GoodWear Leather - 1939 Werber A-2 (new)

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by thekiyote, Jul 5, 2019.

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  1. red devil

    red devil One Too Many

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    As you might have noticed, I am not into flight jackets, but civilian and moto style. I originally placed an order for a Californian racer but then got more interested in the Arcadia which is possibly what I would order if my turn ever comes. Is there any point in going with John for this? Or people should only consider John for military style jackers?
    Genuine question

    If it was this simple, I don't think that John would be causing such negative feelings. The problem are that the waiting list is out of control and people get selected out of the chronological timing of their orders. Why have you received your jacket earlier then people who have over 5 years waiting? Did you ask John directly? If so what was his answer? And how can you justify this?

    You also claim that there are 2 ways to deal with a long waiting list, either raise price or make people wait and in your own words time is an equalizer. What are you implying by saying this?
    I would say that there is at least a third way to do things correctly, as evidenced by the other thread: stop taking orders until the waiting list is more manageable, so why John doesn't do this and why does he still accept down-payments? This question has been asked a few times already but never got an answer, always ignored by the GW fans.

    Finally, if I was a new forum member or simply lurking for the first time and I read some of the comments like the one you just made, I would be misled to believe that with John, it's only a matter of waiting longer to get your jacket, 2 years +
    Having read John's website which still states 18 to 24 month waiting and then reading the comments here, I would think that it could take about 2 years and a half to get the order, long but manageable... Is that fair to mislead people to such an extent?
     
    ProteinNerd, ycloud77 and Carlos840 like this.
  2. thekiyote

    thekiyote Familiar Face

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    Honestly, I wouldn't. John's passion is in military jackets. If you order something else from him, you're still probably going to get a very high quality jacket, but since it's out of his area of expertise, it's probably not going to have that same "this is exactly like the original![/i] that his A-2s have.

    Also, since it's not where his passion is, all the business issues people have with him will probably get worse, since those will be the ones he puts on the backburner first.



    I'll be honest, I didn't ask about anybody else on the waiting list, but I can make a few educated guesses based on my experience. The first is how he responded to me saying my time is up immediately after emailing him makes me think he plays it fast and loose with the waiting list, and I got lucky to catch him when he was checking emails. (To be clear, that's not a good business practice, it's just what I think happened.)

    The second thing is something he mentioned when talking to him. He mentioned that his supply of shinki hh had dried up, so everyone who requested it had to wait, and he just recently got a resupplied. For me, I was like, dang. If you gave me the option six months ago to switch a hide, I would have taken it, but I was never given the opportunity. I didn't even know there was a shortage. I wonder if this, or some other reason, is leading to a longer wait times for civilian jackets. (Also, to be clear, this lack of communication isn't a good business practice either).

    When I say that time is an equalizer, I mean that higher prices are better than waiting lists (even closed ones) for people with the money to pay more. It's usually better for the company, too, since they earn more per item they sell. But waiting lists (even closed ones) seem more fair because people who couldn't afford higher priced items still have a chance to get one too.

    As far as why John doesn't close his waiting list, while I'm not John, I can make a very good guess from my own personal experience: he's over estimating his speed in making jackets and underestimating how much work is in the list. The mind's very bad at doing estimations. If he isn't sitting there and actually calculating out how long the list is and what it will take to complete it (and if you read my earlier comment, I highly doubt he is), it's easy for him to think it's a lot less work than there is. (Insert my typical comment on how this isn't a good business practice, but it is what I think is going on.)

    I work as a manager, and deal with this all the time, typically with people who are highly skilled and have no shortage of people asking for their help. I have the conversation where I'm talking with someone who says a project he just signed up for will take twenty hours the following week, and I ask about the other three projects that also will take 20 hours, and at 80 hours, there's no way this guy can get all the work done and someone is going to end up pissed off unless someone gets told "no". In this case, it's my job to untangle the mess, but John doesn't have that person.

    If somebody signs up for a jacket by John just looking at the Good Wear site, they're in for a rude awakening. But if they find out about him through the forums, I don't think they will have any illusions as to what to expect. I don't think anyone here is claiming John runs a smooth, hassle free experience, just that the quality of his work might be worth the headache you'll get in the process (which, honestly, at the size of the headache, says a lot about the quality of his work).
     
    jonbuilder likes this.
  3. El Marro

    El Marro One Too Many

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    I have an Arcadia and I would absolutely recommend getting this jacket from GW. The same passion that John puts into his military jackets is incorporated into his civilian jackets as well. If anything you have more options to be creative here because he gives you a choice of liner, cuffs, zippers, etc.
     
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  4. jonbuilder

    jonbuilder One Too Many

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    I am happy these conversations are taking a civil turn
     
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  5. eptggkod

    eptggkod New in Town

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    Hi all- my name's Jeff T. - I used to be on the old VLJ forum and have been collecting A-2s etc. since the 1970s. I've been John Chapman's friend since 2000 and have seen the whole process of Good Wear leather from start to now. John and I are (I'm sure) amongst the world's top A-2 jacket nerds- bar none I assure you except maybe some weird Japanese people and M. W. from long ago. My specialty is the Rough Wear- I've actually been a consultant for John occasionally for this particular maker. Copying original maker A-2 jackets is for sure an art- really more like forgery than art if you are doing it well- and NO ONE in the world is more obsessed with doing it right than John. I can guarantee you that a Good Wear Rough Wear jacket has details caught by John that no other repro maker does or even understands. John has made Rough Wears with the exact snaps the originals used. So when a GW Rough Wear is worn the pockets an have that weird look originals have. John's epaulets are correct- Eastman and Kelso's are not. The Rough Wear collar is a devilish thing to copy- again- only one place to look for that in a new jacket- Good Wear. It goes on and on- and this just for Rough wears, John knows this stuff about many maker's jackets!

    John's problem is that he is fitting these exact copies- these forgeries- to the modern American Man for the most part. Big, broad-chested well frankly- fat people. It doesn't always work. And John won't phone in a jacket- each one is made to order as earnestly as is possible- he accepts returns and will remake jackets for people. John isn't about making money (to his detriment) so his business model is to just survive to make jackets! I have urged John for years to simply make standard WW2 fitting jackets and to incorporate even MORE of the actual foibles ( like thinner leather, sloppier stitching on some contracts, fat sleeve ends for example) that exist in the originals but he can't do that and survive.

    So I can tell you honestly that a Good Wear is not for everyone- BJ- you should probably just buy a Gibson and Barnes and call it a day. High quality, good leather and proper materials and actually looks the part on modern men.

    The point of getting a Good Wear isn't to get the best A-2 of 2019- the point of getting a Good Wear is to get the best COPY of an original A-2. If you are a typical man today it is not going to look like the jackets in all those WW2 photos- it's not going to look like Steve McQueen's redye in the Great Escape when you wear it- unless you lose 40 pounds mostly in the upper body. But you will get in a Good Wear the closest copy possible today- demonstrably closer than other repro makers. If you are going to spend the big money get the Good Wear- use a little bit of Ebaying to buy a used Eastman to tide you over and then sell that when your number comes up and that big cardboard package comes! If you don't care about an exact copy (BJ) just buy one of many high quality alternatives which look the part more or less. Complaining about GW and ot understanding why it is different tan all others just shows ignorance...
     
  6. Dr H

    Dr H One Too Many

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    Hello Jeff, good to see you posting again. I missed your insights on the VLJF.
    Cheers
    Ian
     
    Lebowski likes this.
  7. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

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    I think most people on this site are already across what you have said, but I also think some of your comments don't apply. Not here, anyway.

    Most of the Goodwear buyers and wanna buyers I've seen here are lean and for them a period fit is no problem. But some of us are much much taller than the average man was in the 1940's. This is an ongoing problem for custom fit for all jacket makers - but your advice to loose 40 pounds, can't work when applied to inches in height.

    Your notion of a typical man is not the salient issue here. And few here would be satisfied by the cut or period details of a G&B as there are much better, closer to historically correct A2's available today. But yes, G&B are a good fit if you are overweight.

    The key issue is the business model of Goodwear. A chronic lack of communication can be catastrophic and as we have seen here already, silence breeds rumours and malevolent speculations.

    I have no doubt that John's jackets are beautifully conceived and manufactured and while I am thin and have a period build, even in my 50's I don't value such an item to the extent that I would fork out that much money or wait that much time, with almost no communication. But that's another matter.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
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  8. Lebowski

    Lebowski Practically Family

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    804
    That's the best comment I've ever read over here for several years, thank you very much Sir for these your words and my respect to you!
    And - of course - my sincere respect to Mr. John Chapman, it's my favorite maker and I just love his works! Every his item to me is more than just a perfect quality piece of his work but every jacket made by JC evidently feels to have part of John's inspiration and his talent in it, it's more like a masterpiece than just a good jacket to me. I appreciate perfection in things, so JC's jackets is my choice. That's my point.
    P.S. Gentlemen, please don't get me wrong - of course I very like jackets from Eastman, BK, RMC, FW, Thedi, Himel Bros etc. All these top quality makers are very very nice too! But JC's jackets are kind of special - that's what I mean and that's what I appreciate.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
  9. Carlos840

    Carlos840 Call Me a Cab

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    It is people like you who help keep the scam going...
    There comes a point where no quality as amazing as it might be is high enough to excuse the inexistent customer service of JC. The way he treats deposits and people on the waiting list is nothing but dishonest.
    But still, some people continue to ignore all that, calling him an artist, finding all possible excuses for his actions, and keeping his reputation intact, allowing new customers to be lied to and the streams of deposits to keep coming in.
    It is wrong...
     
  10. eptggkod

    eptggkod New in Town

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    Scam? Yes I guess so if it's a scam NOT to make money! My post was not about defending GW's business practices. My point is that you will not find a better copy of a WW2 A-2. Being a slightly inept business man has NOTHING to do with the finished product or the accuracy inherent. His reputation is not built on speed of delivery- it is built on the closeness of his jackets to their WW2 models! I can tell you that John often builds new jackets for customers unsatisfied with the fit of their jacket- irritating to me because no rational company would do that for customers who supplied their own measurements.

    As far as "quality"- GW jackets are made of materials that John sources to be as close as possible to original WW2 materials. Look around today at how much GW has changed the culture of repro making- 10 years ago Eastman and Aero used hideous SMOOTH leather and were all about making "bespoke" A-2s "better" than those crappily built originals. All that has changed- from the use of "Warhorse" and beautiful Italian leather seen in todays repros- to the striving for "authenticity" from just about everybody- that is on John and Good Wear. I've often told John that if he were in Japan he would be one of those National Treasure artisans the government supports. I've told him he should try and do something with our own Smithsonian to make copies of all the -2 contracts but real life means he must make jackets to make a living.

    So Carlos- I've given you a solution to your frustration in my previous post- go and buy an Eastman or Aero (preferably used and thus less expensive) and get in the 2 year line and wait for the GW. When your GW arrives compare it for a day or two to your sad substitute and then sell the substitute on Ebay! Or buy a jacket from John's sales page- often these are really inexpensive comparatively and great jackets!

    The scam would seem to me to be passing off as exact copies jackets that look and fit little like originals and charging bank to boot!
     
  11. eptggkod

    eptggkod New in Town

    Messages:
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    BTW- Kiyote's jacket speaks for itself IMO. Look at the way the epaulets rest on the shoulders- the overall look and fit which will also stand up to intense close-up scrutiny! The combination of correct details combined with the use of actual deconstructed jackets for patterns make for that correct look. It looks so easy but it's so hard to pull off!
     
    Dr H likes this.
  12. Lebowski

    Lebowski Practically Family

    Messages:
    804
    Sounds controversial.
    Quite a lot of WWII original A-2s were made of smooth top-coated leather, aren't they?
    Not every original had grainy leather surface, esp. if talking of pre-war contracts.
    Yes, grainy leather on newest repros looks nice usually (and I like it too), but how much are those grains close to originals? Grainy leather isn't the feature of all originals, it's just a feature of any. That's not the rule at all, it's just what people like more nowadays.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
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  13. thekiyote

    thekiyote Familiar Face

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    Dishonesty implies JC is trying to deceive someone, which I don't think is the case.

    Whether or not to buy a GW is a subjective decision. The quality might be worth the headaches to some, but not others. In the end, we can only highlight both sides, the quality and the business, and help people make an informed decision for themselves.

    But we also need to remember that just because someone makes a different decision than you, it doesn't mean that they're wrong and they deserve to be attacked, which I think both sides are guilty of. In the end, these are just leather jackets, not life and death.
     
  14. Lebowski

    Lebowski Practically Family

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    804
    For such talented maker as John is it's not just a hobby but much more I suppose, he deserves to get more respect, period.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
  15. Carlos840

    Carlos840 Call Me a Cab

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    Telling someone they will receive a jacket in 12 to 18 months, knowing fully well you cannot deliver on time is dishonest.
    Answering emails from people wanting to give you 200$ deposit or wanting to buy a sales jacket whilst at the same time ignoring emails from people who have been waiting for up to 5 years is dishonest.
    Taking new orders when you are incapable of delivering orders you took 5 years ago promising less than 2 years delivery is dishonest.
    Promising someone his jacket will come next, to then proceed to ignore them for 11 months is dishonest.

    In my book JC is dishonest. You can tell yourself what you want, you can come up with whatever excuse you want, it doesn't change the facts.
     
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  16. red devil

    red devil One Too Many

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    Yet, this is exactly what we are discussing

    Is not respecting your waiting list, not communicating with the people waiting, misrepresenting said waiting times on your website slightly inept? ok....

    Why don't you save yourself some time and excessive superlatives and simply start addressing John as Saint John?
    Saint John of the holy order of the WW2 A-2.
    Here, feel free to use it

    So you are still claiming that the waiting list is only 2 years? ok...

    Considering how your overuse of superlatives and the fact you are not addressing any of the real issues put forward, without forgetting how you are trying to mislead readers with the waiting time. The conclusion that you would be a scam artist is not far fetched

    I also find it weird how people claiming to be friends of John seem to appear every time there is a discussion putting to light the problems attached to GW.

    If you really are John's friend and want to help, shouldn't you help him with his business in one way or another instead of spouting nonsense here?

    Respect is earned by respecting his customers who put in orders, that is not currently the case.
     
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  17. thekiyote

    thekiyote Familiar Face

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    I don't want to mince words too much, since I know you're attempting to describe a bad situation that absolutely is happening, but dishonesty has to have an element of intending to deceive.

    And to tie it all back to the original discussion, I'm probably going to be signing up for the waiting list again, because despite having lived through it once, I still think the jacket was worth it. Yeah, he's more than a bit incompetent when managing his business, but I am able to forgive it because at my point in life, a couple hundred bucks and a few years (or even the chance of never getting it) doesn't seem like that big of a deal anymore.

    I know that's not what people who don't think what he does is forgivable want to hear, but that's what I think.
     
  18. jonbuilder

    jonbuilder One Too Many

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    If I am correct John gave you your deposit back? dishonest?
     
  19. jonbuilder

    jonbuilder One Too Many

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    The word is out on this forum anyway the waiting list for a Goodwear jacket can be 5 years plus. Anyone here signing up on the GW waiting list thinking it is an 18-month list is being dishonest with them selfs
     
  20. Carlos840

    Carlos840 Call Me a Cab

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    Honesty isn't only about money...
     
    steve u, willyto and SimonR like this.
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