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  1. A tough material produced from the skin of animals, by tanning or similar process, used e.g. for clothing.
  2. A piece of leather used for polishing.

Leather in modern culture

Leather, due to its excellent abrasion and wind resistance, found a use in rugged occupations. The enduring image of a cowboy in leather chaps gave way to the leather-jacketed and leather-helmeted aviator. When motorcycles were invented, some riders took to wearing heavy leather jackets to protect from road rash and wind blast; some also wear chaps or full leather pants to protect the lower body. Many sports still use leather to help in playing the game or protecting players: due to its flexible nature it can be formed and flexed for the occasion.

As leather can also be a metonymical term for objects made from it, the term leathering is as logical as tanning in the sense of a physical punishment (such as a severe spanking) applied with a leather whip, martinet etcetera.

Due to leather's physical attributes, the fact that it is almost impossible to rip or break, professional wrestling federations use leather in all of their championship belts. This is also the case with all other championship belts in boxing, martial arts etc.

Leather fetishism is the name popularly used to describe a fetishistic attraction to people wearing leather, or in certain cases, to the garments themselves. The word leather itself came to be used as synonymous with sado-masochism in the 1980s, after achieving that status in homosexual jargon in the 1970s.

A number of rock groups, particularly Heavy Metal groups such as Judas Priest and Scorpions, are well-known for wearing leather clothing. Leather clothing, particularly jackets, almost come as standard in the heavy metal subculture. Extreme metal bands, especially black metal bands, have extensive leather clothing, i.e. leather trousers, accessories etc.

In today's times, many cars and trucks come optional or standard with 'leather' seating. This can range from cheap vinyl material, found on some low cost vehicles, to Nappa leather, found on luxury car brands like Mercedes-Benz.

Leather biodegrades slowly, e.g. a pair of leather shoes takes 25-40 years to decompose.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Leather" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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