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Ever think some jackets are overhyped

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Seb Lucas

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I really like these types of discussions bc it forces me inward to evaluate my own shopping preferences and expectations. It seems that much of the disappointment related to wonky stitching, loose seems, and overall sloppiness stems from the buyer's expectation. Hype raises expectations. For some people, the expectation of a $2000+ jacket is that it will be perfectly executed. For others, the value of the jacket is reflected in the unique hide, cut, design, or exclusivity (or some combination) - not whether the jacket was laser stitched as if done by a machine on an assembly line. I don't presume to say one expectation is better than the other. It's just fascinating to read about what influences each of us when we make purchasing decisions.


I think you may have expressed a fallacy of bifurcation here - it has to be X or Y.

Actually there are other options. Artisanal high craft jackets are intended to show off a maker's skill. Sure, there can be imperfections, but not incompetencies. When a basic artisanal skill, like stitching, is very crooked or fails in places, this is no longer a celebration of imperfection, it is a competency issue. I don't think 100 perfection is ever on the table for any jacket but some mistakes are just screw ups and a failure in craftsmanship. What happens next is what level of screw up you are willing to accept. But I wouldn't minimise a mistake in a significant core skill by saying it is an imperfection.
 

TheDonEffect

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Most 2k+ jackets will not yield a practically better produced jacket in terms of longevity, but it will absolutely yield a better produced jacket visually i.e. cleaner looking execution and therefore overall cleaner looking jacket.




Yes, this was my contention why my Himels were still worth it to me.




Of course it does! These things make a huge difference visually and those are the things that should separate a $1k jacket and $2k+ jacket. To me it's as clear as night and day when I see the $1k jackets (insert any maker in that range) right next to very top tier makers in terms of the overall look of the jacket. Those are the things that people expect and pay for when buying a 2k+ jacket.




Yeah I highly disagree. Again, if you're talking about basic practicality like longevity, then you're absolutely right, but you can't tell me that Aero or 5* makes a jacket as good and as cleanly as RMC, RC or FW (others too)

You give any maker at Aero all the money in the world and they will never be able to achieve the level of perfection some of these Japanese brands achieve. They just don't have the skill. You give them the correct tools and all the time in the world to achieve the skill, yes they will probably be able to.

Well, I don't find fault in what you say, but a person needs a ruler to determine 9 vs 8 stitches per inch, I'd say it's a detail that's largely unnoticed except to a very experienced eye.

And I disagree, you give an aero maker all the money in the world they can do it. You streamline their product line, sizing, materials, and then on top of that give them all the money and training, yes they absolutely can.

But agree to disagree.
 

jeo

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Well, I don't find fault in what you say, but a person needs a ruler to determine 9 vs 8 stitches per inch, I'd say it's a detail that's largely unnoticed except to a very experienced eye.

We’re talking about clean construction on a $2k level jacket vs. unclean construction on the $1k level jackets.

The difference between 8 and 9 stitches per inch only matters if it’s done cleanly vs. if it’s done sloppily.

The $2k makers execute their jackets cleanly. The $1k level do not.

There is a huge difference. You said there isn’t.

My Flat Head and my Tenjin jackets do not have a high stitch count, but they are much neater and cleaner in construction than any $1k range jacket that I’ve seen.

And I disagree, you give an aero maker all the money in the world they can do it. You streamline their product line, sizing, materials, and then on top of that give them all the money and training, yes they absolutely can.

But agree to disagree.

Well you didn’t initially say to give them training. I said that. Now you’re saying the same thing...

Anyway I don’t want to keep arguing here. You can keep chuckling when someone says that a high stitch count is important to them.
 

Ayeteael

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I think you may have expressed a fallacy of bifurcation here - it has to be X or Y.

Actually there are other options. Artisanal high craft jackets are intended to show off a maker's skill. Sure, there can be imperfections, but not incompetencies. When a basic artisanal skill, like stitching, is very crooked or fails in places, this is no longer a celebration of imperfection, it is a competency issue. I don't think 100 perfection is ever on the table for any jacket but some mistakes are just screw ups and a failure in craftsmanship. What happens next is what level of screw up you are willing to accept. But I wouldn't minimise a mistake in a significant core skill by saying it is an imperfection.
I don’t think I intentionally or unintentionally meant to create a false dilemma. I think it’s pretty obvious we are each drawn to a jacket for a multitude of different reasons that are weighed subjectively on a sliding scale of importance. I just chose to highlight a few obvious ones that have been discussed.
 

Seb Lucas

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I don’t think I intentionally or unintentionally meant to create a false dilemma. I think it’s pretty obvious we are each drawn to a jacket for a multitude of different reasons that are weighed subjectively on a sliding scale of importance. I just chose to highlight a few obvious ones that have been discussed.

I think that's pretty obvious too.
 

MrProper

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You give any maker at Aero all the money in the world and they will never be able to achieve the level of perfection some of these Japanese brands achieve.

That is quite possible. Now it would be interesting how much time the Japanese leather artist needs for this and how much the English craftsman needs? Maybe the price difference is there too?
Would the English craftsman become an artist if he invested more time? See Greg/FL

Fortunately, I'm a barbarian and don't know to appreciate this difference either. For me leather always has something coarse and no ultra-fine and delicate seams fit for that. But they should be straight lol

But to be honest, I've never had a Japanese jacket in hand either, so I can only speak from (my) theory.
 

Tom71

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I just want to make sure my point wasn't lost. When I did my own research, I quickly learned that paying 2k+ for a jacket wasn't going to yield me a better produced jacket, or at least a practically better produced jacket. After pouring over everyone's photos of all sorts of makers, and talking with people in the industry, I realized my money would be better served pursuing other qualities because if quality was the objective, the 1k arena is well stocked with that.

What I mean I wouldn't spend 2k+ for a simple half belt for instance in cowhide with YKK zippers. I think this is sorta what gets lost in these types of discussions, whether it's comparing 1k to 500 jackets, or 2k to 1k jackets. In my own opinion, what you're paying for are features you cannot find in the lesser price variants, and often times it's not necessarily quality. Like is a Ferrari built better than a Honda Accord? No, what you're paying for is a combination of other factors: niche designs, custom work, unique materials, etc.

For instance, no one is buying a lambskin, or a no name stock naked cowhide leather in a stock size from a 2k maker. FCL for instance has their own, sorta proprietary HH leather that just looks amazing. Himel is one of the few players in NA that has Shinki.

I say all this not to excuse poor craftsmanship, because at the end of the day it should be made to a standard befitting the price tag. I'm just not surprised by it, which is why I don't buy at those price points. But, if I did, as others understandably have, it's because there are other things that oftentimes the high priced jackets do come with that lesser priced options don't. Like if I had to have Shinki for instance, the options are limited, especially if I wanted a Shinki jacket where I could be involved with the creative process and get a bespoke sizing. And then I have to rely on the skill and effort of the person making this one off jacket, and there opens the door for quality issues. A laborer who doesn't give an F, but does a repetitive task over and over again, while being monitored by a manager can and will execute a high quality seam for instance. They could practically do it with their eyes closed. But when you have a different materials, stitching a different template/pattern, etc, well practice makes perfect.

We had a similar discussion in the 5* thread, if I wanted a CXL jacket, I'm not going to find one for $400, that's practically the cost of the leather itself. And I want it made to measure with some design input? Fuhgetahboutit, we're already shooting past 500, 600, 700, crawling to the 1000 mark.

Curated jacket design with unobtainium leather, with new old deadstock vintage hardware, design input and sizing alterations, well, the price tag goes up quickly.

And all of these factors justify/inflate the increasing price before we even get to... quality.

It's why I try not to fall into the hype train, I try to objectively break down the reasoning behind the cost, even accounting for intanglible things, because for things that have been around like jackets, it's a solved problem, there hasn't been real advancements in this field for some time. It isn't like a smart phone where they just get discernibly better every couple of years. Making a jacket has a recipe. Yes, a ton of nuance, but it's not exactly tech. So I kinda chuckle when I hear things like 9 stitches an inch, or chain stitching the hem on my denim. Yeah I get it, to a total geek (and please understand that I'm saying this endearingly because I too am a geek for a lot of things) these are the minute details that really separates things in ones collection, but practically speaking it really doesn't mean squat. I've seen enough poorly executed chain stitches seams that I'm at the point I don't care. It's like housemade ketchup, who TF cares that you made your own ketchup if you're going to charge me for a thimble of it and it's no better, oftentimes worse, then the free Heinz ketchup I get from McDonalds. Ketchup is a solved problem.

I say jackets are a solved problem because I just can't see how a maker can, on average of course, make a better jacket than say... Aero, or even 5* for that matter. It's a solved problem, express to a maker your expectations, pay them a fair price, and out should pop a reasonably well made jacket. I say this to illustrate that I understand when I pay 2k+ for a jacket, I really don't expect that it's going to be any better than an Aero on their A game. It's a solved problem that has variations due to human input. You take the top maker of all the jacket makers, and make them make the same jacket, give them a week to do it, pay them a million bucks, the end result of the jackets are going to be so close to the point it doesn't matter. It's the combination of price, design, time, variation, all that that leads to deviations.

Thanks for taking the time to put this together. There are many points that I find very convincing.
 

dudewuttheheck

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For the record, I don't think Aero would ever put in the effort to actually try to match the greatest makers. Look at the mistakes on my Aero A-1 made by Greg vs. what Greg makes on his own. The difference is vast. Greg is the exact proof that Aero doesn't try harder.

The question is not whether or not the people who make Aero jackets could make jackets as well as makers such as Freewheelers/Rainbow Country, The Flat Head, RMC, etc given the time, machines, knowledge, and drive to do so. If we said they couldn't, that would be saying that the Japanese inherently are better at making leather jackets which is a ridiculous notion.

This means that it's mostly down to effort. Based on the differences we already see in Greg's jackets made under his own name vs. what Aero makes, I think the answer is clear.

I don't dislike Aero btw. If my jacket had fit me better I would have kept it and I may get another Aero one day because I like the Badalassi leather.

I just think that asking whether or not someone or some company could make something as good as the best if they tried harder is silly. Yeah, they probably can. The issue is that they already don't try harder or do things differently. Why else would Aero still punch these massive, unsightly holes in their jackets after all these years? They could fix that if they wanted to. That was one of the first things Greg did differently when he left. Clearly, they are choosing not to.
 
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Seb Lucas

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For the record, I don't think Aero would ever put in the effort to actually try to match the greatest makers. Look at the mistakes on my Aero A-1 made by Greg vs. what Greg makes on his own. The difference is vast. Greg is the exact proof that Aero doesn't try harder.

The question is not whether or not the people who make Aero jackets could make jackets as well as makers such as Freewheelers/Rainbow Country, The Flat Head, RMC, etc given the time, machines, knowledge, and drive to do so. If we said they couldn't, that would be saying that the Japanese inherently are better at making leather jackets which is a ridiculous notion.

This means that it's mostly down to effort. Based on the differences we already see in Greg's jackets made under his own name vs. what Aero makes, I think the answer is clear.

I don't dislike Aero btw. If my jacket had fit me better I would have kept it and I may get another Aero one day because I like the Badalassi leather.

I just think that asking whether or not someone or some company could make something as good as the best if they tried harder is silly. Yeah, they probably can. The issue is that they already don't try harder or do things differently. Why else would Aero still punch these massive, unsightly holes in their jackets after all these years? They could fix that if they wanted to. That was one of the first things Greg did differently when he left. Clearly, they are choosing not to.

I see your point. I don't think Aero is trying to compete with the high craft artisanal makers. As Edward has so well put this, Aero is making jackets in the spirit of those of the period but is not trying to copy directly or perfect the patterns and craftsmanship.
 

dudewuttheheck

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I see your point. I don't think Aero is trying to compete with the high craft artisanal makers. As Edward has so well put this, Aero is making jackets in the spirit of those of the period but is not trying to copy directly or perfect the patterns and craftsmanship.

Agreed. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I was fine with the flaws on my Aero in terms of construction. I only sold it because of fit. In fact, it's only fit worries that prevent me from getting another one.
 

Edward

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Agreed. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I was fine with the flaws on my Aero in terms of construction. I only sold it because of fit. In fact, it's only fit worries that prevent me from getting another one.

The obviousanswer is a factory trip. Be warned, it can be dangerous - I hgave my now wife my wallet to hold before we went in the door to avoid temptation. ;)
Pic from soggy Scotland:

h7Z5ATs.jpg

Uhm, is it only me, or...

1263963.jpg


You seem to have the appearance than my Norse genes slacked on giving me! ;)

That is quite possible. Now it would be interesting how much time the Japanese leather artist needs for this and how much the English craftsman needs? Maybe the price difference is there too?
Would the English craftsman become an artist if he invested more time? See Greg/FL

Fortunately, I'm a barbarian and don't know to appreciate this difference either. For me leather always has something coarse and no ultra-fine and delicate seams fit for that. But they should be straight lol

But to be honest, I've never had a Japanese jacket in hand either, so I can only speak from (my) theory.
I don't know where Greg's from personally, but Aero is a strictly North of the Border operation, and may or may not care to be considered "English". ;)
 

Mich486

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As a foreigner living in the UK for 10 years I got the grip of this Scottish vs English vs Welsh etc but for most people abroad it is well... complicated. You are part of the same nation (ok it’s a union of nations but when it comes down to international relationships it’s one), you have different national football teams but at the Olympics you are Great Britain, you all speak the same language which is English... the average foreigner just refer to you as the English. Sorry... :)
 

Brandrea33

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As a foreigner living in the UK for 10 years I got the grip of this Scottish vs English vs Welsh etc but for most people abroad it is well... complicated. You are part of the same nation (ok it’s a union of nations but when it comes down to international relationships it’s one), you have different national football teams but at the Olympics you are Great Britain, you all speak the same language which is English... the average foreigner just refer to you as the English. Sorry... :)

I can relate ... insert québécois/Canadian here:rolleyes:
 

jeo

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That is quite possible. Now it would be interesting how much time the Japanese leather artist needs for this and how much the English craftsman needs? Maybe the price difference is there too?
Would the English craftsman become an artist if he invested more time? See Greg/FL

Haha well if you only look at the part that you quoted from my post, that’s a pretty disparaging and incorrect statement.

What I said afterwards is, given the right tools and training, anyone can get to that level in theory. Not just Aero makers. In practice though not too many people put in the effort to do so.

For some who are gifted, it can take less time than others, but it has nothing to do with whether they're English or Japanese. It has to do with intent and commitment. Case and point, Greg Field.

And as @dudewuttheheck correctly said, Aero doesn’t want to do that and put in the effort to get to that level.

I also think you’re correct about the price difference.

As far as artist vs. craftsman, I think we’re getting into semantics here. Is a craftsman an artist and vice a versa?
 
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