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Ever wish western companies would compete?

Damon141

Practically Family
Messages
753
I say this as a proud owner of a North American Himel and with 2 Scottish jackets on order, Fields.
And I wouldn’t hesitate to order from any company around the world. I was pleasantly surprised in Indonesian boot brands Sagara & Junkard.
I would just like to see small details added to western leather jackets too, which could help them expand, it would be nice to see some western companies with jackets sold at resellers like the Japanese brands.

I am far from a japanophile, I don’t even own any of their clothes. But you have to be blind not to notice the products they produce. I would own a Japanese jacket in a heartbeat if I could find one that fit. I own Japanese kitchen knives that are amazing, sunglasses made from titanium from Japan. Don’t forget my trusty Japanese rice cooker going on 13 years of service.

With most products I get turned off by most Japanese companies lack of desire to sell to the worldwide, proxies and so forth makes it easy to get the attitude like “if you don’t want to sell to me then I don’t want to buy.” But that would change if I was able to walk into a store like Standard and Stange and find a well fitting jacket.

I don’t care what anyone says but the western companies will never compare 100% unless they invest 100% in the details, you have a few that come close in select jackets, or a couple have top quality stitching but Rainbow Country, RMC, Freewheelers, and Toys McCoy are all cards in, when it comes to putting out the best product from the accurate linings, labels accurately reproduced from historical brands, best stitching each company can manage, and unique design elements like not using the same collar on each jacket, it’s nice to see when the inside of a pocket it has a different material and even a label mimicking the workers union.

I attribute this to them buying and researching vintage clothing from the west, heck probably more than half of the clothing from the 30’s to the 60’s are inside the small country of Japan.

And packaging, if Apple products and the millions of unboxing videos online show us, it shows us that people like a well packaged product. You have professional cardboard logo tags and care instructions hanging from most new jackets from Japan
This might not matter to the select few here but it does for the future of these brands which are seemingly 1 machinist away from disappearing altogether.

It would just make me smile to walk into a store and see a Fields, Himel, Lost Worlds jacket among the RMC & Freewheelers.

So what is your opinion guys, why don’t they think of these details?
Is it money, greed, corner cutting?
Marketing problems?
Branding, image?
 
Last edited:

Marc mndt

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,383
it would be nice to see some western companies with jackets sold at resellers like the Japanese brands
Thedi Leathers, available at 20+ resellers around the world.

I don’t care what anyone says but the western companies will never compare 100% unless they invest 100% in the details, you have a few that come close in select jackets, or a couple have top quality stitching but Rainbow Country, RMC, Freewheelers, and Toys McCoy are all cards in, when it comes to putting out the best product from the accurate linings, labels accurately reproduced from historical brands, best stitching each company can manage, and unique design elements like not using the same collar on each jacket, it’s nice to see when the inside of a pocket it has a different material and even a label mimicking the workers union.
You must not know about Thedi. Their attention to detail surpasses most Japanese makers.

And packaging, if Apple products and the millions of unboxing videos online show us, it shows us that people like a well packaged product. You have professional cardboard logo tags and care instructions hanging from most new jackets from Japan
This might not matter to the select few here but it does for the future of these brands which are seemingly 1 machinist away from disappearing altogether.

Thedi jackets come in fancy dustcovers, bags, tickets, stickers, zipper use instructions and what have you.

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Damon141

Practically Family
Messages
753
I know of Thedi quality from your pictures and many others, I just didn’t include Thedi because he is in a league of his own, doing his own thing, subtle cues from vintage designs turned into his own modern interpretations. He clearly has it nailed and rightly so from what I read about him being in the jacket business for quite some time overseeing production of other companies before starting his own.

I should have mentioned him though still because his products and Eastman are probably the ones best to compare.
 
Messages
15,659
This isn't actually so. It's all stupid hype and lies. Japanese leather jackets are of similar level to their Western counterparts at best. I've recently handled FCL in London and was shocked how shit that brand is. Hanging between Double Helix and The Flat Head, I thought someone had stuck in something by Zara's budget line until I saw the tag. I couldn't believe how bad the Leon, for instance, is. Literally the lowest quality leather jackets in every possible way of all the brands being mentioned on TFL. Both Double Helix and The Flat Head are majorly good. Fantastic jackets, miles ahead of the slimy FCL.

RMC makes a fantastic, extremely high quality leather jacket that's still not quite on the Lost Worlds level.

But there's no point talking about it. People will believe the hype and thing of Japanese leather jackets as being the best. It's all hype and lies.
 

jacketjunkie

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,149
Location
Germany
I think it would help if we discussed more precisely which western brand misses what in your opinion rather than a generalized round up of all western makers per se. Otherwise this is bound to be a wild all over the place discussion.

I think western makers, for the most part, serve to a different market than japanese makers. Repro 50s working clothes are not as big of a deal in Europe and America as they are in Japan. There is a much bigger market in „guys who want a quality leather jacket for a night out that doesn‘t look costume-ish“ than the few people who actually cherish the 50s clothing period and dress accordingly. And for the former group details don‘t matter as much and they don‘t to pay on top for them either. Aeros offering is a great example of that. They started out with 50s designs and I would argue I have witnessed a massive shift in their sales from half-belts and longer coats to cafe racers and biker-ish designs in the past decade.

Then there is makers like Vanson who offer no nonsense riding gear and 80s work wear clothes at a fraction of the price of japanese shinki horsehide jackets. Again: Different market. Functional product over historical details.

On the other hand, there are individuals like John at Goodwear who i would argue put in all that eye and love to details you find lacking in western makers.. the waiting list for a GW is what, 5? years though. So I am not denying there is a market, it is just that not everyone feels like serving that market is the optimal business choice.

If you ask me personally, I could not care less about historic accuracy or packaging, I want a rugged long-lived product, that‘s what got me into leather jackets.
 

JMax

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,673
I’ll focus on US makers. What details? GW and LW pay attention to the minutiae like very few do. Or pattern details like the ones by Vanson, Bates, JL, even LW, that surpass the fetishized Japanese companies. Japan does have its Vanson equivalents that get no love here.

This convo pops up 2-3x per year. Japanese jackets are not better. Some like them more, imo that is all.
 

Canuck Panda

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,418
Vansons are selling at much higher prices in Japan and they're always sold out. In fact I'm trying to source a new Vanson from Japan right now, just waiting for the discount to happen.

All the brands make jackets slightly differently than the next. It's never apple to apple. The "best" from Japan is trying to be the best for the market they're serving. Skived seams, small needle work, no break ins, slim straight sizes. Even so, the Japanese consumers are still paying more than FW Centinella money for a basic Langlitz. So there's a market for just about everything for everyone.

There is no "best" jacket or any material thing, just the one next thing that a person wants and don't have yet. Desire makes the world go round and round...
 

Damon141

Practically Family
Messages
753
This is more personal for some than I thought, I don’t mean to ruffle feathers. I did mention that I didn’t think of Thedi at the time I posted because though I appreciate the workmanship, I’m stuck on more classic North American designs. He is on my radar but I’d have to have a collection like yours Marc to include a Thedi or Two, I’m just not there yet. Financially I never will be lol.

I am not implying that everything Japanese is better, just a few brands have really topped the repro market in leather jackets. Not all are creative or created equal, just like any other country of unique people.
Like I mentioned it is really just the ones that go so far as to reproduce the original label of a historical brand, along with the packaging and attention to detail in finishing and stitching. So it’s really just a select.


Problem with Lost Worlds is availability, and clearly he can reproduce with the best of them, it’s just the minor details I’m focusing on. Which might mean longevity, because what happens when his one machinist retires? Or Stu himself.

Vanson make what they make, fair priced motorcycle jackets and others of their own designs, I was more focused on the direction of vintage reproductions. They are their own thing, more tool and less fashion oriented, but clearly can look great
Same with Johnson Leather which seems like a cool company willing to go the distance for the customer and make anything they can dream. They fit everyone that I’ve seen excellent.

You can say Langlitz is vintage in itself because they are, but with a 13month waitlist and several members having to have remakes, again they just won’t be on shelves anytime soon, same with Bates which from what they say will remake their vintage designs but not a single person here has taken the plunge so I’ve seen. I think their clients are more full leathers for racing. They won’t have the designer leathers that we drool over here, clearly designed for durability but looks like car upholstery.

I can see Himel trying hard in the business with collaborative efforts with various brands, I think he is a label, packaging and a few more skilled machinist from being stocked in various stores, in fact he has been. I just think the labeling and packaging could seal the deal with repeat sales because I noticed the stores that carried his jackets dont restock or sell far below retail like DeeCeeStyle in Switzerland and Mildblend which discounted his jackets heavily, probably just due to brand recognition.

I could see Field Leather doing the same if he could find other machinist and have more vintage jackets to study the patterns because his attention to detail is amazing. And lately he seems to really want to push more patterns so I see big things in his future.
 

Damon141

Practically Family
Messages
753
Vansons are selling at much higher prices in Japan and they're always sold out. In fact I'm trying to source a new Vanson from Japan right now, just waiting for the discount to happen.

All the brands make jackets slightly differently than the next. It's never apple to apple. The "best" from Japan is trying to be the best for the market they're serving. Skived seams, small needle work, no break ins, slim straight sizes. Even so, the Japanese consumers are still paying more than FW Centinella money for a basic Langlitz. So there's a market for just about everything for everyone.

There is no "best" jacket or any material thing, just the one next thing that a person wants and don't have yet. Desire makes the world go round and round...
Just the grass is greener mentally. They want what we have and vice versa. I would love a Langlitz myself after seeing yours. I saw that and looked into the vintage and my appreciation grew, they don’t jacket he 9 stitches per inch but they don’t need it, they are still neat and clean and from unboxing videos really make a slap when they hit a table.

I just appreciate the representation of the reproduction jackets from that handful of brands in Japan.

They must not be able to all but the rights to the labels like Spartan Sportswear, LeatherTogs, Buco and northeast FlyingTogs.

I just made this post on the chance that an upcoming manufacturer might take notice and see the details can make a difference to the mainstream, not necessarily the buyers here which are how do I say, more discerning.
 

Damon141

Practically Family
Messages
753
Marketing yes 100% combined with those small details I mentioned, tags, labels and so forth.

Schott has the manpower and infrastructure to put out a killer line of vintage jackets with unique leathers if they could just implement it correctly. Unlike the Shinki with the split back they recently put out.
The restoration hardware racer jacket was a nice jacket, must be a reason why they didn’t continue to produce it.

I wonder if Schott outsells most brands in Japan with their manufacture capability
 

Aloysius

One Too Many
Messages
1,462
While there are many nicely made repro's coming out of Japan, the only thing I see them doing better than most makers is marketing.

Honestly, it's not even this. It's marketing from certain stores in the West like Standard & Strange.

I've talked to clothes and tailoring savvy Japanese friends and they don't see the Japanese repro brands as being higher end than Aero or Lewis, for example. They tend to cross-shop them, and in many cases the Western jackets are more expensive. One of my friends there just got a Lightning in the basic cowhide for more than RMC prices. Said friend doesn't have a 1960s Anglophilia or something; he just thought that was a good versatile jacket.
 

Damon141

Practically Family
Messages
753
I don’t know how people find out about these brands other than this forum, that’s how I was exposed. Not a single person I know would have a clue about any workwear brand.

I’m in Florida where fashion is T-shirt and shorts because of the extreme heat, but I wonder if I walked through San Francisco or New York City if I would see anyone in ANY workwear brand. Tons of used clothes on market sites so clearly people are buying all brands from here and elsewhere.

My little girl hasn’t tried a Japanese brand yet but is happy with Canadian jackets for now.
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Lewis comes beautifully packaged. My Goodwear did too. Western makers are great! Especially if you like older ones ;) unfortunately brands like Pioneerwear and Walter Dyer are gone...I loved my Thedi too.
That’s kind of my point with this thread, it just sidetracked with people thinking I was attacking western brands, it’s exactly the opposite. I just don’t want to see the few talented companies out there shut their doors like these amazing vintage jacket companies because they stayed isolated with no branding, marketing, expansion and 1 employee. Crazy long 1-4 year waiting lists. I want EVERYONE EVERYWHERE to succeed if they make good products.
 

Aloysius

One Too Many
Messages
1,462
That’s kind of my point with this thread, it just sidetracked with people thinking I was attacking western brands, it’s exactly the opposite. I just don’t want to see the few talented companies out there shut their doors like these amazing vintage jacket companies because they stayed isolated with no branding, marketing, expansion and 1 employee. Crazy long 1-4 year waiting lists. I want EVERYONE EVERYWHERE to succeed if they make good products.

It's not that we thought you were attacking western brands.

It's that your categorical exalting of the Japanese brands rests on several misconceptions about those very brands.
 

Liveinstyle33

One of the Regulars
Messages
102
This isn't actually so. It's all stupid hype and lies. Japanese leather jackets are of similar level to their Western counterparts at best. I've recently handled FCL in London and was shocked how shit that brand is. Hanging between Double Helix and The Flat Head, I thought someone had stuck in something by Zara's budget line until I saw the tag. I couldn't believe how bad the Leon, for instance, is. Literally the lowest quality leather jackets in every possible way of all the brands being mentioned on TFL. Both Double Helix and The Flat Head are majorly good. Fantastic jackets, miles ahead of the slimy FCL.

RMC makes a fantastic, extremely high quality leather jacket that's still not quite on the Lost Worlds level.

But there's no point talking about it. People will believe the hype and thing of Japanese leather jackets as being the best. It's all hype and lies.
Off topic, but are you that cute woman in the avatar?
 

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