Five Star Leather vs Johnson Leather for Custom Jackets

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by jonbuilder, Nov 23, 2020.

  1. Monitor

    Monitor

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    Pakistan makes great leather, too, which is something that's often ignored. The fact that cheap junk gets mass produced doesn't mean that a country that has been tanning leather literally before half the world we know it today was even formed, is capable only of bad product.
    Breaks my heart knowing how many tanning secrets have been lost throughout the time...
     
    Hh121, ton312, red devil and 3 others like this.
  2. TheDonEffect

    TheDonEffect One of the Regulars

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    100%. Cost of living, living wages, etc vary wildly by location. Some places makes a few hundred a month have a better standard of living than people making a few grand at a different place.
     
    navetsea and dannyk like this.
  3. TheDonEffect

    TheDonEffect One of the Regulars

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    So this thread has made me reconsider making a potential gift jacket with 5* since it wouldn't be for me. So I got caught up reading through the 5* thread, and well it seems that I personally would not want to send $500+ worth of materials. Now that there are more experiences with 5*, there is now more data points.

    Shawn is not making the jacket like Hh121 stated, so you are not communicating with the person that is making the jacket.

    They are human and make mistakes, as do all makers. But it seems that the recourse of getting corrections done doesn't seem possible, and may be written off as minor errors.

    Also, reading through the thread, seems like the consensus for the impressions on the leather they stock is just ok. There have been obvious errors made, regular fit issues, etc etc.

    So in summary, it is appearing that comparisons to mall jackets is not off base. You can, however, design the jacket, and therefore add details normally not found on mall jackets, but it appears to be very hit or miss. All in all, it seems like the people who see these jackets as a bargain are willing to beta test what they offer, trying the different leathers, different designs, etc.

    For me, $350ish is already alot of money. I don't plan on having a collection of jackets. And then when you consider when you start comparing apples to apples in terms of materials being used the price difference is about $200.
     
  4. handymike

    handymike I'll Lock Up

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    It seems, that when it comes to custom orders, most people end up with more than one Five Star jacket (the first seems to be more of a paid “test”). So when considering price vs. value/experience you may want to calculate the Five Star in the $650- $700 range. Sean may be assuming mistakes will occur first-round as his solution to @Seb Lucas was to offer a discount on v2.0. Johnson, on the other hand, seems to circumvent this issue through a repair/ remake/ or initial fit process.
     
    ton312 likes this.
  5. ton312

    ton312

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    This applies to every single maker discussed here. Including JL, which yourself and one other member are sending jackets back to have the fit tweaked. I had to send my JL back too. I’ve had incredibly flat and dull CXL from Aero, poor fit from LW, etc,etc. The problems you’ve highlighted are hardly exclusive to any one maker. I do find your constant need to disparage 5 Star to be odd. I also find the notion of them being “mall quality” a bit irrelevant given your very brief history here and personally, a bit insulting. I have been through literally hundreds of jackets, new, custom and vintage, so to assume I would not know the difference is just plain dumb.
     
  6. ton312

    ton312

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    I went through the fit process with JL and still sent mine back. Fit jackets aren’t silver bullets. They help for sure but I’d much rather give every single measurable point.
     
    handymike likes this.
  7. Hh121

    Hh121 Call Me a Cab

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    Then you should read another post about JL where the finished jacket back length is shorter than test jacket, sleeves are too long as well.
    JL makes great jacket no doubt about that, so does 5star.
     
    El Marro likes this.
  8. handymike

    handymike I'll Lock Up

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    Did JL fix the problem at no charge? Even my Goodwear was off first time, but John remade the jacket without any extra fees or push-back.
    I agree that Five Star is offering a cool service we don’t really see very often...but I’m also hesitant to go all in...until I sell some :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
  9. Hh121

    Hh121 Call Me a Cab

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    I am sure they did that.
     
  10. TheDonEffect

    TheDonEffect One of the Regulars

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    I understand your points, and they're fair because I realize that my posts were beginning to paint me into a fanboi.

    Because of this, I was trying to summarize my thoughts on my last post, but your post is prompting ac response from me. So I apologize for beating a dead horse.

    Thing is that there were points raised on this thread that I found to be inaccurate, and the points I raised are to address those points which happen to be critical of 5*. I have this bad habit of not letting things go, so that's on me.

    Fwiw, I didn't apologize and was critical of JL's issues raised in this thread, such as the price and workmanship issue that a poster had earlier. That's unacceptable and should be addressed.

    Certain fit issues I'm understanding of. For instance, most suit tailors require at least three fittings, working with fabric not leather, so I totally understand why all makers, JL and 5* included, have fit issues, These points were not necessarily the point to disparage 5* accuracy, because all makers have these issues, it's to point out the need for some level of diligence.

    Btw, fwiw, I wasn't planning to bring it back in, it just came up during my discussion on my new jacket and they insisted so I happily obliged. I am nervous though because technically the fit was spot on, just adding some comfort for my fatass, so going from a slim fit to a modern fit.

    But the points were raised that craftsmanship is on par with JL. Perhaps. Their leather is great. Open to interpretation but based on what others posted does not seem to be the case. You deal with the maker directly not a sales person. Not true. They're 3x cheaper. When dealing with apples to apples situation, this is not true. When comparing same materials, it's 700-800 vs 900-1000.

    If you review the summation of my posts, I have actively tried to keep this as objective as possible.

    I don't think I took any personal shots at anyone, let alone you, but if any of my posts came off as me questioning your knowledge then consider this an apology because that was not my intention.

    I am new here, and really new to all this and frankly after I get my new jacket may be the end for me. So if anything I said was inaccurate, please educate me.

    My intention here is not to be a bother or a fanboi, and I largely ignore when shots are taken at me because this is the internet lol, but maybe I should be paying attention to know when I'm overstaying my welcome when people make off topic points to disparage my choice of materials or that I'm new. I should take this as a sign of not disrupting the established order, and I don't want to be perceived as a troll either.
     
  11. red devil

    red devil Call Me a Cab

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    You're certainly not overstaying your welcome, and I personally found your point of view interesting to read, and from what I can see others as well.
     
  12. Mich486

    Mich486 One Too Many

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    1,350
    I share the same feeling as @red devil. I think as long as someone is discussing politely and objectively, like I think you have been doing, there is nothing to worry about.

    I also think that a long-standing tfl membership does not necessarily translate into becoming a leather jacket authority. Inputs from new members sometimes are more valuable.

    P.s. Today I sent an email to Shawn. There is a jacket I’ve been wanting since a good while which is sold out everywhere and never to be made again. I think these unobtainable designs is where 5* come in. I’m excited!
     
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  13. ton312

    ton312

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    I don’t think you are a troll, you are of course entitled to your opinion. The part that begins to irk me is that you are basing yours on a single jacket you own vs. a thread with a few gripes from other people about 5 Star (while ignoring threads from satisfied customers). I’m basing my opinions on handling a number of actual jackets, from a broad spectrum of makers and using that as the measuring stick.
    As far as being a fanboy goes, I don’t see a problem with that either. I could easily be called an Aero fanboy. A Vanson fanboy...and a 5 Star fanboy. We are all fanboys. I largely agreed with most of your post...right up until you had to throw in the “mall jacket” pejorative.
    I do not consider myself an authority but I do know the difference between a good jacket and a mall jacket.
     
  14. TheDonEffect

    TheDonEffect One of the Regulars

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    No worries, I would love to get your perspective on these points that were raised during this thread to keep this discussion about the topic and not about the people:

    -With 5*, you get to talk to the person who is actually making your jacket, and not a salesperson.
    -5* leather is better than JL, with my jacket being an example of this.
    -5* is 3-4x cheaper than JL.
    -5* quality is as good as JL.
     
  15. ton312

    ton312

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    Location:
    Chicago
    I believe I have done this already but sure...
    -Shawn does do the pattern work, or at least some of it, from what I understand, he does not sew them together. I am basing this belief off emails I’ve exchanged with Shawn, I could be wrong.
    -No, I don’t believe the 5 star goat is better than JL’s house leather. TBH both are very mediocre. I’ve always felt JL’s house leather looks like printed/corrected grain. Shawn’s goat is flat and not terribly interesting to look at but part of that is just the nature of goat to begin with and it’s one of the reasons I’ve long avoided the hide from any maker. When I look back through my camera roll, maybe even just in the last year of jackets I’ve owned, I think I would put both hides at the bottom of the pile. They are both just OK imho.
    -Again, going off my custom JL ($1.3) vs my custom 5 star $330, yes, that is correct. A stock JL I can’t comment.
    -Depends on how you define quality I suppose. I’ll repeat the same points I’ve made several times in this thread. My 5 stars are sewn together and fit better right out of the box. That’s not an accident and it took a fair bit of my own input for that to happen. The CXL overdye and lining materials, riri zips used on the custom and pre-owned JL’s I’ve had are better than those used on all my 5 star jackets. So in my opinion the criteria shifts to qualities, rather than a single quality. An important thing to note as well, my 5 Star jackets are new. If they unravel in a years time my feelings on their quality will obviously change. I plan to keep the forum informed.
     
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  16. dannyk

    dannyk One Too Many

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    In the other 5 Star thread Shawn himself just gave seriously in depth explanations of their entire system. Might be of note to some of the points made back and forth here. Really cool he took the time to go through the entire process. All here should go check that out.
     
    MrProper and ton312 like this.
  17. TheDonEffect

    TheDonEffect One of the Regulars

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    See, we largely are in agreement. These points were raised to which I was largely responding to.

    -Correct, all indications and not opinions, in fact Shawn's latest post illustrates that he does not make the jackets, and I think he doesn't even do the templating.
    -Well, almost agreed. In the case of my naked cow leather, it's nothing to write home about, hence I was reluctant to post it, and it ended up being with good reason. I chose the leather, as many have also chosen the leather, for its practical properties, not its show qualities. It's not a leather person's leather per se. And I agree that alot of the stock leather is pretty ubiquitous. And agree with your assessment with 5* leather as well. So at this point, it may be a push, but...
    -...the thing is though, JL also sources and is now stocking more regularly great leathers, hence all the CXL jackets running around and is largely the basis for price comparison, and correct me if I'm wrong but your 1.3k JL utilized such a leather correct? So as a whole, when comparing "stock" offerings, JL "stocks" better leather which you can opt for, in my case for that jacket I did not. But you can, and if so, then the price difference of 330 vs 1.3 isn't quite as simple, because you are comparing ubiquitous leather to a premium leather. We've established that the cost to make a horween jacket with 5* to be approximated at 770, vs 900-1000 with JL. That is of course until, hopefully, 5* begins to stock such leather, which should then increase that gap, but doubtful that it will drop it back to 380, I mean retail on Horween alone is just about $500. For the record, I paid 700ish for my jacket that was made from scratch. So again, not exactly 330 vs 1.3. I'd say it's more 330-380 vs 900-1300, which recency bias suggesting it's more 380 vs 1000 before controlling the materials variable, at which case it becomes 770 vs 1000.
    -No disagreement, I've largely said that both companies have great examples with some bad examples, which is par for the course for most reputable companies. The summation of those points will lead to the same result, it's a wash, they both appear to sew together a good jacket, or at least good enough to appease us.

    So regarding the mall jacket aspect, I think it's fair to say that alot of mall jackets suck, and yet there are alot of mall jackets that are great, making the average/median mall jacket to be... would it be fair to say ok? But what separates the mall jackets from the made to order jackets is the ability for us to have say in the style, sizing, and probably more importantly the materials. There is a lot of tangents we can go from here, philosophically what is good vs better, where do we consider companies like Schott then, etc etc. So I use the term mall jacket not exactly as a detractor, but more as an understood reference.

    Now here comes the irksome part, where do we then categorize 5*? Vs. the mall jackets, they're a slamming value. Vs. the established makers, well... not that simple is it? Would you pay 770 right now for a 5*? If the answer is no, then it's more mall jacket than established maker jacket then isn't it? If yes, then it's more established maker than mall jacket right?

    But let me finish on a deservedly positive note for 5*. All this isn't to say that 5* can't be the next big thing here. I think the way that Shawn's been handling things, they definitely well can. So here's my opinion, I think they're going through their beta stages right now, and early adopters that are immersed in this world are understandably excited. Finally, a made to order company, that allows full creative freedom, that hopefully one day offers more choice of materials, that leverages labor advantages to produce a more lower priced option. It isn't cheap producing jackets in Scotland or San Francisco. Once they establish a reputation for meeting/exceeding customer's expectations at an acceptable rate, a 500-700 option for a made to order with premium materials is something we can all get behind.

    I also see a lot of opportunity in this space. I cross shopped Aero and SB, great jackets obviously, but the fact that Thurston Brothers exists sorta tells the tale of missed opportunities. Thurston Brothers goes beyond to help you get the fit right. They stock jackets in typical sizes, send out fit jackets for reference points, and most importantly has a better line of communication, taking away alot of the responsibility off the consumer.

    I think Shawn is very active and responsive, allows a ton of input, and when it's all said and done, the risk tolerance is much more palatable at their competitive price. I can definitely see in the near future them being a major player without apologies. I mean, Thursday Boot Company and Gustin are able to make Horween jackets for remarkably less here in the US, I have faith that when Shawn figures out the supply chain logistics of sourcing desirable leathers and hones in on thier business approach, that 5* can produce a superior product to those companies and on par with the established makers.
     

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