Goodwear Jackets why the attraction

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by jonbuilder, Jan 4, 2020.

  1. Bulldozer

    Bulldozer One of the Regulars

    Wow, this is quite something. Thanks for sharing. Also, to clarify, I meant that looking at the pictures of the GW jackets posted here, I see nothing special about the pattern or the design that would make them exceptional. They look like any other jackets from any number of makers.

    Brettafett likes this.
  2. El Marro

    El Marro One Too Many

    GW also uses leather from Horween and at least a few other tanneries as well no doubt. I don’t recall anybody knocking the leather used by Eastman in recent years. Most people, myself included, seem to be quite impressed with the hides, patterns, and construction that go into making an Eastman jacket.
    Among the A-2 enthusiasts I think you are correct that there was (is?) a sense that John was making far and away the most accurate repro and I think that is where the idea that GW was the “best” came from.
    I honestly do not believe that there is any single best leather jacket maker and I’m pretty happy about that actually. I own jackets from Aero, Eastman, Good Wear, Langlitz, Lost Worlds, Thedi, Vanson and more. If you asked me which one was the best my answer would change from day to day and of course depending on what the weather looks like outside.
    Brettafett, jonbuilder and ton312 like this.
  3. Lebowski

    Lebowski Practically Family

    Last edited: Jan 8, 2020
  4. ton312

    ton312 I'll Lock Up

    jonbuilder, Lebowski and El Marro like this.
  5. Lebowski

    Lebowski Practically Family

  6. Brettafett

    Brettafett One Too Many

    Many good points and thoughts, and after owning A-2s from everyone, incl a WW2 original and 3 GWs... (Well, almost everyone... except the Japanese makers, although handled and tried on many times. No thanks).
    As far as top tier A-2s... GW, ELC, BK and Platon all sit side-by-side on top rung of the modern repro maker pedestal, depending on the details you are after. Cant go very wrong with anything from these makers.
    They are all still repros at the end of the day, and none will ever be 'an original WW2 A-2' in and of themselves... they are all the respective makers' takes on original jackets in their possession.
    That said, Platon's Dubow is as good and as WW2-accurate as any modern day repro as you will get (albeit, no customisation, no returns, one contract offered etc... if it fits you win BIG time), for a third of the cost of a GW and a few months wait. And the one I currently have in Italian seal horsehide looks and feels exactly as my old WW2 original A-2 did (wait for these to wear in, in a year or twos time).
    For a couple of hundred more, BK offers options/ contracts and the seal Liberty at least, is as close to so many of those mid brown coloured originals I've seen in person.
    Eastman are quite a bit more again, but not 'better' jackets by any means... in fact as has been said, poor knits and something a bit weird about the collars on some of the jackets for example. Great people and excellent customer service maybe worth the extra monies!
    John is/was a gentleman when I had dealings with him, and no one doubts his experience and knowledge, but why anyone would pay and wait years for a GW escapes me. No offence intended to anyone.
    If you want one, go ahead, but don't be fooled, its not a 'better' jacket than any of the above, but it will have John's touch and the allure of the GW mystique. Better hope it fits as you'd like ;)
    ps no vested interests, just years of spending too much money on my flight jacket hobby.
  7. Deacon211

    Deacon211 Practically Family

    Excellent points made by everyone.

    From my own perspective, the draw of GW from many years past is that he chose to emulate many of the esoteric details that others didn’t, although I think there’s some truth that he has encouraged other makers to up their game since then.

    For instance, when I spoke to JC about the m-422a, he indicated that he preferred to “square” the shoulders as in the original patterns, even though many modern makers “slump” them. This makes raising the arms easier, but softens the original boxy outline. It was this and things like it(pocket flaps, collar points, appropriate hardware) that made GW something of a Nerdvana for those that wished that they could have had an original, but couldn’t source one for one reason or another.

    Having said that, he also told me that he switched at one point from using his original m-422a goatskin to a different, more supple hide after numerous complaints that the original was too hard to break in.

    So even GW had to occasionally cater to modern “collector” tastes for what it’s worth.

    As for his communication, I ran afoul of it as well.

    Generally speaking, I had to follow up repeatedly to get a response from him. But I think it’s important to note that when I did receive a response, it was in the form of a lengthy, detailed, and personal missive that must have taken hours to write. Even at the time I was split between feeling flattered that he took so much time to respond and feeling bewildered as to how he could possibly hope to empty his jacket queue with this amount of time dedicated to correspondence. I’m talking man-days worth of emails on my computer.

    But that is sort of JC. A passionately talented and charming artist on one hand and nerd-ragingly, head slappingly unreliable and unresponsive on the least to me.

    FWIW, in attempting to make one HL Block jacket for me, he wound up making three, as two didn’t fit. The third I’m pretty certain was the sole cause of the Great and Terrible Button Holer Disaster of 2015.

    In the end, after several months JC refunded my full 2 grand (I had paid after the first jacket had shipped) with extra for shipping, basically permanently shelving the project. A few months after that, he told me that he had found a simple solution and the jacket was now complete. By this time however, I had contracted with another maker and couldn’t justify both at full price. So he washed it and kept it.

    I include that last paragraph to make it clear that I am in no way an apologist for Goodwear. At the time I was really quite frustrated with the waiting, the misfit jackets, the lack of communication, and the fact that,
    in the end, my jacket got shrunk and thrown in his closet; not even sold to put food on the table.

    And yet I can’t say that I have anything against the man personally. In another circumstance, I would call him a friend...just not a friend that I’d ever depend upon to pick me up from the airport. [emoji6]

    Unlike others, I do think that the “Goodwear Experience” is part hyperbole, part well deserved reputation. I also believe that anything that generates devotion, generates jealousy in equal portion. In short, there is no simple, reductionist answer to your original question.

    For my part, I would never, ever contract with GW again. But I wouldn’t discourage others from doing so. If you can brave the stormy seas of the process, there is a better than even chance that you will wind up with a beautiful (and if you are going for a repro, lovingly accurate) jacket.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Boyo and Carlos840 like this.
  8. jonbuilder

    jonbuilder One Too Many

    Redwood City, CA
    Carlos, I appreciate your frustration, but I take issue with your claim that John C. is operating a deposit scam without proof of his intentions.
    I agree to John's business model leaves much to be desired and goes way beyond poor custom service, but I see no proof he does not intend to deliver a jacket to every deposit he is holding. Let imagine he is catching up with his deposits and is holding 4 years of deposits at $200. I get $320,00 not enough to retire on. Are you suggesting John is planning to leave the jacket world and go find a hole to crawl into with $320,000?
    Full disclosure I have not communicated with John in 12 - 15 years and we were never on a personal level. If I understand your statement above correctly, from what I do know of John, I disagree.
    No, I do not intend to get on the waiting list. I did email John about a resent sale item and have received a reply. I did not want to fund his paypal without communication.
    BTW you have some nice jacket and a big contributor to this forum thankyou for that
  9. jonesy86

    jonesy86 Call Me a Cab

    I bought 7 jackets from John between June of 2018 and October of 2018. All of them were test jackets and/or had imperfections of one sort or another. I think he went through a period of trying out new leather, new techniques, as well as new machines over a relatively short period of time. I am not sure but I think that he makes most of his test jackets in his own size because he likes to wear them for a few days before passing them on, as he enjoys his craft and wearing his own jackets, just a theory. In any case I am about the same build as John, maybe a little heavier, but I am happy with the fit of all of the jackets that I have bought from him, none of which were custom made, had a long wait time, or were sold at full list price. I have learned a lot from John about these jackets, their history, and the companies that made them, often after receiving them. I love the detail.

    I own a few other repro leather jackets. as most true vintage jackets won't fit me. I have a few Arrows, a Simons Bilt, a Thedi, a Himmel, a JL, a couple of Schotts, all used second hand jackets. I tried to get a variety of jacket styles, leathers and makers. One of my favorite jackets is a Brooks café racer, though it is not exactly a high end jacket. Some of the Japanese stuff looks pretty nice, but I don’t think they make jackets that fit me. I would really like a 46L ELMC Windward, and like the looks of a lot of Thedi’s jackets, but I have more jackets than I can wear already.

    I'm pretty happy with this collection:
    GW Closet.jpg

    Chrome-tanned, seal aniline 2.5 oz. cowhide
    Ventura front_view_flat.jpg

    Horween Mustang horsehide, which is a wax finish. A direct copy of a pattern from a 1938 Hercules with only the body and sleeves a little longer.
    Herc. front_view_flat.jpg

    Russet and seal Italian Horsehide
    Arcadia front_view_flat.jpg

    Two-toned goatskin
    Cossack front_view2.jpg

    Light russet aniline cowhide with a vintage finish
    Bronco_A2_Jacket cropped.jpg

    Indian goatskin
    Dubow front_view cropped.jpg

    TypeA1_Jacket cropped copy.jpg

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 7, 2020
  10. mr_lits

    mr_lits A-List Customer

    Los Anchorage
    That Acadia is f*#king amazing. Full stop.
    sweetfights and jonesy86 like this.
  11. willyto

    willyto Practically Family

    Just a wild thought but instead of making and selling to the same person 7 jackets in 5 months while replying to all the emails he could have delivered his backlog of orders and replied to every single one of the emails.

    He had personal problems but this shows that such personal problems didn’t prevent him to make jackets, he just did the ones he wanted rather than follow through with the clients who had already paid deposits.

    Nothing against you @jonesy86 of course, you’re not to blame here.

    It’s just ridiculous and nothing will convince me otherwise.
    Hh121, red devil and Carlos840 like this.
  12. jonesy86

    jonesy86 Call Me a Cab

    I’m pretty sure that much of the work that I received did not measure up to JCs high standards of excellence, nor would have met the demands of most of his clients. During the brief time that I was in touch with John I feel like we developed a kind of friendship, that he was quite sincere, and generous, and at the very least I have become a big supporter of his work. Oh yeah, and I did drop a few bucks as well.

    I hope that everyone waiting for a GW jacket gets their order soon.

    I picked up the Ventura off of his sale page. It is made from leather that he was trying out, that I don’t think met with his liking, and is pretty light weight for most TFL tastes at the very least. The jacket also had some miss-stiches in the lining next to the backing.

    The Hercules was a test jacket to practice for a couple of orders that he had, and he was trying out a new double needle machine set at ¼ inch gap as did Monarch back in the day.

    The Acadia I think he made because he had never made a two-tone jacket before, and he wanted to get creative. I’m glad he did.

    The Cossack was another test of his two-tone creative process, as well as a completely new technique for sewing button-holes, and getting his new button hole machine set just right.

    The Bronco was a test jacket using a new leather, that was not exactly like the most detailed and obsessive copy of the originals. I think he again was not quite happy with the outcome. I know that the folks on VLJ thought it was a travesty.

    The Dubow I really don’t think had any flaws, and I suspect he made it just for me, at a good price, with no wait, but I’m not sure. I think it would meet the strictest standards of most obsessive A2 folks, even though it is not Shinki. I really knew nothing about the whole A2 world and believe he was very kind to sell me this jacket and share his love of his craft with me. I really like the goatskin, and it is my understanding that this is a very accurate reproduction of the original.

    The A-1 was made with some Capeskin that had some pretty serious flaws in the leather that he said some would never accept. He was also further refining his new button hole technique, as well as the adjustments on his new button hole machine. I had told him that I had bought one of his A1s off VLJ at a hefty price and that the button holes were completely stretched out and it didn’t fit me very well. I gave it to a relative that really loved it and John was very nice to offer me one that fits me much better.

    I have not heard from John in well over a year. I hope he and his family are well and I wish them health and happiness in the new year. If he offered me another jacket I would happily buy it.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2020
    madhu, jonbuilder and Lebowski like this.
  13. Carlos840

    Carlos840 Call Me a Cab

    I am pretty sure we already discussed this in another thread, but here it goes again:

    IMO once someone is lying to obtain money from someone else it is a scam, or at the very least fraud.
    JC is currently accepting $200 a pop for deposits and still promising people a delivery of the finished product within a timeframe that he knows he physically cannot deliver on. That is lying.
    If JC is accepting 15 deposits a month, and refunding 5, he is still making $2000 a month on deposits only, whilst using money from new "clients" to refund people asking for a refund and for everyday expenses.
    As long as he keeps the face up, makes a few jackets here and there to keep the fans happy, keep hopefuls from asking for the dreaded refund and people keep defending his conduct, the money will keep coming in.

    I am not saying he is planning on never delivering any of the jackets he took deposits for and running away to hide in a small pacific island, but i am saying that he is dishonestly keeping a cashflow going.

    How many new "customers" would put a deposit down if they knew the wait time was between 3 and 6 years?
    I assume very few.
    The honest thing would be to tell people the real wait time, or to stop taking deposits untill your wait time is back to what you announce it as in the first place
    He isn't doing either of these things, why? It would dry the stream of deposits.

    So clearly we have dishonesty (willingly or not), in the goal of obtaining money, how is that not a scam/fraud?
    (fraud: wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain)

    It seems to you it would only be a scam if he suddenly closed shop and disappeared. It's almost as if as long as he could possibly make it right in the end, all his wrong actions are fine.
    Nigerian scammers don't become scammers when they retire, they are scammers during the time they scam...
    I don't see what more i can say and how it isn't obvious.
    Mil, willyto, Hh121 and 3 others like this.
  14. Robbie79

    Robbie79 Practically Family

    I 100% agree to your statement!

    red devil likes this.
  15. Edgar Laurel

    Edgar Laurel One of the Regulars

    Porto, Portugal
    I kind of want a GW, from the looks of the jackets posted here and on GW website they ooze quality and detail. I also trust the reviews from really passionate guys like all my dear friends from TFL. Buth the wait is just not for me...not over 2 years, 4..6! I'll check the sales page every now and then and hope for a nice 38 or 40 sized jacket to appear one lucky day.
    El Marro likes this.
  16. red devil

    red devil One Too Many

    @Carlos840 never accused JC of a scam directly, as you said very clearly we have no proof. He just laid down the facts (won't repeat them here) and concluded from them that he thinks that JC is running a scam. And honestly, looking at all the facts, it is difficult to believe otherwise.

    You (and others) have been pretty defensive regarding this whole matter and there is one question that you have been deliberately avoiding:
    Why is JC still claiming 18 to 24 months wait on his website? It is obviously a lie and it doesn't take any effort at all to fix.

    This should be pretty clear, shouldn't it?
    ton312 and Carlos840 like this.
  17. Peter Mackin

    Peter Mackin Practically Family

    So if I order one today I could be 70 by the time I get it ,,eh I think not,
  18. ton312

    ton312 I'll Lock Up

    I know it's been discussed before...The best thing for GW to do would be to empty the queue for all but the oldest orders (maybe 15-20 jackets) and refund those stuck in purgatory. Upon completion re-open to new orders and set a cap as to how many he will take based on his abilities to stay within his completion time frame. It would provide customers with a sense of security and would light a fire under his ass to expeditiously fill orders.
  19. Will Zach

    Will Zach A-List Customer

    Northeast USA
    I read a blog post of FL's very own @dudewuttheck's on Goto-san, owner and sole artisan at White Kloud boots in Japan. Fascinating read. The meticulousness of the guy is off the charts, so he only makes 60 pairs/year, at average price of about $1,500/pair, with a wait time of about 18 months. I believe he sticks to this timeline. It is all about basic work management no matter how meticulous you are.
    hondurasdave47, red devil and ton312 like this.
  20. red devil

    red devil One Too Many

    I actually have a pair on order from him, scheduled for spring (need to check the exact month). He does give me the impression he will keep to his deadline. Will report :)

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