vintage, often featuring distinct patches of fading that many people prefer.
Furthermore, faded leather jackets usually feel softer and more “worn in” than non-faded leather jackets. As your leather jacket fades, you may notice these subtle changes.
What Causes Leather Jackets to Fade?
The main cause of fading in leather jackets is sun exposure. Ultraviolet (UV) sunlight penetrates deep into the leather, neutralizing its color compounds to create the appearance of a lighter tone. UV sunlight essentially bleaches leather — as well as other fabrics — which is the underlying cause of fading.
In addition to sun exposure, leather jackets may also fade if harsh cleaning chemicals are used on them. It should go without saying that bleach is not suitable for use on a leather jacket. Even if you dilute it in water, bleach is still a powerful chemical that will strip out the color compounds in your leather jacket.
Exposure to hot water can cause your leather jacket to fade as well. Hot water causes the color compounds in leather to leach out. It won’t turn your leather jacket white, but it can still cause your jacket to fade nonetheless. Of course, your leather jacket shouldn’t see any direct exposure to hot water. If your leather jacket is dirty, just spot clean it by hand rather than cleaning it in the washing machine.
Protecting Your Leather Jacket From Fading
The good news is that you can minimize the risk of fading with your leather jacket by following a few simple steps. First, avoid storing your leather jacket in direct sunlight for a prolonged period. You can certainly wear it outdoors, even when on bright and sunny days, but you shouldn’t store your leather jacket in an area where it’s directly exposed to sunlight for a long period of time. If you keep your leather jacket in your car seat, for example, the countless hours of sun exposure it will receive will likely cause it to fade.
Choosing a genuine, high-quality leather jacket will also reduce the risk of fading. Some types of artificial leather jackets are even more susceptible to fading because they are made of synthetic fabric with artificial dye, which doesn’t hold its color as well as genuine leather.
Even if a leather jacket is made of genuine leather, though, it may still fade over time. But you can minimize the effects of fading by choosing a jacket made of high-quality leather. Napa leather jackets are the perfect choice because of their superior level of quality. By definition, Napa is a type of sheepskin leather that originated in Napa, California where it was first created by the Sawyer Tanning Company. Since then, the term “Napa” has become synonymous with high-quality leather, which among other things, are less likely to fade than lower-quality leather jackets.
Choose a Leather Jacket in a Light Tone
You can minimize the visual effects of fading by choosing a leather jacket in a light tone. This won’t necessarily prevent it from fading. Rather, the effects of fading will be less noticeable if your leather jacket features a light tone rather than a dark tone.
Instead of a black leather jacket, for example, consider choosing a light brown leather jacket. Where can you find leather jackets in light tones such as this? Here at LeatherCult, we offer leather jackets in dozens of colors. After choosing your preferred leather jacket, you can select your desired color. Additionally, we offer custom sizing on leather jackets at no additional charge, ensuring you get the perfect fit with your new jacket.
You can still wear a leather jacket in a dark tone, but just remember that dark tones reveal the effects of fading more prominently than light tones.
Embrace the Fade
Instead of trying to prevent it, you should consider embracing your leather jacket’s faded appearance. As previously mentioned, fading generally doesn’t affect the physical properties of leather. It only makes it a lighter tone. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about fading damaging or otherwise shortening the lifespan of your leather jacket. You can just embrace your jacket’s new lighter tone rather than trying to stop it from happening.