Argentina is famous for many goods and resources, but it is probably most famous for its cows. Their meat is renowned worldwide and the leather goods that are made here are of the highest quality. Everything from finely made shoes, wallets, bags, and jackets can be found at very reasonable prices. There are so many options that it can be difficult to know where to go to get the best quality and price. Below are some recommendations for places to buy leather jackets that I have visited (unfortunately wasn’t able to purchase much) and a few tips on what “genuine leather” is.
In general, the products in Argentina are all real leather and of decent to high quality. Since there are so many options it is advisable that you learn a little bit about what characterizes quality leather from average or even poor grade leather. The basic ways to distinguish good from okay leather is by analyzing the way it was dyed, the stitch work, and of course the material.
Lambskin: This material is soft, stretches, and form-fitting. It is best for leather that will be worn directly on the skin. It is generally more expensive and used to make classier products.
Lamb Touch Cow or Cow Nappa: Very similar to lambskin leather but it is actually cowhide instead. Soft, lightweight, and form-fitting.
Cow Leather: Much heavier, more durable, and more textured than the others. Best for outerwear.
If you have good material you still need to ensure that it was dyed a certain way. The leather is usually dyed in one of two ways. The cheaper and lower quality way is to surface-dye the leather. If the seams and needle marks show a different color than the color of the jacket, this is a good sign that it was surfaced-dyed. The better form of dying is by using a chemical called aniline that soaks into the leather and brings out its natural color. Whichever way the jacket may be dyed, check for large blemishes and marks as this will give you more insight into the grade of the leather. Good leather manufacturers will use the highest grade and no jacket will have any unsightly blemishes on it.
Another way to determine if the leather is good quality is by its smell. Even though it may be dyed in chemicals, it should still smell like that unmistakable leather scent. Furthermore, give it a feel. The texture should be smooth, flexible (not hard to bend), and soft to the touch.
Recommendations for Buying Leather in Buenos Aires
The most well-known place to go to find leather goods is calle Murillo in Villa Crespo. There are so many options and price ranges that it is a little overwhelming. If you are looking for something higher end Murillo 666 is infallible. Prices range from 3,000 – 5,000 pesos depending on the type of material you want (cow or lambskin).
Calle San Jose and Belgrano (Monserrat): Again, there are many options worth checking out in this area. Prices are generally lower than calle Murillo but there are still some higher end places.
Silvia Eisele: Amazing quality and custom made jackets. Bring in a picture of something you like or use their catalogs to design the perfect fit. As with everything, better quality means you will pay more. However, the prices are still reasonable and usually under 6000 pesos. (www.silviaeiselecueros.com.ar)
Bettina Rizzi: Similar to Silvia Eisele. Custom made jackets by a well established name. (www.bettinarizzi.com)
Doma: More modern and fashionable than some of the other stores. Doma has a few stores in the city and good quality products. (El Salvador 4693, Palermo)
AntPiel: Good selection of well made jackets. They also sell fur coats and a few other accessories. (www.antpiel.com.ar)
There are a lot more potential shops that you could visit. If you think that I have neglected a good spot, or if one of these stores didn’t live up to their reputation let me know!