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Himel the best?

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greenc

Familiar Face
Messages
79
Hi everyone,

Be it morning or evening where you live I hope you have a terrific weekend planned - the sun is shining without a cloud in the sky here in Toronto, it's absolutely glorious today. Wishing you all the same.

I'm looking for the forum's collective thoughts on quality and what builds the fervour around certain manufacturers and products.

As an example, I'm just down the street from Himel Bros, and while I've never experienced their jackets firsthand, I've heard lots of talk that Dave and his guys make the best jackets in the world. I've also heard a lot of talk that he uses cotton thread, and that the mystique around him is a bit hyped.

Again, I can't say one way or the other and I'm not championing or denigrating Dave or the jackets in any way, but I'm always dubious of too much attention being paid to a particular thing - it always makes me feel like the adage, "nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd," is in play.

And this would apply to any manufacturer or even product.

Same holds true for Japanese manufacturers - there's lots of discussion on the forum for and against. But who's to really say, and how do we measure? What's the qualitative means by which we gauge what manufacturer is "the best?" I would argue that even more important than the quality of the hide, the drape of a garment - in this case a jacket - is the most important qualifier.

To that end, I think that Thedi could be looked at as one of the top manufacturers because of his understanding of how the jacket is ideally supposed to fit, but even that's subjective because every body type is different and people like to wear things in a way that suits them, regardless of whether or not it's how the manufacturer imagined the fit on an inanimate dress-form.

So when we talk about a manufacturer being top tier - which is again subjective - what are we looking at? Is the hype around a certain manufacturer, (or in the case of RMC, Rainbow Country, Freewheelers a whole class of Japanese manufacturers) a case of the emperor's new clothes in that people are just repeating things they've heard without stopping to really looking into what the fuss is all about?

Is Shinki really that much better than Italian or South American horsehide? And if it is, why? And how many people have done the research to actually understand the process and offer an objective measure of worth? So many people read, "Shinki" and immediately tout that as a selling point, but is it justified?

Conversely, a Japanese brand like Y'2 gets little love on the forum, and yet in my opinion they make a great product - I think the hides they use are quite nice, the stitching is neat, the patterns are cool, and they create a variety of pieces. Iron Heart and Addict are brands that I've read about but have no experience with, but are they considered with the same respect that Rainbow Country gets? Vanson and Schott make great products but they can't achieve the prices that other manufacturers charge - is that fair?

How can Himel charge $2,650 USD for a D-pocket or a Cafe Racer, while Vanson, Langlitz, and even Lewis Leathers are almost $1,000 USD less for a similar jacket. I don't believe Lewis makes a D-pocket but is the quality of Himel's hides and craftsmanship worth exponentially more, and Vanson's quality worth exponentially less?

Are we all in essence market-makers because we buy into the hype and hence buy the products?

Again, no disrespect to Himel or anyone who owns and enjoys his jackets, I'm genuinely just curious how some manufacturers rise to the top of the economic food chain while others producing arguably similar - or in some cases superior products - languish at a price point below and are unable to step into the next tier.

Looking for your thoughts, thank you all. Enjoy the weekend.

CG
 
Messages
11,019
Location
SoCal
Since you are close by, I think you should go for a visit. I believe that meeting Dave in person and feeling the jackets on your body will answer the question for you. The internet is full of hype- both good and bad.

My “lifetime” jacket was made by John Chapman (Goodwear), and I consider him one of the best. My Thedi was a beautiful jacket as well. Meeting Theodoros is on my bucket list.
 
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greenc

Familiar Face
Messages
79
Since you are close by, I think you should go for a visit. I believe that meeting Dave in person and feeling the jackets on your body will answer the question for you. The internet is full of hype- both good and bad.

My “lifetime” jacket was made by John Chapman (Goodwear), and I consider him one of the best. My Thedi was a beautiful jacket as well. Meeting Theodoros is on my bucket list.
For sure I need to take a visit to Himel Bros, my larger question is around how a manufacturer rises to the highest pricing-levels. What drives that and why?
 

Davidchee5

New in Town
Messages
47
I think what you said is true, that it’s all subjective. Vegetable tanned shinki tea core has pros and cons. For instance, at least in my experience, it can be pretty stiff, which some may not like. On the other hand, since it is at first stiff, you can have the pleasure of watching it form to your body. Also, some people love tea core and some people hate it. I’m certainly not a fan of the super fast aging craze, but aside from that, I’ve seen some beautifully well developed shinki tea core. As far as the custom brands go, they’re going to generally be more because they’re custom. Aside from that, is Himel really worth paying an extra 1000 dollars or so over field leathers- I have no idea, but it definitely gives me reason to pause. Generally, I think people tend to develop natural bias towards brands that they have had positive experiences with. But I think it all comes down to understanding what you want and the differences between makers that may offer what your looking for.
 
Messages
16,538
Objectively speaking, RMC makes a much, much better leather jacket than Himel - Most Japanese makers do - but neither RMC nor anyone else makes the same jacket Himel does. If you like his jackets, you're going to pay what he's asking. That's the whole point.

Is Shinki really that much better than Italian or South American horsehide? And if it is, why? And how many people have done the research to actually understand the process and offer an objective measure of worth? So many people read, "Shinki" and immediately tout that as a selling point, but is it justified?

Shinki is just the name of the tannery. It's not an indication of a specific kind of quality per se and to answer your question, no, it is not better nor worse than any premium leather you can buy elsewhere.

It's just leather. It doesn't have any magical properties that make it better. You may like the way it looks more or less but that's about it.
 

cbez

One Too Many
Messages
1,250
Location
CA
really lots of talk about cotton thread?

himel charges what he can because there's demand for it and he's gone for more of a niche small artisan developing and making special patterns, compared to vanson/lewis etc which, while not huge companies, are more about mass production and benefit more from economies of scale. same reason a coffee mug from your local farmers market is $40 and you can buy a mass produced one for $4. Is the coffee gonna taste better? is the clay higher quality??

I've only had one himel jacket which I got used at a substantial discount. quality was good and the shinki leather was excellent. I found myself reaching for it often out of my closet of many excellent jackets. I would not buy retail from him because it's far outside my budget, nor would I try to do a custom order after some of the stories folks have shared. however I would not hesitate to buy a used jacket again or one I could try on/see the measurements of.
 

Boyo

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,223
Location
Long Island NY
Your questions are all answered in the hundreds of leather jacket threads in the outwear section... pour yourself a coffee or a cold beverage and start reading.

to continue points made above .. you don't need a Ferrari to drive to the grocery store.. any car will do but it sure would be nice..

Dave make $2600 jackets, you either want one or you don't
 

cbez

One Too Many
Messages
1,250
Location
CA
Objectively speaking, RMC makes a much, much better leather jacket than Himel - Most Japanese makers do
I agree with your overall point but disagree here. RMC definitely makes a more consistent product. However when Himel gets it right, and the jacket fits, I don't think you could find much at all to point to and say RMC 'much much better'.
 

Tom71

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,546
Location
Europe
Your questions are all answered in the hundreds of leather jacket threads in the outwear section... pour yourself a coffee or a cold beverage and start reading.

to continue points made above .. you don't need a Ferrari to drive to the grocery store.. any car will do but it sure would be nice..

Dave make $2600 jackets, you either want one or you don't

I agree. Unless this thread is intended to be clickbait, I see little gain in going down this road again.
And I am sure the moderators can think of better weekend activities than having to monitor yet another Himel-thread for closure.

I don’t mean that as a criticism towards the OP and the perfectly justified points raised. It’s just - we’ve been there many times before and rarely with a good outcome.
 

greenc

Familiar Face
Messages
79
I think what you said is true, that it’s all subjective. Vegetable tanned shinki tea core has pros and cons. For instance, at least in my experience, it can be pretty stiff, which some may not like. On the other hand, since it is at first stiff, you can have the pleasure of watching it form to your body. Also, some people love tea core and some people hate it. I’m certainly not a fan of the super fast aging craze, but aside from that, I’ve seen some beautifully well developed shinki tea core. As far as the custom brands go, they’re going to generally be more because they’re custom. Aside from that, is Himel really worth paying an extra 1000 dollars or so over field leathers- I have no idea, but it definitely gives me reason to pause. Generally, I think people tend to develop natural bias towards brands that they have had positive experiences with. But I think it all comes down to understanding what you want and the differences between makers that may offer what your looking for.
I agree that people tend to fall along the lines of where they've had the best experience(s). That said, what I'm really after is understanding how a manufacturer grows into that pricing category.

I've no doubt there are lots of jacket makers out there creating beautiful ready-to-wear pieces will never be able to charge anywhere close to $2,650 USD, however their hide and build quality are of great quality.

I think what I'm ultimately interested in is not Himel specifically but rather the conversations surrounding "the best," as decided by both individuals and groups alike.
 

bigmanbigtruck

One of the Regulars
Messages
202
Your questions are all answered in the hundreds of leather jacket threads in the outwear section... pour yourself a coffee or a cold beverage and start reading.

to continue points made above .. you don't need a Ferrari to drive to the grocery store.. any car will do but it sure would be nice..

Dave make $2600 jackets, you either want one or you don't
^ pretty much this... there's enough experiences around here to reach a conclusion of what you get from his shop.

Maybe if you say "Himel" 3X, you might conjure up a whiskey-laden, maplewood-smoked wall of text from the man himself.
 
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greenc

Familiar Face
Messages
79
really lots of talk about cotton thread?

himel charges what he can because there's demand for it and he's gone for more of a niche small artisan developing and making special patterns, compared to vanson/lewis etc which, while not huge companies, are more about mass production and benefit more from economies of scale. same reason a coffee mug from your local farmers market is $40 and you can buy a mass produced one for $4. Is the coffee gonna taste better? is the clay higher quality??

I've only had one himel jacket which I got used at a substantial discount. quality was good and the shinki leather was excellent. I found myself reaching for it often out of my closet of many excellent jackets. I would not buy retail from him because it's far outside my budget, nor would I try to do a custom order after some of the stories folks have shared. however I would not hesitate to buy a used jacket again or one I could try on/see the measurements of.
Cotton thread, yes, I've read discussions about Dave's choice of cotton over nylon, the difficulty of communication with ordering, fit issues, etc.

And to clarify, this isn't a thread to bash Himel, or the process, or the jackets, or the hides, again, I have respect for the man's craftsmanship and his products.

Rather - Himel aside - I'm curious to know how we personally and collectively define "the best", or place manufacturers in tiers. Would we consider a $1,200 jacket from Aero and a $1,200 Lewis Leathers in the same category?
 

greenc

Familiar Face
Messages
79
^ pretty much this... there's enough experiences here around here to reach a conclusion of what you get from his shop.

Maybe if you say "Himel" 3X, you might conjure up a whiskey-laden, maplewood-smoked wall of text from the man himself.
And that's why I've asked the question to the forum - I didn't mean for this to be all about Himel. I believe he makes beautiful, quality products.

My question is really about our discussions around the quality - perceived and otherwise - of various manufacturers. One person has a great experience with RMC and touts their quality, another person the opposite and advises people against the brand. Rainbow Country are at the top of the heap for some and yet not a sideways glance from those same people at a brand like Y'2.

Why is that? Without direct experience with a brand or its products are we capable of judging quality?
 

greenc

Familiar Face
Messages
79
I agree. Unless this thread is intended to be clickbait, I see little gain in going down this road again.
And I am sure the moderators can think of better weekend activities than having to monitor yet another Himel-thread for closure.

I don’t mean that as a criticism towards the OP and the perfectly justified points raised. It’s just - we’ve been there many times before and rarely with a good outcome.
The point has been missed. I use Himel as an example - this is in no way intended to be a thread about Dave, his jackets, the hides, etc.

And it's not clickbait, I'm interested in understanding the perceived value around various brands, and how some brands can charge what they charge, while others aren't able to reach those levels.

Himel is a point of reference given his prices - are people buying into the actual product line or the hype around it?

Same holds true for any manufacturer, again this is not intended to be about Himel.
 

AeroFan_07

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,446
Location
Iowa
This sort of question has been asked many, many, many times prior.

While I appreciate the spirit of what all you have been asking with these sorts of questions, perhaps the better approach is to run a thorough search on the topic, and study what has already been discussed. It is quite rare that I start a new thread on anything, unless it is about a specific jacket that I have and am reviewing in-depth.

Also "Blanket statement" topics like who is the best, etc are really not what this forum is all about. There are plenty of other places in the Internet to have that sort of discussion, many or even most of which are meaningless. We are here to discuss what we're enthusiastic about, learn from each other, and even challenge each other to try new (and often very old) ideals, materials, products and styles out.
 
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bigmanbigtruck

One of the Regulars
Messages
202
I didn't mean for this to be all about Himel.
The title of the post being "Himel the best?" led me to believe otherwise.

I recommend checking out this thread which has lot of good discussion around this kind of topic:
 

58panheadfan

One Too Many
Messages
1,560
Location
Switzerland
Your questions are all answered in the hundreds of leather jacket threads in the outwear section... pour yourself a coffee or a cold beverage and start reading.

to continue points made above .. you don't need a Ferrari to drive to the grocery store.. any car will do but it sure would be nice..

Dave make $2600 jackets, you either want one or you don't
I agree. Unless this thread is intended to be clickbait, I see little gain in going down this road again.
And I am sure the moderators can think of better weekend activities than having to monitor yet another Himel-thread for closure.

I don’t mean that as a criticism towards the OP and the perfectly justified points raised. It’s just - we’ve been there many times before and rarely with a good outcome.
This sort of question has been asked many, many, many times prior.

While I appreciate the spirit of what all you have been asking with these sorts of questions, perhaps the better approach is to run a thorough search on the topic, and study what has already been discussed. It is quite rare that I start a new thread on anything, unless it is about a specific jacket that I have and am reviewing in-depth.

Also "Blanket statement" topics like who is the best, etc are really not what this forum is all about. There are plenty of other places in the Internet to have that sort of discussion, many or even most of which are meaningless. We are here to discuss what we're enthiuasitc about, learn from each other, and even challenge each other to try new (and often very old) ideals, materials, products and styles out.
All the "previous speakers" have summed it up, this thread is completely superfluous. OP should read the posts in the forums and all his questions will be answered. I don't mean to be disparaging in any way, but the question of "best" has been discussed x-times in this forum and it's really a waste of time to revisit this topic.
 
Messages
17,268
Location
Chicago
Oh man this could indeed end in a paragrapgh spanning 8 pages...
Silence GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY
 

Peacoat

*
Bartender
Messages
6,352
Location
South of Nashville
I agree. Unless this thread is intended to be clickbait, I see little gain in going down this road again.
And I am sure the moderators can think of better weekend activities than having to monitor yet another Himel-thread for closure.

I don’t mean that as a criticism towards the OP and the perfectly justified points raised. It’s just - we’ve been there many times before and rarely with a good outcome.
When I see these pop up, I think, "Oh no, not another Himel thread." I ought to close it now and save myself a lot of time having to monitor it.

@greenc please use the search function to answer your questions. If you don't post anymore in this thread, it may die of its own accord, and I won't have to monitor it. We aren't down on you, but we have been down these roads so many times, it's like deja vu all over again.
 

58panheadfan

One Too Many
Messages
1,560
Location
Switzerland
When I see these pop up, I think, "Oh no, not another Himel thread." I ought to close it now and save myself a lot of time having to monitor it.

@greenc please use the search function to answer your questions. If you don't post anymore in this thread, it may die of its own accord, and I won't have to monitor it. We aren't down on you, but we have been down these roads so many times, it's like deja vu all over again.
Thank you! ;)
 
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