wholesalers should have it, I don't know about US. The coolest stuff always comes from Italy, than be copied in China. I have checked my stock, sorry no gator! If nobody else here has an address for you, I will check my sources for you, but you might email me a photo what look you like. For the finish, pls see down.
I don't know about the demand for gators, I think it's mostly about fashion, sometimes it's in sometimes it's out and you're certainly right, there is in principle no justification to make any preference from one animal to another. What I was trying to say is, that a cow is not slaughterd because of the purpose for the skin, it's for the meat and the skin is just about 10% of the value. So if tomorrow nobody would eat meat, there would be no chance of gator prints, we had to use the real one. In fact a few years back we had the BSE crisis in Europe, people stopped eating meat for almost three months and there was no more fresh material in the market, from European origin of course. Please allow me a few personal notes. I love leather, I'm making my living with it, but I think I love animals and nature more than that. As a shoe technician I've traveled all around the world and made millions of leather shoes, millions sqft of leather from thousands of cows, kids and sheep. The idea, that these animals would have been slaughterd, because of my shoe production I've could never stand it, I would had to quit. Certainly I have no problem with that, if others think different about it, it's only my personal idea. On the other hand, I'm sure we all love leather, but this should make us also be aware of the problems which are coming with that as well, like animal treatment or pollution in the tanneries. Because if we do not take care of that, than we leave this field to some crazy guys like the PETA, who are having no solution to the problem, but the publicity. Personally I have banned the use for calf leathers from certain origins, because of the cruel transportation and no leather from any tannery, which has not a proper pollution certification for my production and I was able to convince dozens of factories to do the same. I hope you don't mind my comments, I agree, this forum is may be not the right place for that and it's fine with me, if you might delete the thread, but I felt it's important to mention it at least once. It would be certainly more fun to discuss about it with a good glass - may be sometime.
For the dying part, there are two products specially made for self dying , one is from Stahl the other from Kenda Faben. You dip the leather for 5-10 sec in the dye solution and you're done. No bleeding. The leather has to be vegetable tanned, on chrome it doesn't work. It's really an interesting product, you can even dye the whole shoe, it looks great. For example you dye in blue color, the upper, lining and sole are all coming out in blue, but each one in a different shade. Supreme finishes has one product where you can make your own metallic colors, but I have not tried it yet.