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MA-1 Flight jacket

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Jwag, Jun 4, 2013.

  1. nick123

    nick123 I'll Lock Up

    I have several Chinese made Alpha jackets and they're tanks.
    Alz likes this.
  2. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

    I have had both. I think the Chinese ones are well made but the nylon is less robust (feels thinner) compared to the USA made from 2002. Incidentally the Gibson and Barnes US made ones are made from a very tough, thick nylon but the sage green they use is too garish to my eye and stains easily. Gave mine away. Their black one is great.
  3. Big J

    Big J Call Me a Cab

    @Doctor Damage, I absolutely agree. A lot of designer brands are made in China now (I'm thinking LV, Hermes, Burberry) and no one complained about any perceived drop in product quality.
    Conversely, I have a 'made in America' cap by a maker some regard quite highly on these forums, and it's asymmetrical stitching is so bad, it looks like a factory second. Just wasn't worth the expense of shipping it back for a refund.
    I want to support workers back home whenever there is a choice, but too many workers still seem to think they are too good for manufacturing jobs, and the disdain shows in the finished products.
    Japan had the same problem as China, in the 60's and 70's Japanese products were looked down upon as cheaper alternatives of lower quality (radios, TV's), but by the 80's Japanese products were famous for quality and reliability. Now japanese manufacturers have gone the way of the US, and are falsifying safety checks and quality control, selling substandard and defective products (Toyota recalled more cars in 2016 than it sold).
    bn1966 likes this.
  4. I remember when people sneered at Japanese guitars, then Japan became the new USA, cheapo production moved to Korea, and they loved Japanese and sneered at Korea. Now many people love Korean guitars and sneer at Chinese made ones... Same with all sorts of consumer goods.

    Has anyone tried the current MA1s made by Concord or Rothco? I've seen it claimed both made jackets for the USAF. Both look good in photos. Actually, the Rothco looks more like Macqueen's Hunter jacket than the Alpha (windflap stitching aside, which is the zigzag on both). Got a hankering for a budget orange-liner (one day I'll buy a green lined Buzz), and the Rothco is looking nice. Sizes sound extreme, mind: I'm an xl/xxl in most things, but the Rothco size chart makes me look like a medium??
  5. Big J

    Big J Call Me a Cab

    @Edward, it's that old thing about having a father who tells you there's nothing wrong with 'an honest day's work' when you're thinking that when you grow up, you'd prefer to have a job where you didn't have to wash your hands afterwards. It's a kinda malaise of developed economies where everyone thinks they're 'too good' for blue collar work. Japan is feeling it now.
    Maybe America is kind of moving on from that now to the next stage what with all these young hipster guys kicking off a kind of artisanal revival?
    The Chinese put themselves into space, built their own aircraft carrier, shot down a satellite in orbit...I'm pretty sure they are capable of making a good nylon windbreaker if costs and price point aren't the primary concern.
  6. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

    I agree with the sentiment Big J as long as the people doing manual work can afford to live on their pay. You're right, the hipster thing may well raise the status of hand made goods from every perspective.
    Edward and Big J like this.
  7. Big J

    Big J Call Me a Cab

    +100 Seb.
    People should turn their noses up at 'minimum wage', and quite rightly. But they shouldn't turn their noses up at working with their hands.
    I'm of that generation lampooned in Fight Club, wanting the 'IKEA catalogue' look of mass produced low cost (and low life) rubbish. Twenty plus years later, I'm revolted by that and would happily pay more, for less furniture (or anything really), of a higher quality, so that it will last longer.
    I'm really hoping that the 'hipsters' breathe a lot of life into sustainability and quality movement for years to come. It's the perfect antidote to race to the bottom of globalized businesses.
    El Marro and Seb Lucas like this.
  8. Doctor Damage

    Doctor Damage Call Me a Cab

    Contact Rothco directly and they will likely send you actual measurements. They did that for me for one of their jacket models. I decided against their stuff since it doesn't seem much good, but I guess if you want a cheap jacket to kick around they might be okay. I had got a Concord jacket a couple years ago, but it was an old dead-stock jacket, it was not very good (I gave it away to a guy in the office who liked it). I suggest watching e-bay for non-promotional photos of jackets since that's the best way to gauge quality, I mean real-world photos taken of real jackets by regular joes. The reality is it appears Alpha makes by a notable delta the best quality non-specialist, non-fanatic (i.e. Buzz, etc) jackets.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2017
    Edward likes this.
  9. Doctor Damage

    Doctor Damage Call Me a Cab

    I hope so but it seems like such a small % of the overall picture with no real impact, and of course it doesn't do anything to create a mid-market which used to exist. The elites are going to try damn hard to automate everything very soon, which will mean regular joes will have to start making much/most of what they need themselves and not play the game that the tech bros and big corps want us to play. But that will be motivated by desperation and exclusion, not hipster artisanal appreciation.
  10. I always remember the story of the post-Doc academic who retrained as a plumber and abouled his income because so many people p[ushed their kids into "clean" jobs, there was such sa shortage of plumbers.... Cousrse, peopel in the busness tell me it is possible to do very well, but the trade off is you have to do the out of hours stuff, the anti-social hours and all that. Gonig to be interesting to see what happens going forward, once there are no new, cheaper countries in which to manufacture....

    Interesting angle. Certainly could be seen as some folks, at least, wanting to move away from the mass uniformity towards something more custom. I think there's at least as much of thst around as any notion of patriotism in buying "homegrown".

    I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens when we get past this "China = cheap rubbish" mentality, and companies let China have a go at doing high end. I think a lot of folks will be very surprised.

    I'm hoping they get really demanding for a lot of the stuff I'ds like to see available good but affordable.... ;)

    Yeah, I think I might just have to handle one somewhere, I might email and ask if they have UK stockists. The Alphas are nice, though the branding is a bit obvious for my tastes, and I'm not convinced by their version of 'sage green' now. That said, I do have my eye on a replica blue "N2B" as they label it (really an N2A if it's blue). Polyfill, yes, but affordable and looks good....
  11. Justhandguns

    Justhandguns Practically Family

    I can assure you that plumbers earn much more than an average lecturer in any UK institutes. Trust me, the trade off of being a plumber is far less than, let's say a researcher or academic, it is a 24/7 job which follows you back home. You worry about getting grants or you get laid, you get assessed by your head as well as your students. Best job in town is Tube driver...

    As for the issue of Made in China, I doubt that they can achieve the same improvement that Japan did in the 70s' and Korea after the 90s'. I still have not seen the same mentality of reaching for perfection yet in the country, there is a problem when you own citizens try to avoid your own produce at all cost and always prefer foreign imports whenever they have chances (and money). Yes, we are indeed seeing high quality products being manufactured in China, but this illusion is mostly down to the strict input and control of the overseas mother companies.
    Big J likes this.
  12. bn1966

    bn1966 Call Me a Cab

    Still on the hunt here:

    Moved on two poor quality older Schott MA-1s via the Bay. Pattern was good on one but poor textiles and zipper, the other was similar & drown me (both XL's)

    Up in the 'Smoke' last weekend, visited Real McCoy & was entranced by a 60's MA-1 until I saw the price...well North of £1000. I was invited to try it on, but explained even if I could afford it & it fitted..I'd be scared to go out in it.

    Went to the ELC Shoreditch 'Pop Up' & tried on an XXL Buzz early MA-1..nice..just North of £400, I'd wear that up the Pub (just)! Thankfully it didn't fit quite right or I'd be in over-draft country with my Bank:)

    I did make a nylon purchase this week...an Alpha 'Vintage' Series (90's) B-15 in black. Now I own a green version & fancied one with a less military vibe. It arrived yesterday, XL same as the green one but felt different and uncomfortable! Got the tape measure out & found to my dismay that the shoulders were nearly 1" narrower than my green one!! That's going on the Bay too!!!

    Don't think I'll go down the cheapo route, handled some at a recent scooter rally & the nylon felt like paper! You gets what you pays for...sometimes!!!

    The Cockpit USA (Made in USA) pale sage MA-1 looks cracking, Brexit & import charges are putting me off today, but it's on my radar. Cockpit were good on the customer service front & quickly gave me measurements. Sleeves would need shortening by the looks of it and that would be another additional cost (moving into Buzz type money).

    There's a 'middle' gap in the market that I wish someone would fill!
    Edward and Big J like this.
  13. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

    A few years ago someone posted about a Chinese based (I think) company that made MA-1's that were somewhere between an Alpha and a Buzz. In the meantime the G&B is the best made MA-1 jacket I have handled so far.

    I'd love someone to write up a comparison between a Cockpit and an Alpha.
    bn1966 and Big J like this.
  14. Big J

    Big J Call Me a Cab

    Guys, the richest guy I knew back home was a plumber. Tools in the back of his BMW M3, summer house by the lake, small sailboat, that kind of thing. When he wanted to expand his business by taking on and training up an apprentice, he couldn't find any takers.

    Yep, I remember we discussed this mid-level Chinese alternate a few years back. Wonder what happened to them? There IS a gap in the market for something mid-level.
  15. I’ve been reading the last posts on this thread with great interest. Are original nylon flight jackets not available, nowadays? Or are folks just not interested in originals the way they once were? It seems odd to me that nylon junkies might pay more than £400 for a reproduction 1960s MA-1 unless original 1960s MA-1s are no longer available. I ask in all sincerity as I’ve not shopped for vintage nylon in years.

  16. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

    Getting a decent original seems hard to me. Especially, if like me, you are 6 feet 2 inches. I basically need a tall size. I have seen a few originals and I simply prefer to buy with solid knits and unstained nylon. You can get a pretty good original Nomex CWU 45/P.
  17. Gamma68

    Gamma68 A-List Customer

    Point taken. Although, in my experience, a lot of Chinese-made clothes are inferior to items made in the USA and U.K.

    As stated earlier, I have no experience with the MA-1 other than my thrifted Alpha model, which was apparently made in China. Hence the question. The nylon on mine feels somewhat thinner than expected. I'd love to have an original military-issued MA-1 with some history and "authenticity" in terms of hand/build quality.
  18. Gamma68

    Gamma68 A-List Customer

    I saw a Rothco MA-1 at a local Army surplus store. The nylon felt thicker than my Alpha, maybe too thick. And I noted there were no interior pockets, which strikes me as "inauthentic."
  19. Gamma68

    Gamma68 A-List Customer

    I'm interested in an original MA-1. I enjoy the history associated with military-issue items, but don't want to spend the $100+ they're bringing on eBay at this time. To me, that's a lot of dough for a nylon jacket.
  20. Big J

    Big J Call Me a Cab

    @Atticus Finch,
    I don't know what originals sell for these days. Supply must be getting low by now.
    The '67 and '68 originals I bought 3 years ago (page 15) were about $200 each on eBay. I was just searching aimlessly one night, and saw them both. My size (XL), no damage, no stains, perfect original knits, and I just thought 'what the hell' and grabbed 'me both at the Buy It Now price.
    Maybe I overpaid a little.
    The thing is, because they're such nice originals, I'm kinda scared of wearing them in case some careless person damages them with a cigarette or metal fittings on their clothes/handbag when they walk past.
    That's why I spent $400 on a BR repro! It's got no 'history' of its own, and is 100% replaceable. Of course, this is something I've never sought to discuss with my wife (if you get me).
    The BR was more expensive, but it's the 'least valuable'. That's a jacket junkies mixed up logic right there!
    I love the way originals fade out, especially the knit color. IIRC MASH Japan sell NOS replacements.
    Atticus Finch likes this.

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