Sheepskin, the natural way to keep warm. British sheepskin has remarkable practical and environmental characteristics.

Since the pandemic, the decline in popularity of British sheepskin seen over the last thirty years has reversed sharply as consumers rediscover this wonderful, versatile material and learn about its natural, sustainable qualities. The price of fleeces is gradually rising again too.

Leather UK is working hard to support the industry in taking advantage of this increased demand for sheepskin products both at home and overseas.
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Top facts about British sheepskin

• The South West of England has a rich history in sheepskin and its industry can be dated back at least one thousand years. Leather UK members who call this part of the world home include Devonia, the oldest sheepskin processor in the UK, Pittards, Celtic & Co and Owen Barry, who produce wonderful leather and sheepskin products.

• Sheepskin has excellent insulating properties, is hypoallergenic and draws perspiration away from the wearer, making it exceptionally comfortable to use.

• Fast fashion contributes 10% of global carbon emissions. Sheepskin is a natural alternative, and a responsible choice for consumers who want to limit their impact on the environment

Where it all started

The British sheepskin industry has a long history that stretches back at least one thousand years to the Abbey of Glastonbury in Somerset. To this day, the South West of England remains at the heart of the industry, containing the two largest tanneries in the UK. Wales is another important location.

Despite the availability of many synthetic alternatives, natural sheepskin is still the best choice for quality, warmth and the environment. There are 150 different sheep breeds in the UK and this means there is a wide variety of sheepskins to choose from, all with different characteristics.

Sheepskin – the responsible choice for the environment

Choosing sheepskin is not just a personal choice, but also an environmentally friendly one.

The UK primarily farms sheep for meat and wool, meaning that sheepskin, as a by-product of the food industry, is a readily available resource that comes at no extra cost to the environment. When sheepskin is thrown away, it decomposes naturally

The UK sheepskin industry grew 5.8% in 2021. Record sales at British sheepskin business Celtic and Co., which grew 88% last year, signals demand for sheepskin is likely to continue to rise in the coming years. However, there is still much work to be done to communicate the environmental and practical benefits of sheepskin products to consumers overseas and Leather UK is working hard in this regard.

Sheepskin – a versatile material

Sheepskin is durable, warm and long-lasting. It contains lanolin, a wax-like substance, that protects the sheepskin and makes it largely self-cleaning. This results in less water and fewer chemicals required on the rare occasions that it does need to be cleaned. It has an incredible life span and will decompose naturally when disposed of whereas synthetic materials will take forty years to decompose or more and can release harmful chemicals into the environment.

Sheepskin is hugely versatile. It can be made into clothing, footwear, bags, home interiors items such as cushions, rugs, wall hangings, throws and even decorations and furniture. Baa Stools famous stools are a best seller.

Quite simply, sheepskin is stylish, practical, environmentally friendly and a wonderful addition to your home and wardrobe.

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