Nice review, @Jaime . On a side note, what are the pants? Always on the lookout for non-dark pants to wear with leather. Great match, give some contrast and counterpoint to the jacket.It's been a couple of days wearing this jacket for several hours and as I won’t be able to make a real review until after a longer period of wear I can already tell you guys some of my first impressions.
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Getting a jacket from Greg was something that has been on my list for a long time. I recommended Field Leathers to a friend of mine who was looking to purchase his first “good” leather jacket and didn’t want to risk his money on getting something expensive off the rack because he wasn’t sure about the fit. He went with it last year and when he finally got it we met up for a drink and I saw his new Manhattan in person. I placed my order that same evening.
Honestly, I was in shock with the finishing, I've never handled a Rainbow Country which is supposed to be the world's top 3 in that sense, but I've seen Freewheelers and I own and have owned Real Mccoys, Buzz Ricksons… I think Greg beats them all in terms of finishing. Maybe I haven’t seen enough high-end jackets yet but I've seen enough to convince me. I also know that finishing is not everything in a jacket, we have the design, the pattern, the fit, the leather… I will try to go through all these on my own jacket.
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In terms of design, one thing I like about Greg’s styles is that they are contemporary jackets with a vintage twist. Mainly because of the fit and proportions. I don’t think Field Leathers is the place anyone would go for a 100% true repro jacket unless that is your specific project and you take it to the next level as some people in this forum have done with excellent results, at least for now. For the rest of us is either choosing one of his standard models as they are or choosing one and tweaking it, which is what I did.
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I wanted a 30s deco-inspired aviator piece. I went through a lot of catalogues, internet photos (thanks Marc) and through some modern companies that make vintage styles and created a mashup of references of all I liked, I also drew a sketch of the final piece in my head and created a mood board with all that and sent it to Greg with the message: Can we adapt this to a Manhattan? And that’s exactly what he did.
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When I received the test jacket I barely made any changes. The shoulders were too wide but that was my fault because I mentioned, after the measurements, I sent him based on my RMC Buco, that I would like more space in the shoulders because my Buco feels a bit too tight in that area. He added that extra cm and turned out it was too much, because the problem with my Buco is probably not about the shoulder length but about the way the pattern is structured, and that’s why it feels too tight. The other thing I asked him to change was the front drop, I wanted it to be an inch longer, and the last one was the back design, I wanted the central piece to be not completely rectangular but shorter in the base, as well as a thinner waistband. That was all.
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Now, I know that Greg’s signature shoulders are an issue for some people here. That is fair enough. I don’t think they are a flaw tho. The rest of the jacket is on point in terms of pattern and construction, he has years of experience and works with professionals in the industry, so why would the shoulders be an accident? I think they are a decision, one that I particularly appreciate and enjoy. I like fashion in general, and I like shapes and silhouettes, I like how they block proportions and give the garments a character. I understand that that’s not what a lot of people are looking for in a leather jacket. In my opinion, there is no right or wrong in this particular matter, I know that tailoring works differently than jacket-making. I am not saying that I went with him for this reason, or that I prefer it over a more conventional design, I have plenty of these, I'm just saying that I like it as it is. I consider this jacket an author piece.
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Picking up the leather was a bit of a struggle just until the moment I got the samples. I wanted a brown leather and I did consider the Shinki pony, but 2 things were happening at that point, even though it looks insanely beautiful I wanted something darker and less reddish, and second, well, he didn’t carry that stock anymore. The only brown option was the pigment Shinki horse and a mysterious yet-to-be-branded "shitty" Italian Cowhide. I liked the cowhide shade a lot in the pictures, but I wasn’t sure if it would be as good as Shinki… I was even considering going black, either tea core or full aniline even though that’s a colour I don’t associate with a 30s jacket… That kept me up all night (not really) until, as I mentioned, received the samples.
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The cowhide was gorgeous. Not only had the right tone and shade I was looking for, but it was smooth and prone to create a lot of grain over time, and also had a beautiful distressing, very natural and easy to create. It was also supple which was something I was really looking for after most of my jackets being Shinki horse. That said, I fell in love with the black full aniline. That's gonna be one for the next one for sure.
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For the lining I allowed myself a bit of eccentricity, I've always liked vintage military patterns and I have a soft spot for the Vietnam tiger stripe. I asked them about it because I saw it in a picture months ago and they told me they didn’t have it in stock but they would be able to get it, and I'm so glad they did because I love how it looks and works with the brown.
The jacket wears like a glove. The range of motion it gives me doesn’t feel like the one you would get out of a thick heavy leather jacket. It is comfortable, either zipped or unzipped, you can sit down or do whatever you want in it and won’t feel any areas of discomfort or friction. The only thing I would change however is the hand warmers. I chose the design and I'm happy with it, but I didn’t think of their complete functionality. They wear like totally normal pockets when the jacket is unzipped, zipped up however, they end up being a bit too close, so getting both hands inside at the same time makes your fists push against each other a bit. Not a big deal and honestly, I wanted to have them for small storage and practicality mainly, because having my hands in there all the time would deform the shape and I wouldn’t like that.
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My favourite part of the final piece has to be the back. I particularly love 30s deco backs and I tried to design this one in a way that was different to any other I've seen, at least in general, but also in a way that it would feel authentic from that era. Well one thing is the design and a very different thing is the actual jacket, I see a work of art here, not only do the proportions work perfectly in my opinion but the laser straight stitching makes it even more impressive to look at.
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So in general, as you can imagine, I couldn’t be happier. I designed this jacket to be a beater, to be functional and easy to wear but also stylish and a bit of a statement, to be easy to integrate with my wardrobe and with details that most people would think are nice but jacket aficionados would recognise and appreciate, like the back or the 30s repro buttons (thanks again, Marc), and I believe it ticks all the boxes. As if that wasn’t enough Sam and Greg are a delight to work with. Easy to talk to, very professional, open to new ideas and suggestions and most importantly very efficient problem-solving people. Not only I would recommend getting a Jacket from them, but I will also get another one myself eventually.