Himel Brothers Leather

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by HorseHide, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. HorseHide

    HorseHide One of the Regulars

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    Location:
    Miami
    I finally made my way to Self Edge in SF (which carries a dizzying array of denim - what a store!) to see the Himel Brothers products. They had both the Heron (a brown button front) and the Kensington (a black cafe racer). Both jackets are made with Japanese tanned horsehide and the design, fit and finish of the jackets is exquisite - top shelf stuff. But I walked out without either jacket (and without any regrets).

    The Kensington is a nice garment - the stitching and liner really pop. But I paid just north of $1000 for my Goodwear Californian Racer and the Kensington is $1950. I'm not certain I would choose the Kensington over the Californian Racer if they were identically priced but with the meaningful difference in price (which I understand is smaller following the price increases at Goodwear) there is no question which jacket I would choose.

    The Heron is a little different because you are also getting a somewhat unique style (which at first blush looks quite like the Levi's LVC Menlo) and that style is great IMO. The Heron is so loaded with fine details you can tell it was a labor love for DH. Great garment, just not something that I feel compelled to purchase at that price point.
     
  2. Ishmael

    Ishmael Practically Family

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    Tokyo, Japan
    Thanks for the review. Jealous of your SE visit! And the chance to see the Himel Bros works in person. Lucky dog!

    ....but........There are already a couple Himel Bros threads, and while I don't want to come off as rude (but I will, and I sincerely apologize in advance for that), I'm wondering if we need another thread dedicated to the intoxicating topic of "price point"?

    (and, please note, my comments are not directed at HorseHide, so much as the whole, long and winding "price point" debate of recent weeks).

    My feelings on the matter:
    If I were that rational economic animal known as Homo economicus, I'd just pick something up from Walmart.
    If I were pinching pennies, I'd pick up something from Goodwill, not Goodwear.
    But, if I wanted a fabulous leather jacket to last me a lifetime, I'd get whatever floated my boat.

    Again, I appreciate your post, but this whole "price point" thing drives me nuts. It reeks of grafting a tortured rationality onto what really isn't all that rational to begin with.
    Perfect recipe for a killjoy.
     
  3. ButteMT61

    ButteMT61

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    Actually, I appreciate horsehide's opinions on this. A jacket some have fawned over without even seeing and at 2x the (old) price of a maker like Good Wear, I think it's a good post.
    Of course every person here has a different price point vs value in their minds. But I like to hear what people with experience think about such things. It was the first thing I thought of after I posted the pics of the GW Ventura. Indeed in my mind there is a bell curve for value/price. Whether yours is the same or not, I like hearing from long timers here and value their 2¢.
     
  4. ForestForTheTrees

    ForestForTheTrees One of the Regulars

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    If everyone here shared the exact same opinions, this place would not be nearly as interesting. I personally don't find HB's designs to be all that attractive, regardless of the price. I still like to read what others think about their products.
     
  5. Ishmael

    Ishmael Practically Family

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    546
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    I knew I would come off as an a**hole. Sorry. My apologies. Especially to HorseHide.

    Of course, I too appreciate everyone's opinions, including HorseHide's analysis of HB. Especially since you were all very helpful in steering me towards a jacket I really love.

    But....Am I the only one who feels depressed by the logic of turning everything into prices? Of course there is a value / price bell curve running through our heads, that's how we're trained to think by a crazy bottom line world, about everything!

    And, if we are to turn jackets (and so on and so on) into mere prices, wouldn't you hope for a more radical accounting? Including such things as Self Edge as a Brick and Mortar business providing work and a place for community gathering, DH as a new and exciting maker, a vintage guru, and a contributor to a more solid social safety net through higher Canadian taxes and so forth. And on and on.
     
  6. ForestForTheTrees

    ForestForTheTrees One of the Regulars

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    Honestly Ishmael, if I make a purchase that I feel good about, I don't worry too much about what others think or have to say about it. Forums such as this one are chock full of information (and opinions), but when it comes time for me to make a purchasing decision, what I choose to do with that information is totally up to me. By that point, the only opinion that matters to me is my own. Likewise, I'm assuming that someone who decides to buy a HB jacket, does so with confidence, after doing their own research. (And hopefully does so regardless of anyone else's opinion.)
     
  7. ForestForTheTrees

    ForestForTheTrees One of the Regulars

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    Just for the record, I didn't think that you came off as an a**hole at all. Just from a different perspective is all.
     
  8. jimmer_5

    jimmer_5 Practically Family

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    589
    Location:
    Oregon
    I didn't think you came off as an a-hole either. I agree that the decision to buy a high-end leather jacket isn't rational. I think that most of us would agree that there is a point of diminishing returns as far as price is concerned. The problem is that we don't all agree what that price happens to be. For me, it's around $700. I just can't rationalize spending more than that on a leather jacket, no matter how perfect it is.

    It also has to do with comfort level - once something is worth a certain amount of money, I get worried that it will be stolen or that I'll wreck it somehow. Some people can buy an expensive jacket or pair of boots and beat it to hell. For me it represents a significant enough investment, that I am way to nice to it. IE, I often get more enjoyment out of a lower priced item because I am less concerned about it's welfare.
     
  9. Qinhan

    Qinhan Familiar Face

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    Australia
  10. pipvh

    pipvh Practically Family

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    644
    Location:
    England
    For what it's worth, I think Himel Brothers has taken a chance and gone for a level of quality and concept - particularly the Heron - which doesn't seem to happen that much outside Japan. I would love a Heron. I can't possibly afford one. That isn't David Himel's fault, it's mine. We're not talking about an essential commodity here and, especially in the prevailing financial climate (the reason I haven't posted on here for a year or more - the only vintage thing I can afford these days is vintage cheddar cheese) you don't have to be charging Himel Bros' prices to be, in real terms, astronomically expensive. I would love to own a Heron but I get an equal amount of pleasure from knowing that someone like David Himel can create things like that against considerable odds.
     
  11. HorseHide

    HorseHide One of the Regulars

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    Location:
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    Let me start by responding to Ishmael by saying that I don't feel you've come across as an @#&&hole. Not at all. Second, let me apologize if I posted in the wrong section.

    I would hope that the take away from my post is, first and foremost, to commend David Himel on a job well done (not that he's waiting for an "atta boy" from some anonymous poster). He has succeeded in designing a jacket, sourcing materials and following through with quality production. Outstanding job. On a related note, I think Self Edge is an outstanding retailer (admittedly I'm a little "old fashioned" when it comes to my jeans - I'm not soaking jeans in a bath tub full of ice water, they get washed in the washing machine) and I fully agree that companies like this need to be supported whenever possible.

    Where I believe that Ishmael and I differ is on the question of "price" versus "value". I am fortunate that "price" doesn't need to drive my decisions. But "value" does and I don't see how it can be excluded from any analysis. Yes, "value" is subjective but it is still relevant. When you read a car review, you understand the reviewer to be appraising the merits of a car relative to other cars with similar features at similar price points. The relative nature of the analysis determines whether or not a specific car represents a good or bad value.

    And while I am not a professional leather coat reviewer (my wife has another "opinion" on this topic), I have owned enough coats along a spectrum of different price points to arrive at what I believe to be a decent understanding of the "market", of what represents a good "value". Like Ishmael when he was considering his Rainbow Country purchase, I do my research and while I am interested in the opinions of others, ultimately I make my own assessments. I would hope that I am, to quote the late, great Sy Syms, an "educated consumer". And as such, I walked into Self Edge ready, willing and able to buy a $2000 jacket (the Heron, not the Kensington). That I walked out without one (especially since I think they are great products) is due solely to my concept of "value".

    Did price factor into my decision? Of course. I was far more critical than I would have been had the price been $800. Does the fact that I own jackets from Aero, Goodwear, Schott, etc. make me more "thoughtful", less likely to make an impulse purchase? I would hope so (again my wife has another "opinion" on this topic).

    Most importantly, I did not mean to suggest or imply that I believe anyone who purchases a Himel Brothers product is uninformed. They are magnificent jackets and I believe that they match up favorably against other high-end jackets I have seen in the marketplace (for example, the Buco replicas made by Real McCoy - another jacket I passed on based on my sense of value). Unfortunately we may be witnessing a re-calibration of pricing in the high-end jacket market - John Chapman's recently announced price increases suggests that he believes his products were priced "under market" (and thus represented a good value to consumers). We (I?) may come to look back on the good old days of 2013 when a Himel Brothers jacket was only $1950.
     
  12. ButteMT61

    ButteMT61

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    Well said. HH. Ishmael, I did not think you were an *ss either, fwiw. But when I was new, the first think I wanted to know was "are those expensive custom jackets worth the price?"
    Value vs price is indeed important. Do I think a Himel is worth almost 2x a GW? 3x an Aero? No, and I don't have to see it to know that.
    Would I buy one (if they made my size)? Maybe so. I can appreciate something that's more (too) expensive even if I don't think it's "worth" the extra cost. Personally, I like some of the designs these guys are putting out, but it looks like a movie set to me. Faux aging of buildings, and the oh so perfect recreation of clothing, bikes, and other gear. It's a little too pretentious to me - not knocking the gear itself, just the presentation. I know I'll get smacked for that comment, but that's ok. I appreciate the gear and work they do, just a little much for this old codger :) it's likely their presentation helps sell a lot of gear. Good on them.
     
  13. Fanch

    Fanch I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,490
    Location:
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    I though that HH gave a magnificent presentation, not only about David Himel products, but also regarding what our perceived value might be for any product. Most of the clothing items that I buy these days has nothing whatsoever to do with need but rather with want. However, when I consider buying something that I want, I tend to spend an inordinate amount of time researching the item to try to insure that it will meet expectations (value). So, I think that the notion of perceived "value" brought forth by HH is a critical part of the decision making process that determines whether or not one might proceed with an online order or walk out of a Self Edge store in LA or SF with a Heron. I suppose that most of us feel that we are held accountable as to how we spend our resources, regardless of whether or not we can afford it.
     
  14. Sloan1874

    Sloan1874 I'll Lock Up

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    I certainly couldn't see myself impulse buying a Himel. :D
     
  15. ButteMT61

    ButteMT61

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    10,214
    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    I used to impulse buy watches. Wife did not like that too much as they were about 1.5 Himel's each :lol:
     
  16. majormajor

    majormajor One Too Many

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    1,713
    Location:
    UK
    For a thread that went off topic after just 4 posts (i.e. Is Ish an ***hole?)(NO), it is good to see it back on track...:D

    With ref to recent other threads, John Chapman's level of dedication to accuracy gives him a reason to be able to charge top dollar.

    For me (and it is just a personal view) I can see NO similar extenuating circumstances for Himel. Their prices seem stupidly expensive.

    If you want one, that's cool. Fair play to you. But not for me;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2013
  17. Qinhan

    Qinhan Familiar Face

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Australia
    Several posters have made considered and very reasonable comments above. On the issue of price, perhaps it is worth pointing out that, following the recent GW price rise, Himel Bros. jackets are now in the same price bracket as GW. The $1950 price tag for his jackets in Self Edge are, I believe, for the Self Edge models alone. He has Kensington and Heron models listed for sale on his website for $1550 and $1650 respectively. This is pretty much what you will pay for a GW if you decide to join the waiting list now.

    And, perhaps like others here, I wish I were in a position to impulse purchase a Himel. :)
     
  18. Heiko

    Heiko Familiar Face

    Messages:
    95
    Location:
    UK
    Any honest critique would weigh the quality of each product side by side...not make a crude priced based criticism.

    You can see no reason for Himel to be expensive--but why is that, what have you considered and what is your criteria? And why do you and Sloan seem to suspend criticism for Aero, which now cannot even provide sheepskins.
     
  19. I
    I believe the prices you see listed on the Himmel Bros web site are for a few jackets that are already made...I suspect "test jackets" or returns, similar to what ELC, Good Wear and Aero offer on their "for sale" pages.
    Not as familiar with ELC and Aero's "for sale" prices, but the last GW I saw up for sale on the GW "Sale" page sold for around $900 a couple of weeks ago.

    If you click on the Himmel web page "order" tab, no prices are listed, and if you click on a specific model, it says to "call for price".
    Last I heard from a forum member who has a Heron on order, they run around $1900.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2013
  20. Sloan1874

    Sloan1874 I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    8,364
    Location:
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    MM makes an interesting point. At the top end of the market, in terms of quality, it surely becomes a question of degree in terms of hide, build and design? Could you stick a GW next to an ELC and say "not only is the GW better, it's several hundred quid better"?
     

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