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Field Leathers MC-MLC Jacket

Pandemic

One Too Many
Messages
1,503
Location
In The Flat Field
WARNING: This may end-up another of my long, rambling posts. Apologies in advance - you have been warned! Pour yourself a drink. I sure have!

BACKGROUND: OK, so there is some history here. I got my first cross-zip in the winter of 1988-89 - A black Perfecto knock-off made in Hong Kong. Out of high school and diving into the whole 'alternative' or 'indie' music scene then burgeoning in Australia, I took style inspiration from the bands of the time. And let's be honest, if you looked like Andrew Eldritch you had a better chance of getting laid. That jacket got torn-up pretty badly after some misadventures going through barbed wire surrounding a disused old power station at three in the morning. I replaced it with another one, bought from the same army surplus store. This one was of a higher quality. Another Perfectos knock-off still, but with nicer leather and a better fit all around. I learned right then that not all leather jackets are the same. Anyway, I eventually moved on to a black suede trucker picked-up at the Camden Markets in London while on the obligatory European backpacking adventure. After that, it was a surplus Bundeswehr parka and a vegetarian girlfriend who did not approve of leather jackets. That was it for leather jackets for the next 25 years for me.

FASTFORWARD: Almost exactly a year ago, the pandemic was exploding and my workload with it. My hours were long and the stress was insane. My one weird little escape valve was learning about some new clothing item and obsessing over the details. First it was engineer boots - something I'd been interested in thirty years ago after watching James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, but at the time impossible to find. All of a sudden I was following a bunch of new IG feeds and spending more time on new fora. Wesco Boss boots ordered, I found myself eying leather jackets now. I already had a fairly good leather jacket - better than mall quality and a good fit, though not on par with what gets posted most days. I started drifting into the idea of getting a good, really well fitting jacket. I'm not really into black leathers these days, so it has to be brown. As I skimmed across the different sites I ran across the Schott Raven - a stripped-down Perfecto cross-zip that really caught my eye. I loved the simplicity and clean lines, while keeping the essential rock and roll features and cut. The two things putting me off were the price (yeh, at the time I was hoping not to spend too much. Ha!) and the soft lambskin leather did not appeal.

NEW JACKET: Sometime around April or May, Schott does their 25% off COVID sale and I order a brown P519 - attracted to the slightly longer body length and slimmer fit. The jacket does indeed fit very well for off the rack. However, the copper color of the leather and general 'blah' feel to it is off-putting, and I realized that I definitely didn't want the bling of the one star epaulets, belt and coin pocket. I move that one on virtually unworn and keep looking.

At this time, I had created an account here, ostensibly to sell the P519 - but before long I am interacting with all these knowledgeable folks and asking questions. I get a few leads to a small Scottish manufacturer who appears to make just the jacket I have in mind. I place the order, but the final product is a disappointment and leaves me feeling a little burned and less likely to go custom.

FIELD: However, the good folks here were giving me a few pointers to other makers - including Fields Leathers (finally, we are getting to the good part, hahah!). On his website, Greg only shows four models - one a fairly traditional J-24 style cross-up as well as custom options for leather type and lining. The truth is he will custom make anything you can dream up. I exchange a few emails with Greg and am quickly convinced this is who I want to make the grail jacket for me. He knows his stuff (a product of his university training and years of honing skills with Aero) and is really passionate about the craft. That word is a bit of a cliché for anyone in business making stuff, but in Greg's case it is absolutely true.

We set about the design in brown pigment-dyed Shinki leather: deleting the epaulettes, D-pocket and belt. Initially, I asked for side adjustors down by the hem and also a 'V' yoke on the back. The interior pocket moves over to the right side, as a little treat for this Southpaw. Over the course of a few emails, Greg is super down to earth and genuine, getting the basic specs together while I wait my turn in the queue. He was interested to hear the perspective of an Australian living in Texas while the election madness was going on (working in the US was a dream of Greg's at one point). At some point in out email exchanges, I noticed that Greg was referring to this as a MC jacket, I suppose because I was drifting so far from his Manhattan pattern. Seeing that it was due to arrive around my fiftieth and feeling a little self-conscious over this self-indulgence, I jokingly referred to it as my Mid Life Crisis (or MC-MLC) jacket and the name stuck. He doesn't talk like a slick salesman, assuring me he is being very careful on these details so he doesn't "f*ck it up" and later that he was still 'sh*tting himself a bit' on the final fit.

Then I settled in for a three month wait, leaving Greg to take care of all of his other orders and doing my best not to bug him.

In the first weeks of placing the order and then in our second burst of communication as he was getting close to production, Greg would very politely ask me for more pics of me in measured jackets. I was happy to oblige, having more faith in his ability to size me than my own guesses. Every time I thought we had nailed the size, he would ask for a few more pics of another detail. I got the sense that he was confident in his ability (what he called his 'gut feeling') and also a true perfectionists. I would measure a jacket and then send him pics telling him it was a good fit, but I could tell that he wasn't convicted - knowing he could get a better fit. He'd often say something to the effect of: 'I want you to be happy and I'll make it however you want, but I would suggest ....'. My smartest move in this whole long saga was always taking that sage advise. Very near the end of production, he asked if I wanted the adjustors down by the hem or higher at the waist (a bit life a half-belt). When I recommended the latter, I went with it - though for a few weeks I wondered if I'd made a mistake. I didn't - the higher point makes them perfect for tightening the waist to look great unzipped, whereas lower down they would have been purely decorative.

The jacket arrived this afternoon and I am still speechless and floored. It is perfect. I would not change a single thing. OK, that's it. End of story. On to the pics - which really tell a story I could not.
 

Pandemic

One Too Many
Messages
1,503
Location
In The Flat Field
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TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,286
Bravo!!! Glad you rebounded from that other "Scottish" experiment. LOL. That was a nightmare and I was almost sucked in too, and then also got turned on to Greg. So it's a good progression and shows you all things Scottish are not equal.

But I want to hear more about this barbed wire episode :cool::cool:
 

TG3

One of the Regulars
Messages
174
Location
Kansas City
ABSOLUTE PERFECTION! That is one F@#%ing awesome jacket! The fit, the details, the everything. Greg absolutely nailed it and your ideas for the design really worked out. It's clean with a hint of badass. Congratulations good Sir. Damn, what is that two new jackets in like a week?! Enjoy my man.

Oh and thanks for now making me re-think what I want from Greg once again lol
 

TG3

One of the Regulars
Messages
174
Location
Kansas City
Are there hidden buttons under the top collars or did you just opt for 2 on the lower lapels?
 

TREEMAN

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,453
Location
USA
Looks great !! My crystal ball tells me one of your other jackets will be heading to the classified section real soon ..
 

tmitchell59

I'll Lock Up
Messages
7,493
Location
Illinois
Much to like here. Where to start? The images are excellent. I do like the making images especially. I've seen those in another thread. They add more richness to the leather.

How did you do the lapels?

I understand the side straps now.

It fits as it should.

This is impressive work.

I fear that he could make me what I wanted and I would never buy another jacket.
 

Marc mndt

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,976
I know you generally like to wear your jackets a bit longer and wider so I was expecting your FL jacket to be just that. But then I saw these pics and I was blown away, what a great fit. Anyone who sees these pics instantly knows this jacket was custom made for you.

I just texted Greg to tell him I've never been so excited over someone else's new jacket hehe. He told me how he indeed went with his gut and did 0.5' less on the chest and 0.75' on the hem. But then got nervous you wouldn't like those small changes. I think he made the right choice, it looks spectacular. This jacket has presence. Congrats.

How do you like the craftsmanship? Compare this to that other Scottish maker :p (or to any other maker)
 

MrProper

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,945
Location
Europe

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