Masterfully crafted with a leather that is elegant without being uppity: that is what you get with our bison leather jackets. They’re premium without the pomp. Refined but still rugged. And built with good old fashioned craftsmanship.
IS BISON LEATHER THE SAME AS BUFFALO LEATHER?
Is a bison leather jacket the same as a buffalo leather jacket? That’s a very common question. In the US, we typically use the names bison and buffalo interchangeably, and the North American bison is often referred to as a buffalo. But here’s your fun fact of the day: while bison leather and buffalo leather share many common characteristics, the North American bison is a different species than a buffalo. (True buffalos are only the Asian Water Buffalo or the African Cape Buffalo.) But, like most folks in the US, when we at Buffalo Jackson say bison or buffalo, we’re talking good ol’ North American bison leather.
(You can learn more about the differences between bison and buffalo leather by reading this article.)
BISON LEATHER JACKETS VS. COW LEATHER JACKETS
Bison leather jackets and cow leather jackets are both incredible options. The main differences are in the grain pattern and how the leather is processed.
Bison leather jackets, like cow leather jackets, are made by skilled artisans in the traditions of centuries past. The distinctive grain of bison leather is highly desirable, so to preserve this feature, the bison hides are not stretched during the tanning process.
In its natural state, a bison hide is not necessarily stronger than cowhide. Both are the strongest easily obtainable animal hides, and they’re similar in strength and elasticity. But, the strength of a leather is dictated by the thickness of the hide or the leather grade. As mentioned above, bison hides are typically not stretched as much as cowhide, which means bison leather jackets may be considered even stronger than cow leather jackets.
APPEARANCE & QUALITY
The same grades of quality (full-grain, top-grain, etc.) apply to both bison leather and cow leather. As far as hide sizes go, even though a bison is a much larger animal than a cow, bison hides are generally smaller in size because they’re not stretched like cowhides.
Artisans and manufacturers go to great lengths to protect the unique grain patterning of bison leather.
TAKING CARE OF YOUR BISON LEATHER JACKET
To get the most out of bison leather, you’ll need to dedicate some attention to proper upkeep. Be sure to review our articles for details on how to care for wet or stained leather. You can also shop our leather care products for our premium, easy-to-use cleaner and conditioner. Check out these 5 basic steps to cleaning your bison leather jacket:
*Always spot-check each step before proceeding with the full jacket!
- Lightly dust. Gently wipe away any dust or oil buildup using a soft cloth in a light circular motion.
- Prepare cleaning solution. *If your jacket isn't excessively dirty, skip to step 4. Mix two teaspoons of mild liquid detergent with warm water to create a gentle cleaning solution that can be used on bison leather without causing abrasions or other damage.
- Gently clean. Soak a soft sponge or cloth in your mild soap solution until it is saturated, then wring it out so it’s damp, but not soaking wet. The key to this cleaning approach is to use as little moisture as possible. Lightly blot the leather to avoid leaving watermarks, and remember to feather your blots. Do not rub or scrub!
- Wipe down. Remove soap residue by wiping down with a clean cloth saturated with a small amount of clean water. (Remember to use the smallest amount of moisture needed.) Then, pat the leather with a soft, dry towel, and hang the jacket somewhere cool until it is completely dry. Do not use direct heat (like a hair dryer or direct sunlight) to try to speed up the drying time.
- Remember the inside! The soap solution used for cleaning the outside of your leather jacket can also be used to clean the inside. Remember that cleaning the inside of your jacket is as important as preserving the outside; sweat on the interior of the jacket can eventually break down the lining and compromise the leather. To clean the inside, turn the jacket inside-out, and use a soft sponge or cloth and the same mild soap solution. Pay close attention to the cuffs, collar, and underarms, and then hang the jacket to dry in a cool, dry area. (Do not use direct heat.)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. How do you store bison leather jackets?
You probably won’t be storing your bison leather jacket a whole lot because you’ll be wearing it everywhere! But seasonally, it’s normal to store it for a while. Storing it properly will help keep the bison leather healthy and the jacket in good shape.
- Clean it first. (Simply follow the steps outlined above.)
- Stuff the insides of your bison leather jacket with acid-free paper. Insert the paper in the sleeves and pockets of your jacket, and then close all the buttons and zippers. (You can also wrap the zippers to avoid scuffing the leather.) Stuffing the jacket helps to keep its shape, and the acid-free paper helps create a barrier for dust, dirt, and moisture.
- Wrap your jacket in a breathable fabric. You can use a white bed sheet, cloth garment bag, or a bag made with netting to do this. Do not wrap a bison leather jacket in plastic; plastic will dry out the leather. Also, avoid folding your jacket when you wrap or cover it because, over time, the folds will permanently crease the bison leather, ruining the jacket’s original shape and form.
- If you have the space, hang the jacket on a wide cedar or padded hanger. (These types of hangers can properly support the shoulders and weight of a bison leather jacket so that it doesn’t droop during storage. Do not use thin wired or plastic hangers.) If you don’t have space to properly hang your jacket, you can place it in a wooden (preferably cedar) trunk or even a suitcase. Just like when you are wrapping the jacket, be sure to lay it flat without folds or creases. Additionally, make sure that air can pass in and out of the container. Do not store bison leather in a plastic container – plastic containers will not allow the leather to breathe.
- Protect your leather jacket by storing it in a dry, cool area away from direct sunlight. Exposing a bison leather jacket to too much light or warmth can cause the leather to discolor, expand, dry out, or crack. Moisture is also a major cause for concern as it can cause mildew and mold to grow. This means it is extremely important that the place where you store your jacket is not humid. Placing silica gel packets in the jacket pockets can help absorb moisture. And, if you need to store it for an extended period of time (say, longer than 6 months), be sure to air it out occasionally.
2. How should you style a bison leather jacket?
Really, however you want. But, here are 3 of our favorite bison leather jacket outfits:
- Jeans + Tee Shirt: Nothing’s quite as classic as a bison leather jacket with a black or white tee and a pair of jeans.
- Sweater: A sweater with a bison leather jacket looks dressed up but not stuffy.
- Plaid Button Down: This combo is a sure winner. You can’t go wrong with bison leather and plaid. (Check out this article for more ideas.)
3. How do you break in a bison leather jacket?
Here are 3 easy tips to get you started:
- Wear it. The best way to break in a bison leather jacket is the old fashioned way – just keep on wearing it.
- Roll it into a ball. Simply use your hands to tightly crunch your bison leather jacket up into a ball. Release and repeat.
- Move and flex in it. Repeat simple moves like arm circles and pushups to accelerate the “wearing” effect. (Check out this article for a few more tricks.)