The Patrons: Profiles

My new friend Eric is one of my many repeat customers.  I am very very proud when I can make and sell a jacket.  I am ecstatic when a customer comes back and orders more then one.  Usually customers approach with trepidations via the web.  Many are concerned that they cannot possibly get the correct fit or that my jackets will not live up to expectations.  I intend to include some of the letters I get from my customers regarding my jackets.  I am taken aback by the amount of love and appreciation I am getting through the email.  I am going to not include the names of my competitors cited in the mails.  I respect all the players that are trying to carve out a niche in building beautiful vintage quality jackets.  I of course strive to be the best!

Here is an excerpt from another customer Darren. He bought an Avro and a Kensington:

Dear David,

We were away, and returned a couple of days ago. The jackets arrived shortly before we left, but I have not had a chance to email until now.
The jackets are completely amazing. You said they turned out well, and that was no exaggeration. As much as I liked the two-tone Avro, I like the black better. It is the coolest and best made garment I own, next to the Kensington. I wish you could see a direct comparison between your horsehide and the XXXX XXXXXs. Theirs is shiny, almost like a painted finish, while your’s glows – that is the best way I can describe it. The leather is neither matte and rubbery or glossy and crinkly. You certainly were correct with your choice of Italian/Japanese hides; they are beyond compare.  XXXX XXXXX not junk, but when you have them side by side, the differences are obvious. 
The Avro is almost too cool. You might remember when Steve Martin was a wild and crazy guy, but almost all dentists are mild and lazy guys. The jacket will elevate me to a stratospheric level of cool. Simply put, it is virtually too unbelievable to wear.
The Kensington is the epitome of understated cool. I will definitely have you make me a pair of pants from that dark brown leather at some point. It is in no way too shiny for me. The feel is almost subtly waxy, and I’m sure that, from a distance, someone would have difficulty telling that they were made from horsehide. I know the pants will be every bit as perfect as the jacket, and I can wait.
I’m not sure what you think of my choice for the Avro’s lining, but I think it is an excellent look, even if no true vintage jacket were similarly lined. I am also very happy with your choice of lining for the Kensington.
I am torn. You are a true master of the medium and you deserve to sell a million pieces. I just don’t want anyone else to have my jacket! A little selfish, I guess.
I cannot wait to do business with you in the future, and I will check your site for anything new. If you do start to make pants, please let me know, so I can be among the first customers.

Thanks!
Sincerely,
Darren

 


New Jackets: Oil Skin Avro and Brimaco

Ive been working hard over here making jackets for my clients.  Every month I am inspired to work on new experiments, purchase new tannages of leather and try new design ideas.  Part of the prototyping process is about finding the right combinations of design features, materials and colour combinations.  These two are recently made and sold.  The Avro is a standard stock Himel Brothers jacket and this one is a luminescent oil tanned leather.  The cut is half way between a sports jacket and a flight jacket and is typical of the period.  The other jacket is a pigment finished horsehide with a hair on racing stripe.  It is a replica of the famous Brimaco Raider cafe racer jacket.  It was my first one and it worked out beautifully!

 

 

 

 


Under the Skin: What, Why and Quality

 

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.