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Chinese leather jackets

Edward

Bartender
Messages
24,899
Location
London, UK
I'd happily give Tony Leather in Shanghai a go. Seems solid. The majority of tailors in Shanghai are relatively average; the best ones I've found (who are not HK-affiliated) make great shoes and very nice suits. There is not much of a vintage 'niche' in China, as people favour new items. I've been quizzed as to why I often wear an 'old' jacket (an Aero Cafe Racer) by staff in my local - they'd go for a lambskin jacket, AllSaints, etc., given the option. A big thing here is re-using, replicating or adapting for local use. I've bought crappy originals and great copies of various things here (and that's when it's possible to discern the difference). If you hand over an original item to a decent tailor here they can usually copy it extraordinarily well, in the material of your choosing and at a reasonable price. The issue of an ethical consideration (when we are discussing reproductions, anyway), is cloudy. My tailor, when given an originally expensive item from Europe, happily informed me of exactly where the design and assembly could be improved on and then did so. Her reaction to the price I'd paid was a mixture of amusement and concern, as if I may have taken leave of my senses. Where that falls on the originality/replication/ethical scale is anyone's guess.

Shanghai I'm aware of as a good source of tailoring. In Beijing, where I've spent most of my time in China (yet to make it down to Shanghai), most any tailor I've stumbled across has been a "we'll make you a suit in 24 hours" novelty option aimed at the tourists, really. If and when I get the chance, though, I have a very nice 50s British suit that is just past readily wearable that I eventually plan to take out and have used as a pattern. If I could find the right place, I'd have half a dozen of it run up in different colours. One of those suits that still looks vintage but if needsbe doesn't stick out too much in the context of people wearing "modern" stuff. In a perfect world I'd love to have two dozen suits - enough that I could wear a suit a couple of days a week without worrying about wearing my favourites out too quickly!
 

hughesovka

One of the Regulars
Messages
177
Location
NYC
I was interested to read more about the brand as I have some experience with Chinese Amekaji non-leather workwear (Maden, Saucezhan and the like) but hadn’t found this particular rabbit hole!
How was your experience with Maden? Their stuff looks pretty nice
 

unhatted

One of the Regulars
Messages
228
Location
UK
It’s noticeably lightweight in comparison to Bronson, Bob Dong etc, but at a lower price point. If you want workwear/military aesthetics and won’t be rounding up steers or flying a plane you could do a lot worse I think? The stuff is varied enough I’m not sure if it’s a maker or a label, maybe someone here knows?

How was your experience with Maden? Their stuff looks pretty nice
 

zebedee

One Too Many
Messages
1,856
Location
Shanghai
Shanghai I'm aware of as a good source of tailoring. In Beijing, where I've spent most of my time in China (yet to make it down to Shanghai), most any tailor I've stumbled across has been a "we'll make you a suit in 24 hours" novelty option aimed at the tourists, really. If and when I get the chance, though, I have a very nice 50s British suit that is just past readily wearable that I eventually plan to take out and have used as a pattern. If I could find the right place, I'd have half a dozen of it run up in different colours. One of those suits that still looks vintage but if needsbe doesn't stick out too much in the context of people wearing "modern" stuff. In a perfect world I'd love to have two dozen suits - enough that I could wear a suit a couple of days a week without worrying about wearing my favourites out too quickly!
In Beijing it's worth looking for the tailors who take 7-10 days to make a suit. I have a colleague who worked in Beijing and had some suits made there - I'll PM ya when I can get details from him. He's busy having guns pointed at him at the moment, but, when Chinese people without any say in their own politics are not threatening him with weapons of various sizes, he is really helpful with tailoring details.
 
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TheBigEraser

One of the Regulars
Messages
215
It’s noticeably lightweight in comparison to Bronson, Bob Dong etc, but at a lower price point. If you want workwear/military aesthetics and won’t be rounding up steers or flying a plane you could do a lot worse I think? The stuff is varied enough I’m not sure if it’s a maker or a label, maybe someone here knows?
Sorry I forgot to come back to your question earlier. I would consider them as a label just as you mentioned, they have quite a broad portfolio. I didn't bought anything from them yet so I can't speak for the quality/construction.
 

TheBigEraser

One of the Regulars
Messages
215
When I search for Tony Leathers I came across this wonderful threads:
For anyone interested in Chinese leather jackets this is a great read. The loungers in China shared a lot of insights. I am not sure about resurrecting an old thread so I post the link here.
 

Canuck Panda

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,334
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I've got more Chinese jackets, in the Cidu thread, and Rebel thread. This is my experience:

1. I've only bought OTR from Taobao/Aliexpress, Cidu, Frank, Simons...etc. None are custom jackets.
2. These jackets average 1,000 yuan, so about $150 ish
3. Most are under 2.5oz thickness, except the two Simons and one of the Cidu which is about 3oz to 3.5oz thick.
4. (My thoery) These off rack jackets are all mass produced in factory under generic label, and each brand just put their own labels on. This helps to keep the prices low. And this explains why they are thinner, for speedy production.
5. Jacket are made very well. But like robots made them.
6. Shopping on Taobao/Aliexpress is quite easy. Instant gratification. Click and done.

BUT

There is no passion behind these OTR jackets. Period. For this reason I've only worn the two Cidu truckers and not very often. I have not worn all the other ones. I do have plans to upcycle these OTR kackets locally, to put some soul into them, before I would include them into my rotation.

This is really a mass production made jacket problem. Bench made to order will always feel sweeter (worthy) than mass production made. No matter where the bench is located. Single machinist from start to finish. In fact, the Chinese OTR jackets that cost 150 dollars are imo "better made" than most 1500 dollars bench made jackets in terms of stitching cleanness, due to the robotic nature of single task operations on the assembly line of sewing. Each sewer in the mass production setting does one only task, repeatedly. Robot like precision, robot like passion.

I don't have custom bench made Chinese jackets. From what I gathered, they are expensive, no less than US or UK bench made jackets. Materials are expensive in China because all the import taxes they've got. And most all Chinese bench made jacket makers uses imported material. So it gets pricey. By comparison, $600 US made or $250 Pakistan made jackets provides a lot more value, for non China residents.

The Taobao sellers do much better job at promoting and marketing the jackets though. Photos usually are very appealing. But OTR re-labeled generic (extremely well made) jackets.
 

XOlive

Familiar Face
Messages
53
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I've got more Chinese jackets, in the Cidu thread, and Rebel thread. This is my experience:

1. I've only bought OTR from Taobao/Aliexpress, Cidu, Frank, Simons...etc. None are custom jackets.
2. These jackets average 1,000 yuan, so about $150 ish
3. Most are under 2.5oz thickness, except the two Simons and one of the Cidu which is about 3oz to 3.5oz thick.
4. (My thoery) These off rack jackets are all mass produced in factory under generic label, and each brand just put their own labels on. This helps to keep the prices low. And this explains why they are thinner, for speedy production.
5. Jacket are made very well. But like robots made them.
6. Shopping on Taobao/Aliexpress is quite easy. Instant gratification. Click and done.

BUT

There is no passion behind these OTR jackets. Period. For this reason I've only worn the two Cidu truckers and not very often. I have not worn all the other ones. I do have plans to upcycle these OTR kackets locally, to put some soul into them, before I would include them into my rotation.

This is really a mass production made jacket problem. Bench made to order will always feel sweeter (worthy) than mass production made. No matter where the bench is located. Single machinist from start to finish. In fact, the Chinese OTR jackets that cost 150 dollars are imo "better made" than most 1500 dollars bench made jackets in terms of stitching cleanness, due to the robotic nature of single task operations on the assembly line of sewing. Each sewer in the mass production setting does one only task, repeatedly. Robot like precision, robot like passion.

I don't have custom bench made Chinese jackets. From what I gathered, they are expensive, no less than US or UK bench made jackets. Materials are expensive in China because all the import taxes they've got. And most all Chinese bench made jacket makers uses imported material. So it gets pricey. By comparison, $600 US made or $250 Pakistan made jackets provides a lot more value, for non China residents.

The Taobao sellers do much better job at promoting and marketing the jackets though. Photos usually are very appealing. But OTR re-labeled generic (extremely well made) jackets.
I’ve only bought 1 jacket from Cidu through taobao. It’s a 1.4-1.6mm thick horween latigo jacket, and the stitching is def not the best. I suspect the thicker and stiffer leather is not the best material for the factory machines to stitch.

Apart from the stitching, there’s also a weird bubble behind the collar due to the use of belly leather. They definitely tried to hide it behind the collar but unfortunately it is still very visible to me.

Lastly is the pattern of the jacket. The fit through the body is boxy and movements around my shoulder is extremely limited. There are no gussets in the back and no tapering of the torso. The hand warmer pockets are way too far back and the liners are super cheap and thin.

If anyones considering buying a cidu jacket, maybe buy a jacket that is thinner and a design that is popular so the pattern is atleast similar to the original jacket.
FDB3B1C8-9316-4250-BC83-31FB5DEB4AA1.jpeg
 

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Canuck Panda

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,334
None of my Chinese brands OTR jackets have any taper in the body. maybe drop 2 at best. So it’s almost same dimension from chest down.
Some western brands are also cut like this. No taper.
Latigo looks nice on paper but it’s really not for jackets. Mostly used for horse tacks. I think that most Chinese makers haven’t gotten a hang of all Horweens tannag, yet. From what I see they are not buying custom runs from Horween directly, but through distributors who dumps off questionable stock. Europelle is a shady af distributor. But given it’s location I’m certain he is the primary source for most all Chinese jacket makers, unless they import minimum lots themselves.
If Horween leather is what you’re after, it’s best (most cost effective and quality ratio) to get it from an American jacket maker. Or Aero/SB.
There is a lot of value on Taobao jackets though. But once the dollars pass the 250 dollars mark there are also other options.
 

daw204

New in Town
Messages
8
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I've got more Chinese jackets, in the Cidu thread, and Rebel thread. This is my experience:

1. I've only bought OTR from Taobao/Aliexpress, Cidu, Frank, Simons...etc. None are custom jackets.
2. These jackets average 1,000 yuan, so about $150 ish
3. Most are under 2.5oz thickness, except the two Simons and one of the Cidu which is about 3oz to 3.5oz thick.
4. (My thoery) These off rack jackets are all mass produced in factory under generic label, and each brand just put their own labels on. This helps to keep the prices low. And this explains why they are thinner, for speedy production.
5. Jacket are made very well. But like robots made them.
6. Shopping on Taobao/Aliexpress is quite easy. Instant gratification. Click and done.

BUT

There is no passion behind these OTR jackets. Period. For this reason I've only worn the two Cidu truckers and not very often. I have not worn all the other ones. I do have plans to upcycle these OTR kackets locally, to put some soul into them, before I would include them into my rotation.

This is really a mass production made jacket problem. Bench made to order will always feel sweeter (worthy) than mass production made. No matter where the bench is located. Single machinist from start to finish. In fact, the Chinese OTR jackets that cost 150 dollars are imo "better made" than most 1500 dollars bench made jackets in terms of stitching cleanness, due to the robotic nature of single task operations on the assembly line of sewing. Each sewer in the mass production setting does one only task, repeatedly. Robot like precision, robot like passion.

I don't have custom bench made Chinese jackets. From what I gathered, they are expensive, no less than US or UK bench made jackets. Materials are expensive in China because all the import taxes they've got. And most all Chinese bench made jacket makers uses imported material. So it gets pricey. By comparison, $600 US made or $250 Pakistan made jackets provides a lot more value, for non China residents.

The Taobao sellers do much better job at promoting and marketing the jackets though. Photos usually are very appealing. But OTR re-labeled generic (extremely well made) jackets.
How does the olive suede jacket look in person? It appears to be more green than olive. I agree that the stock photo looks much better. Do you have a picture of the back of the jacket?
 

Canuck Panda

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,334
How does the olive suede jacket look in person? It appears to be more green than olive. I agree that the stock photo looks much better. Do you have a picture of the back of the jacket?
Cidu Stormrider Olive Suede Fit 002.JPG

Its more army green than olive. Not a lot of brown tone in this. Also very hard to pair. The blanket design is very specific. I bought it because it was under $100 and the Taobao photos looked better than real life. But I wore it maybe twice and most likely not again (Very high cost per wear). A Plain olive suede one would've been a keeper but like HandyMike says, I wouldn't know until I tried.
That's my take on Cidu, most of his stuff is one step too much (out of the classic look comfort zone) for me. And I wear pretty loud stuff already. The other Taobao brands like Simons (Shanghai) and Frank (EvilGenius?) are less wild. Yes they do copy a lot. Basically it's a copy of some repro jacket in a different leather. But the truth is I will most likely keep the Simons jacket over the Cidu's because they are less wild.
 

unhatted

One of the Regulars
Messages
228
Location
UK
Tried the Curphey horsehide Mulholland clone which I found very sofa-y and returned so I decided to spend a bit more for the Simons one. Impressed so far. It’s not a direct copy, which I like, and the horsehide feels much nicer and less like my IKEA leather sofa.
It hangs a little unevenly at present, which is partly due to arriving poorly folded (a customer return?) and partly that the leather is not evenly broken in on both sides (the tea-core is coming through in some places more than others, too). Having said that, I have seen this unevenness of leather on far more expensive horsehide jackets so maybe it’s part of the fun. As mentioned I think it is less tapered/more tube shaped than the FW but that may be my body type as I have narrow shoulders (I’m Chinese, so maybe I’m the intended audience!). Either way I quite like the fit - hard to find leather jackets that fit my shoulders in western brands.


 

unhatted

One of the Regulars
Messages
228
Location
UK
Tried the Curphey horsehide Mulholland clone which I found very sofa-y and returned so I decided to spend a bit more for the Simons one. Impressed so far. It’s not a direct copy, which I like, and the horsehide feels much nicer and less like my IKEA leather sofa.
It hangs a little unevenly at present, which is partly due to arriving poorly folded (a customer return?) and partly that the leather is not evenly broken in on both sides (the tea-core is coming through in some places more than others, too). Having said that, I have seen this unevenness of leather on far more expensive horsehide jackets so maybe it’s part of the fun. As mentioned I think it is less tapered/more tube shaped than the FW but that may be my body type as I have narrow shoulders (I’m Chinese, so maybe I’m the intended audience!). Either way I quite like the fit - hard to find leather jackets that fit my shoulders in western brands.
Oh, Taobao/Ali sellers love to make jackets look shiny in the photos. Maybe they oil them? Always been relieved to get something much less reflective!
 
Messages
17,291
Location
Chicago
Tried the Curphey horsehide Mulholland clone which I found very sofa-y and returned so I decided to spend a bit more for the Simons one. Impressed so far. It’s not a direct copy, which I like, and the horsehide feels much nicer and less like my IKEA leather sofa.
It hangs a little unevenly at present, which is partly due to arriving poorly folded (a customer return?) and partly that the leather is not evenly broken in on both sides (the tea-core is coming through in some places more than others, too). Having said that, I have seen this unevenness of leather on far more expensive horsehide jackets so maybe it’s part of the fun. As mentioned I think it is less tapered/more tube shaped than the FW but that may be my body type as I have narrow shoulders (I’m Chinese, so maybe I’m the intended audience!). Either way I quite like the fit - hard to find leather jackets that fit my shoulders in western brands.


This looks great!
 

Canuck Panda

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,334
@unhatted Great jacket and fit. I had the same one with a different label in green.

But I do want to point out about the sizing and shape of the pattern. It's not true that the Chinese brands are made for Chinese bodies and Western brands are made for Western bodies. That's just great marketing move by the Taobao brands. No different than Tobacco companies using doctors as advertisement in the past.

All my Chinese brand jackets that came with P2P in the 23" has 19" shoulder, and 22" P2P has 18" ish shoulder width. Same porportions as all my Western brands. They are just tagged differently and that is the tricky part. Only one jacket below is China brand, rest three are western brands. All have zero drop from chest to bottom hem. Some has a little curve in the middle, some just straight down. All has the same shoulder to P2P ratio.
Can anyone guess which is which?

no taper.jpg

This brings me to write my findings and conclusion and opinion about my Chinese branded jackets. It's basically what my early 5Star experience was. I remember reading a comment here that the Chinese jacket makers are still in the infant stage. That would be the exact description. I pissed away two Aero jackets money on Taobao/Aliexpress/Rebel to only confirm this. But I also did the same with my early 5Stars. There is nothing wrong with patterns. There's nothing wrong with the stitching. But jacket making is far more than just that. It's years and years and years of experience, and failures, and learning from failures. There is no txt book teaching this crap.

I think 5Star has shown the path quite clearly. Instead of copying a copy of a copy. Copy the original (real vintage). Otherwise it will just be me pissing away money again and again. The Chinese jackets are built to last but they will always get purged out of the closet, because there is nothing original or special for me to keep. I went through the same with my early 5stars, and I just went through this again with the Taobao brands.

Copy the vintage. Copy the vintage. Copy the vintage. And become the original.

But I get it. Everyone is just trying to put roof over our heads and dinner on the table. We do what we need to to get by. But the Chinese jacket makers can do so much more, just shift the development process a bit.

I will give Taobao sellers the marketing skills credit though. It's the easiest shopping experience. Just click and done. The problem is their jackets do NOT survive my closet purges. And the main reason has nothing to do with pattern or quality, but with originality.

Copy the original, and some will have tapers, aka low armhole. And in time, by copying the real original, one becomes original.

drop 6.JPG
 

TheBigEraser

One of the Regulars
Messages
215
@unhatted Great jacket and fit. I had the same one with a different label in green.

But I do want to point out about the sizing and shape of the pattern. It's not true that the Chinese brands are made for Chinese bodies and Western brands are made for Western bodies. That's just great marketing move by the Taobao brands. No different than Tobacco companies using doctors as advertisement in the past.

All my Chinese brand jackets that came with P2P in the 23" has 19" shoulder, and 22" P2P has 18" ish shoulder width. Same porportions as all my Western brands. They are just tagged differently and that is the tricky part. Only one jacket below is China brand, rest three are western brands. All have zero drop from chest to bottom hem. Some has a little curve in the middle, some just straight down. All has the same shoulder to P2P ratio.
Can anyone guess which is which?

View attachment 406561
This brings me to write my findings and conclusion and opinion about my Chinese branded jackets. It's basically what my early 5Star experience was. I remember reading a comment here that the Chinese jacket makers are still in the infant stage. That would be the exact description. I pissed away two Aero jackets money on Taobao/Aliexpress/Rebel to only confirm this. But I also did the same with my early 5Stars. There is nothing wrong with patterns. There's nothing wrong with the stitching. But jacket making is far more than just that. It's years and years and years of experience, and failures, and learning from failures. There is no txt book teaching this crap.

I think 5Star has shown the path quite clearly. Instead of copying a copy of a copy. Copy the original (real vintage). Otherwise it will just be me pissing away money again and again. The Chinese jackets are built to last but they will always get purged out of the closet, because there is nothing original or special for me to keep. I went through the same with my early 5stars, and I just went through this again with the Taobao brands.

Copy the vintage. Copy the vintage. Copy the vintage. And become the original.

But I get it. Everyone is just trying to put roof over our heads and dinner on the table. We do what we need to to get by. But the Chinese jacket makers can do so much more, just shift the development process a bit.

I will give Taobao sellers the marketing skills credit though. It's the easiest shopping experience. Just click and done. The problem is their jackets do NOT survive my closet purges. And the main reason has nothing to do with pattern or quality, but with originality.

Copy the original, and some will have tapers, aka low armhole. And in time, by copying the real original, one becomes original.

View attachment 406563
Very well written sir.
 

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