Well unexpectedly today a package came into the store downstairs. Nice and heavy, I lugged the box up three flights of stairs and opened up my little present. Needless to say given that I am thinking about liners and design a lot due to my little Easter lamb supply, I was super happy when part 2 arrived. Part 2 you ask: yes little Johnny my WW 2 twill reversible camouflage Marine Core cotton party has begun. This fabric used to mean serious money in the vintage world. It was a rare rare day when I might find HBT camo pants from the Asian theater. Maybe they might even have a grenade pouch on the bum. While for most people this brings back old John Wayne movies, or toy soldiers, the recognizable fabric and authentic garments meant serious serious money for the jacket, pants, poncho, tent or coveralls discovered from military collectors. Well, while still war hating and pacifistic most of the time, I am still a little kid around military gear. I was at the Outdoors show recently playing with the real soldiers and their toys and of course thinking about Camo. Now I have my perfect reversible WW 2 camo fabric just sitting here, out of breath, imagining all the things I can make with it. I’ve seen so many brands using this fabric…I somehow feel entitled after spending years hunting for it in raghouses for vintage collectors. I hope to make something worthy of its “heritage”!
COPYRIGHT Brian Patterson
One of the bonus of what I do is that the people really really into good jackets, vintage jackets seek me out through the web. Until the availability of free blogging I was basically hidden away here in Toronto. With the advent of the blogger platform I have been able to reach out to cool jacket heads all over the planet. One of the coolest I’ve met is Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. A few months back Dan bought a specialized Avro D Pocket jacket from me to tour in. My good friend Matt at Immogene and Willy introduced us. My global network of new friends keeps expanding! Dan is super cool and while was in town he brought his tourmates including Gus by my warehouse to check out Himel Brothers Jackets and order some new ones. Super cool fun, the best part is that he really knows his shit.Â Dan brought the Arctic Monkeys by too. Alex and Matt love their Lewis Leathers which is awesome because the owner Derek Harris is a pal and we go way back! They also were a laugh all the way from Sheffield, England, where I spend some of my youth! They hung out for a bit but my jackets were not their style…but the vintage Brooks two tone looked cool. Second best part: reminded me of why I got into the jacket making business which was to make people look cool and not have to wear craptastic jackets! Im learning…hopefully the historical designs will get better.
It is always hard to explain to people what I do over here in my little tiny company. I often get emails from people wondering why my jackets and other items are so expensive or why it takes so long to make a single jacket. I guess part of my job is trying to de-mystify what I do. A lot of people might see that as a crazy thing to do but I want anybody who is interested to see the day to day workings of HBL. Firstly I do almost everything. I run a very tiny shop! I have one other sewer and one cutter. We make each jacket one by one by one. Cutting each carefully matched piece of leather from the skin and assembling every single jacket a piece at a time. I post about this all the time. Well I just got a new shipment of leather in. I search out vegetable tanned top grain shrunk hides from the best tanners on the planet. This shit’s expensive. My hides are running as high as ten dollars a sq. foot. What this means is my leather is like fine wine. It is aged, cured and treated with incredible respect from the most beautiful sourced animals on the planet. This load is from the most respected cordovan tannery in Japan. As far as I know only 3 other jacket makers use this tannery, John Chapman of Goodwear Leather, Tsujimoto of Real McCoys and The Flathead. Perhaps there are others but most importantly for me is that I use the best of the best leathers on the planet and I know my friends in the jacket business feel the same way. This load is for my new secret super special project debuting in the U.S.A. soon. I have also acquired some very interesting liners. These jackets will be super limited edition HBL specials!!!