Shearling Material: Everything You Need to Know

Pologeorgis Furs

Posted on September 04 2023

Shearling Material: Everything You Need to Know

Shearling material is a luxurious and versatile material that has been used for centuries in various industries. Understanding the basics of shearling material is essential for anyone interested in its qualities and applications. 

So, in this article we will delve into the history of shearling, discuss its characteristics, examine common uses, explore the production process, and look at some maintenance tips and ethical considerations. But first things first, what is shearling? 

What is Shearling? 

Shearling material is a type of sheepskin that has undergone a special tanning process, which leaves the wool intact on one side while the leather remains on the other, combining  the softness and insulation properties of wool with the durability and versatility of leather.

Additionally, the tanning process plays a role in determining the quality of the shearling given they utilize techniques that preserve the natural characteristics of the wool and leather, resulting in a luxurious material. Now let’s take a trip through history to understand the origin of this material. 

The History and Origin of Shearling

The history of shearling dates back to ancient times, when humans first started domesticating sheep, given they provided warmth, food, and clothing to early civilizations. As time went by, it quickly became a popular material for garments, footwear, and accessories.

In more recent decades, shearling gained significant popularity in the fashion industry, especially during the 1960s and 1970s, when designers recognized the luxurious appeal of shearling and incorporated it into their collections, showcasing its versatility and timeless elegance.

Today, the natural beauty and warmth of shearling make it a favorite among fashion enthusiasts who appreciate both comfort and style. So whether you're looking for a statement piece or a practical item to keep you warm during the colder months, shearling is a material that offers both functionality and fashion-forward appeal. Now let’s take a closer look at its characteristics. 

The 7 Main Characteristics of Shearling

To further understand the benefits of shearling material in clothing and footwear, let’s take a closer look at the main characteristics that come with this fur: 

  1. It has a unique texture and appearance that sets it apart from other materials. 
  2. It provides natural insulation, offering exceptional softness and warmth.
  3. It adds a touch of elegance to any garment or accessory made from this material.
  4. It comes in a variety of colors and finishes, allowing for endless possibilities in design. 
  5. It offers exceptional durability and longevity, especially when it’s well-maintained.
  6. It develops a rich patina over time, adding character and charm to the material. 
  7. It has the ability to regulate temperature, making it ideal for both cold and mild climates.

Whether it's a shearling-lined jacket, gloves, or slippers, you'll experience a level of comfort that is unmatched by other materials. However to further understand shearling, let’s take a look into how this material is used. 

The 4 Main Uses of Shearling 

Shearling used to be exclusively for coats, but as time went by, these uses began to expand. So, let’s take a closer look at some of these uses. These include: 

  1. Making coats, jackets, and vests that are renowned for their elegance, warmth, and versatility. 
  2. Making accessories like hats, gloves, and bags that provide a stylish finishing touch to an outfit.
  3. Making home decor and furnishings, like cushions, blankets, rugs, and upholstery, which adds a luxurious and comfortable element to any living space. 
  4. Lining car seat covers, steering wheel covers, and other interior components to enhance the comfort and style of your car, while also making the components more durable. 

Now that we have understood what shearling is, its history and origins, their characteristics, and their main uses, let’s take a closer look into how this material is made to further understand its appeal and high-cost. 

The Production Process of Shearling

The production process of shearing is very meticulous which is part of the reason it is so soft and durable. So let’s take a closer look at the steps of the production process of shearling to further understand how it is made.

  1. The first step is the selection of the sheepskin where only the highest quality skins are selected. 
  2. After the selection process, shearers carefully remove the sheep's fleece using specialized tools to avoid any damage to the wool, ensuring that it remains intact. 
  3. The raw shearling is then subjected to cleaning, dehairing, and a tanning process by salting, pickling, or using chemical solutions, to stabilize the skin. 
  4. Once the shearling is clean and de-haired, it undergoes a preservation process to prevent decay and ensure its longevity. 
  5. After the tanning process, the sheepskin undergoes some finishing techniques with the use of dyes and oils to enhance the softness, texture, and appearance of the shearling. 

These finishing touches add character to the material, making each piece of shearling truly one-of-a-kind. The end result is a magnificent material that showcases the best qualities of both wool and leather. Now let’s take a look at how to maintain your fur in top condition. 

How to Maintain and Care for Shearling

Shearling products are not only stylish and luxurious, but they also require proper care to maintain their beauty and longevity. By following a few simple guidelines, you can ensure that your shearling items stay in pristine condition for years to come.

  1. Clean your shearling by gently brushing the wool to remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated, preventing any matting of the wool fibers.
  2. If you notice any stains, it's best to spot-clean them by using a damp cloth and a specialized shearling cleaner and gently dabbing the stain.
  3. Avoid immersing the shearling in water or exposing it to direct heat sources as it can lead to irreversible damage. 
  4. Find a cool and dry place that is away from direct sunlight to store your shearling, as direct sunlight can cause the color of the shearling to fade over time.
  5. Hang your shearling on wide, padded hangers, which will help maintain their shape and prevent any unnecessary creasing or wrinkling.
  6. Avoid packing your shearling in plastic storage bags or containers, as this can lead to the wool fibers becoming compressed and losing their natural loftiness. 

By following these care and maintenance tips, you can ensure that your shearling products remain soft, supple, and beautiful for many years to come. With a little extra attention, your shearling items will continue to provide warmth and style season after season.

The Ethical Considerations in Shearling Production

Shearling production is a well-established industry that involves the harvesting of sheepskin to create warm and luxurious garments. However, as with any industry that involves animal products, there are ethical considerations that need to be addressed. 

Ethical Concerns

Conservation Efforts

The treatment of the animals that produce the skin, as they don’t always have access to proper nutrition, clean water, and appropriate living conditions. 

There are certifications, such as the Responsible Wool Standard or the Global Organic Textile Standard, that provide reassurance that the shearling comes from farms that adhere to responsible and humane practices. 

Sheep farming has the potential to contribute to environmental degradation and further damage to the ecosystem. 

Producers are addressing these environmental concerns by implementing eco-friendly practices like the use of natural tanning agents, minimizing water and energy consumption, and rotational grazing, which minimizes their ecological footprint. 

Ethical considerations in shearling production encompass both animal welfare concerns and the environmental impact of the industry. It is important for consumers to be aware of these issues and make informed choices when purchasing shearling products. 

By supporting producers who prioritize responsible and humane practices, we can contribute to a more ethical and sustainable shearling industry. Here at Pologeorgis we are committed to sustainable, ethical, and traceable fashion.

The Timeless Elegance of Shearling

Shearling material is a unique and versatile material that combines the qualities of wool and leather. Whether you choose shearling for its warmth, comfort, or luxurious appeal, this remarkable material continues to captivate and inspire.

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