Chinese leather jackets

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by TheBigEraser, Sep 21, 2021.

  1. zebedee

    zebedee One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,467
    Location:
    Shanghai
    I've lived in the Mainland or HK for almost 15 years, and you can find quality and workmanship that equals anything produced anywhere - it just depends on what you are willing to pay and how many Chinese friends in the know you have. Most things here are yearly or seasonal - clothing is quickly replaced and people like and buy new things on a very frequent basis. A lifetime-and-beyond jacket would be seen as a bit redundant if it starts looking 'old'. You also get composite leather and the like, but you get those everywhere.

    You're much more likely to find vintage leathers in HK, but it isn't by any means impossible to find outstanding quality and individual craftsmanship in cities like Shanghai and Beijing (and Guangzhou has a few excellent export markets, too). Leather jackets I've bought in Guangzhou ranged from the thickest cowhide I've handled (these were probably from or for use in the far north and generally fur-collared) to branded, standard quality jackets - these were still in excellent condition when I sold them or gave them away five years later. Shanghai tailors tend to make leather jackets for the local market - these can be stretched/thin lamb or goatskin, but aren't designed to be particularly durable. Tony Leathers/Armed Front make solid stuff, but there isn't, relatively-speaking, a noticeably high demand for bespoke, bulletproof jackets when fashion jackets would meet most needs.

    My luckiest find was a Shanghai tailor who took a look at a pair of expensive, super-thick repro denim jeans I had and wanted another pair in a similar cut and told me that it wasn't difficult to do and was amazed at the price I'd paid for them from a European country. She made me two pairs in denim of the same thickness in ten days and I've worn them all the time. Cost was a fraction of what I'd paid and they seem to be harder-wearing.
     
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  2. TheBigEraser

    TheBigEraser One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    147
    You can check this article where @nevergoneyc compared FW Mulholland with GUOFO Mulholland and Risk Rider Mulholland. https://nevergoneyc.wordpress.com/2020/10/06/【价值5万的皮衣评测】freewheelers穆赫兰道皮衣解析后浪/

    If you use Google Chrome you can translate the whole page to read. Some additional notes: Wooden Box = nick name of Mulholland because of the similar Chinese pronouciation. Xinxi horsehide = Shinki horsehide.
     
  3. Marc mndt

    Marc mndt My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,545
    Very interesting review. I'm a bit surprised that the knockoff companies weren't able to produce a more accurate collar. You can tell from a mile away that those jackets are reproductions (knockoffs) just by looking at the collar.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2021
  4. navetsea

    navetsea I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,520
    Location:
    East Java
    I really believe there are equally artistic, talented, passionate and skilled craftsmen everywhere, it is not concentrated in specific part of the world, or belong to specific race or nations, claiming that would be racist

    however due to the local market segment and lack of references, these talent and skill may lie dormant and not pushed to the optimal level as where the market is mature, where the style and quality control is guided for international higher tier market segment taste.

    everyone who work on sewing machine 9-5 for years could do a perfect straight line stitching, it is just how much time given to do it, if that person is normally working on making cheap pouches has to do hundreds of items by the end of the day, then they would do the best they can while being fast first try and perhaps here and there not really straight, but if this person is working on expensive item with more time to work on then I believe they can do as good as anyone else. it is just like in your computer visual setting either you set if for quality or set if for performance.
     
  5. TheBigEraser

    TheBigEraser One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    147
    I know right? That actually led a massive discussion among us about how difficult to make a Italian collar, or whatever it is called, proportional and aesthetic. That's why I am really surprised to see Dongshan makes prettier collar compared to GUOFO or Risk Rider.
     
  6. ton312

    ton312

    Messages:
    12,936
    Location:
    Chicago
    At some point, when I figure out how, I will have to try some of these. At least one. I have other priorities first, but these are on my radar.
     
    TheBigEraser likes this.
  7. nevergoneyc

    nevergoneyc New in Town

    Messages:
    4
    Very detailed sharing, thank you brother.
    The points of views are quite comprehensive, and I will also briefly add a bit of more contents.

    At present, the overall recognition of Chinese leather clothing manufacturers is indeed very low, because a large number of low-priced, low-quality products are flooded with significant stereotypes. When many foreign friends discuss Chinese leather clothing, they will easily think of those large-scale factory leather clothing products. Especially for those simple lower end leather jackets, the price can be suppressed below 80 USD, which is quite crazy...

    However we live in the world where we learn stereotypes simply do not work out. There are also some leather clothing brands in China that have a higher domestic market positioning and are well-made, as mentioned in the OP. However, they do not have 1) a strong product focus, 2) clear market positioning, 3) original concept, 4) reprentative or signature products. Also they have sh**ty marketing skills or strategy. As the result the current client recognition is not very high.

    I personally consider the most important things about leather jacket is the actual look when you put it on and if this matches your own taste. In the field of retro/high-quality and durable classic menswear, to be honest, most players is re-enacting and paying tribute. In fact, there are not many things that are truly original designed in the recent years. After all, these garments have been developed decades ago and the frame have been almost fixed. This gives Chinese manufacturers some opportunities, because they have strong manufacturing capabilities and ability of cost-saving, so they can achieve "you get what you pay for" better.

    I note that this phenomenon is more obvious in formal leather shoes, because formal leather shoes seem to have so many classic designs, and almost every famous brand has a broad portfolio with many styles. In recent years, the handmade leather shoes produced in China have shined, such as Acme, WM1978, Lu Yang, Yim, JimJun, wanmenxiedao, Oct Tenth, etc. If you are active on Instagram you might as well already identified them.

    As a leather enthusiast, I will directly buy the original version of the style I really like. Such as Freewheelers Mulholland, At last Co 670(which is a very concise leather jacket), Tenjin Works JS01, Buco series, Thedi cafe racer, RRL 1960s, etc.
    1fa3fabdb2ab45e6b8dcf57dd98faa0b.jpg

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    But at the same time, I like to try different leather materials, and foreign brands don’t make what I want. So in the past few years, I have contacted several Chinese leather jacket makers and kept communicating with them to customize the jackets to meet my preferences. I try to add as many pictures as possible here, so that TFL members can have a better understanding the quality of these brands in more detail~ Many of them are only designed and made for my own, and there is no mass production.
    48f5391e0f3c7bfc866a908db9a6d4a.jpg

    Guofo single rider jkt (Guidi horsebutt) ↑

    f28b4cbfa89f83142a73f2612acd9c1.jpg
    HDK C.F.Stead Waxed Kudu jkt ↑

    0d6e6efe964edea6d1d2f1c93804b52.jpg
    DSC05711-108.jpg
    Guofo C.F.Stead Waxed Kudu jkt ↑ zoom in to see detail

    微信图片_20210922215206.jpg

    Risk Rider Carcoat (Horween wild horsehide) ↑

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    微信图片_20210922215557.jpg
    Guofo Carcoat (iLcea box horsehide) ↑


    In short, I think they have done a good job, but the client recognition needs to be improved and it takes time to settle in. I really hope that more brands will emerge in this retro/classic menwear field, whether they are from China, Japan, the US, the Europe or the rest of the world. It's ultimately beneficial for all of us, heritage clothing hobbists, to have affordable price, more choices and high quality garments.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2021
    Hobbes1, Edward, Pandemic and 12 others like this.
  8. Robbie79

    Robbie79 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,908
    Many thanks for sharing your experience with the Chinese maker Guofo. Your jackets do look really nice. The waxed Kudu looks like my SB heavy Kudu and the Guidi horsebutt (I knew this leather from shoes/boots) looks appealing. How to contact them? I'm really interested in a Guidi jacket ;) How's the overall construction and workmanship compared to other well-known companies? You already said that they have done a good job but what means good in terms of value for money?
    Thanks, Robbie
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2021
  9. Robbie79

    Robbie79 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,908
    At the first glance some of the Chinese horsehide (also cowhide combo) jackets do look like high quality jackets and they obviously like to copy Theodoros' jackets and don't care to even show him.....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Jin431 likes this.
  10. JMax

    JMax I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,323
    Typifies one of the hurdles that keep me from buying from these makers.
     
  11. Robbie79

    Robbie79 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,908
    I totally agree...I rather order from Thedi, FL, etc.
     
    torfjord, JMax and Marc mndt like this.
  12. TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead

    TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,475
    Fantastic thread with a ton of info. It's something that I tried to do when I started the Five Star thread, but to be honest, I had no clue what I was doing back then LOL. Although that thread has turned into a mega thread :p, you just need to dig more to find the info.

    The amount of info and reference in the first post here and even some of the subsequent ones is the benchmark for anyone looking for info on ordering. I myself got close a couple times to ordering something from the various brands and sub brands, but for whatever reason, never pulled the trigger. But I'm going to digest the info here now that it's all in one place and very tidy. Nice job :D
     
  13. AeroFan_07

    AeroFan_07 I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,123
    Location:
    Iowa
    This is a heck of a first post!! Welcome to FL here and thanks for sharing so much both knowledge as well as the excellent photos as you did of you wonderful collection.

    Indeed we all are learning a lot here.
     
  14. Mich486

    Mich486 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,513
    I personally do not seek artisanal exclusivity or small batch production but I hate fake copycat products for all sort of reasons.

    There is of course good stuff coming out of China. I can’t see it on Taobao though…
     
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  15. navetsea

    navetsea I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,520
    Location:
    East Java
    I think it is a fair game to reference a popular style from the past, especially when they are generic enough, I mean A2, cafe racer with slanted chest pockets, police jacket, crosszip, or crosszip Dpocket, any maker can throw a version with their own twist, there is still tons of intricacies to play with like pocket placement and angle, size of the pocket, detailing, throat latch, belt loop design, racing stripes, etc.

    Doing a version of Snake Pliskin jacket is also a fair game as fair as doing Indiana Jones jacket, or capt america or wolverine jacket I think.

    but taking a stitch by stitch copy of a specific design of another artist like Thedi is to me feels wrong and feels fake.
    Since these high end Chinese manufacturers clearly thinking about the spirit or feel behind a design then why not trying to grab that spirit and put a twist in the same spirit.

    rather than comparing FW and FW replicas, why not just throw throat latch, or zip sleeve, or dual chest pocket, or belt loop as "what if....wouldn't it be cooler if ..." kind of mindset.
     
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  16. JMax

    JMax I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,323
    ^^ That is the way. Unfortunately I think it’s more calculated and targeted than a simple lack of originality. Others can keep these knockoff jackets and I’ll seek life with the folks who actually put in the time, money and effort to establish a company and compete appropriately.
     
  17. nevergoneyc

    nevergoneyc New in Town

    Messages:
    4
    I have read everyone’s replies. In general, the status quo is like this.:(

    The consumption habits of the vast majority of Chinese consumers and the experts on the FDL Forum are very different. Chinese consumers can't even distinguish these brands and models at all. They just saw pictures of well-known products such as FW Mulholland on the Internet and found them to be very cool & beautiful. But they couldn't accept the price of 2500+ USD, so they went to buy fw replicas. When there is demand, there will be a market, so Chinese leather clothing manufacturers are currently focusing on copying these well-known models. This is not only simple, but also easy to make money with high demand, why not do it ?:(

    The relatively high-end Chinese leather garments have no problem with their technology and leather materials, but with a problem with the direction. They can only live in the shadow of others, and it is difficult to achieve breakthroughs and recognition. Only when the demand changes, that is, the more demanding part of the Chinese consumer group becomes more, can manufacturers transform and make personalized and original things. Of course, this must be a complementary process, only time to test:)
     
  18. nevergoneyc

    nevergoneyc New in Town

    Messages:
    4
    Hi bro,this is how the Guofo Guidi leather jacket comes:
    1 I went to contact the leather supplier and I bought the leather
    2 Send the leather to Guofo, then choose the version you like, report the data, and make it. They generally charge a processing fee of about 250 USD

    You could go to world.taobao.com, search "guofo" to contact

    Guofo's workmanship is very good, and I think it is of the same grade as FW. For details, you can see the review of the fw vs guofo vs riskrider that I wrote before . There are many detailed close-up pictures of guofo. The stitches are very neat, the stitch pitch is tight. That’s why I said that they did a good job, worthy of 250 USD processing fee.
     
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  19. Fonzie

    Fonzie One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,282
    Location:
    Australia
    Can you access Taobao in English?
     
  20. navetsea

    navetsea I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,520
    Location:
    East Java
    I also come from a country with weak currency rate, spending $1000+ on a jacket felt ridiculously expensive.
    I understand where there is a demand then there would be providers to meet it, probably started with one custom job, then it may quickly escalate into steady production of plagiarized one style of jacket when people keep ordering the same style either to wear personally or to resale until the hype of that style is over.

    However I hope these good Chinese makers would keep some design elements of these copy models and spin it into something fresh, I think with social media platform is very easy now to introduce a fresh take of a design as a prototype, Leather jacket style is not set on stone like 5 pockets jeans, it has a lot more freedom to tweak around and make something fresh. You can tweak around a jacket photo, put on different pocket configs, collar style, sleeve orientation, rotation, try longer zip or shorter, etc. Until "the one" is found. Also since China is very advanced in their computer aided anything compared to traditional pattern maker, if they design it in 3D then it can be tested onto human shape articulation, probably if it can generate the client 3d body shape when size perimeter are given, then it can be a real selling point.

    Only if they have something of their own then they can proudly step out of the shadow and advertise it to the world I think.
     
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