New Zealand Slinkskin
New Zealand, known as the " land of the long white cloud ", is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Sparcely populated and lush in vegetation, vast forests and pastures make New Zealand a veritable green kingdom.
New Zealand is the world's second-largest wool producer, and at an estimated 55 million, there are far more sheep than people here.
The introduction of sheep to New Zealand was very late. On the second of three voyages to New Zealand, James Cook released an ewe and a ram in the voice of Queen Charlotte in Marlborough. The two animals survived in their new home for only a few days and it wasn't until the 1850s that sheep farming occupied the country.
By 1882, the lamb was an important source of income for the young British colony. Since the establishment of the industry, wool and slinkskin have become one of New Zealand's most valuable exports.
In the spring lambing season, about 30 million spring lambs are born on this pure land. During this season, the weather is erratic and cold fronts sweep through New Zealand's countryside. On rural farms in high mountains, and in the deep South snow often blankets the ground. As with all animals under normal circumstances, there is an element of natural loss. With the unpredictable spring weather about 10% of lambs die in New Zealand naturally at birth, and within 2-3 days of the cold season 5% of lambs will die. Of these totals, only 1.2 to 1.5 million slinkskins can be collected and tanned to be used as slinkskin garments.
BONZ and Knights use this pure and natural material to design a series of light and warm high-quality slinkskin garments for men and women.
Established in 1985, BONZ manufactures and retails luxury New Zealand made clothing and accessories. We are best known for creating elevated and opulent garments from rare, locally sourced, high-quality materials. Our collections are inspired by our New Zealand origin with uncomplicated yet refined and timeless designs. The company is headquartered in Queenstown and operates a design studio and factory in Invercargill.
Knight of New Zealand was founded in 1972 under the name Knight Tailors. The company has evolved from making bespoke suits to producing premium lambskin jackets and knitwear known around the world. We create luxurious garments from rare and high-quality materials, most notably baby lamb, kid goat and possum – all ethically sourced and sustainable. Knights garments are sold in luxury clothing stores around the world, and through our own New Zealand retail stores.
Advantages of slinkskin
100% natural slinkskin has excellent heat insulation effect, which allows the wearer to stay warm without wearing multiple layers. The back of the leather is polished to form a soft velvety suede or lightweight napa leather.
Slinkskin garments weigh only a portion of traditional sheepskin but retain the warmth that only natural wool can provide. The leather has undergone a special professional treatment, so the leather will not odor.
Wool has natural curl and elasticity, which can lock in the warm air for a long time. The sheep rely on wool to protect against cold and heatstroke, this makes it an effective option for warmth for humans also as the body temperature of sheep and humans is the closest in nature.
Slinkskin clothing is easy to take care of. It has been subjected to wind, sun and rain when it is on the sheep, so it is more convenient to use and easier to store. All of our slinkskin garments are professionally dry-cleanable.
The moisture-wicking property of wool is unique in nature. It can absorb 30% of its own weight without feeling wet. When it encounters air circulation, the moisture can easily volatilize into the air in time.
Production and Handmade Processing
Because these slinkskins are obtained from young animals, the natural leather fibers are tightly interlocked to form a very fine, lightweight and durable material.
Making leather is a complex process. Each slinkskin undergoes rawhide shovel, antiseptic treatment, water immersion treatment, skin wash with water, removal of oil stains, tanning, dying as well as special treatments to create specific finishes on the skin.
After obtaining the well-tanned slinkskin, a complicated cutting and manufacturing process is required. Unlike most garments mass-produced on the production line, each of our slinkskin garments is hand-crafted out of multiple individual pieces of raw material. It takes about 30 slinkskins to make one garment.
Each panel on our clothing is hand drawn, process of absolute precision. Only the very best part of each skin can be used and the natural defects and blemishes which naturally occur are carefully marked and avoided.
Each panel is individually cut using lines marked by a pattern layer. All overlapping panel areas (such as the seams and hem of the garment) are shaved to prevent excessive volume and enhance the drape of the garment.
The sewing machine used is an industrial heavy machine called a "walking machine". The heavy raw materials mean these machines are not automated, the technology is all in the hands of the machinist.
After sewing, each garment is transferred to the grooming and finishing stage. Buttons are usually made of natural materials such as horns, so they are irregular in shape. Each button is hand-stitched to enhance durability.
Garments are inspected internally and externally before packaging and distribution. At this point, the artisans personally sign a quality guarantee-confirming that the quality of the garment meets our high standards.
The special raw materials, and a complicated manufacturing process, makes each garment a unique boutique piece. Creating a purely handmade slinkskin leather garment is not only time-consuming and labor-intensive, it is also a bold abandonment of traditional raw materials. For excellence and quality, all investment and abandonment are worth it.
Every finished product has the hard work of the designer and the maker from the selection of the material to the completion of the production. Our pride for each garment is apparent on the "Craft guarantee" label sewn permanently on the garment. If properly maintained, we can guarantee that your leather garment will last a lifetime.