I seem to get a lot of questions regarding the “cost” of my jackets. I have noticed a rather disturbing trend regarding the use of the term “vintage” and worse, the use of the designs from the past. I rarely focus on the negative regarding the emerging new brands that are either heritage brands, or heritage based brands but of late these brands have been appearing in somewhat of a “frenzy”. Every week there seems to be a new clothing brand, or an old clothing brand, producing a replica vintage product. It would almost appear that as long as a garment contains some tweed, oilskin or horsehide it is now “authentic”.
Last week a leather jacket company called me looking for horsehide leather. They were quite frustrated that they could not purchase horsehide leather from Horween for 3 dollars a square foot. This was a very very old original California leather jacket maker and as I am an amicable fellow I offered up my expertise on available horsehide and design in the hopes that there would be a small exchange of history in trade. I was rushed off the phone, the company in question taking my information and assurance that there is not a “cheap” supply of vintage horsehide, and has since ignored my requests for a historical inquiry.
Last week I also saw some very interesting knockoff 1960s hippy jackets that were near perfect replicas of some original jackets…the problem being that the sewing techniques and leather were not of the same quality and character of the originals. Ok, here is my point. I am sure there are cheaper ways to simulate “authenticity” and certainly anybody can put a D pocket on a jacket and call it vintage design. The real art of making a perfect jacket is in spending the time and money to go back to the best of the best of handmade materials, cutting and techniques of manufacture. These are not always easily discernible on the surface. There is no shortcut or cheap way to imitate this kind of “authenticity”. Often the slightest improvement in technique and materials can increase the labour and cost of a great jacket exponentially. But isn’t that what one should strive for in an ‘authentic” jacket? I will not knock others efforts, and I am sure that many will not see the value in my search for the best of the best. But I think it is important to acknowledge the quest and be honest in the authenticity of what your selling not just what you are branding. The best way to be sure is to ask questions, and from my perspective share the quest and the process. Every person deserves one good thing, inform yourself, ask questions, and spend your money with brands you can trust to be true to your own values.