Himel "The Imperial"

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Tom71, May 8, 2020.

  1. Tom71

    Tom71 A-List Customer

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    Himel „The Imperial“



    So it has arrived. Just one week in transit from Canada to my doorstep including custom clearance. Must be a record.


    Jacket is “The Imperial” which is basically a design from John at Good Wear leather that Himel is able to share with its customers.


    Specs are as follows:

    - Dark Brown oil-tan Shinki Horsehide

    - Mitchell-Camo liner

    - 2 inside pockets (stud-closings)

    - Brass Hardware

    - Chest: 23,5”

    - Shoulder: 19”

    - Back: 25,75”

    - Sleeve: 25,5”

    Sizing is basically following the stock sizes of a “42”, with some add-ons to Sleeves and Back.


    I first came across this pattern searching for an alternative to the Freewheelers “Caboose”, which I like a lot for the looks but didn’t quite trust with the sizes.

    I am not really sure if Himel treats The Imperial as a “regular, regular” stock item, but when I asked Eli at Himels shortly after New Year’s Day if I could have one, it was no problem whatsoever. Since I just had received my “Nipsissing Rider” jacket, I was fairly sure about sizing too.


    Dealing with Himel (in my case that has always been Eli) is totally easy and extremely friendly. I increasingly find that I much enjoy dealing with people who have an obvious passion and pride in what they are doing. I find that to be the case with every single of the “leather-guys” I have yet come across and Himel is no different.


    Now to the jacket: I don’t think I am too good with words, so I will let the pictures speak for themselves (What would be the gain in trying to explain clumsily what is plain to your collective eye…?). There is also an episode of “Himel TV” dedicated to this very jacket with tons of “deep-dive” info on pattern, origin, leather etc.).

    Anyway, if there is anything you would like to know – just ask.


    There are a few observations, I would like to share with you:


    The leather feels quite a bit more substantial than the black (teacore) Nipissing Rider from Himel. Dave explain on “Himel TV”, that this is due to the oils and waxes used in the coating, so this is no great revelation, but I found it noteworthy still. I quite like the heft of the jacket, as it is.

    Smell is really intoxicating. I don’t know if there is a specific “Shinki-aroma”, but the smell is the same as the Nipissing, only much more intense. Jacket is still only in use for three days, and when I have it with me in the same room, the aroma gets quite strong after a few hours.


    The look of the hide has a deep, dull shine that looks absolutely luxurious and is hard to compare with other leathers I have seen. I am positive that every single jacket in this hide would look just great, but for The Imperial being a classic sports jacket this is the perfect color, IMHO. For your “Rude-Rider” MC jacket, I would always opt for black, but the dark-brown just adds to the overall subtle “smart-casual” appearance of The Imperial.

    I notice that the hide marks very easily. Part of the evolution, of course and nothing that normally bothers me.


    Fit: Straight out of the box, my initial feeling was, “Man, is that snug”. I could zip it up without a problem, but it felt pretty tight, especially across the midsection. By now, the jacket feels just fine, which may or may not be due to some “loosening” of the leather, or simply to the fact that I am not wearing the piece with much more than a T-Shirt or a thin sports-shirt. Most important, having worn the jacket for the third day now is that I feel good in it.

    Sleeve- and body length is spot-on, I believe. I like to wear my jackets on the shorter side, but decided that with a non-MC-Jacket I should perhaps add an inch in the body to have the belt covered. Looking at the pictures, I believe the jacket looks just right.


    What else is there? I am really useless in judging artisanship, construction and the like. I need to “feel” a jacket and have never counted stitches or examined a jacket for construction defects. Obviously, a jacket as “classy” or “sophisticated” as The Imperial needs to follow a different esthetics than a very rough, heavy Horween CXL-hide jacket, and The Imperial ticks all my boxes in that respect. I could not find a flaw in jacket in terms of what is important to me personally, but I know that we are all different here.

    Admittedly, the price that Himel charges means that the jacket is quite an investment for me. If some of you feel that with a price like this, the expectations need to be in a different ballpark, I couldn’t disagree. It´s just that wearing the jacket, I don’t have a single regret and I have the feeling that The Imperial is good value for money even if compared to a substantially cheaper maker (I do find my Aeros are “perfect” in their own right too, but I don’t see that as a contradiction).


    It’s always hard to say which jacket is or becomes your ultimate favorite. Even harder to predict, which jacket gets picked for daily use most. The Imperial certainly deserves to be in both categories.


    So what sets it apart from my other jackets? I believe, for me it’s mostly two things:

    - The design/pattern: the silhouette with a slight hour-glass shape; the feisty waistband; the elegant slant of the handwarmer pocket and the other details like cuffs, collar, armcurve that all add to the notion of refined and subtle elegance.

    - The hide: I am a Horween guy and will be. Yet, I have come across some Japanese hides that I liked very much. The brown oil-tan shinki is something else, IMO. The outer texture, that incredible yet unobtrusive shine and that marvelous graining. Compared to Horween CXL it’s like comparing a Kobe-steak to a huge Nebraska corn-fed T-bone. It’s not that one is naturally better for every occasion, it’s just that the one of them is a really, really special and rare treat. This is the one time that I am actually a bit worried about the aging process, as I like the hide so much as it is.


    Thank you for bearing with me through this lengthy text. I am not entirely convinced that this review creates value for you guys, but I somehow felt like The Imperial deserves the “extra-mile”. I am sure there is lot of info that is missing, and I can only repeat that I will happily answer any queries you may have.
     
  2. Tom71

    Tom71 A-List Customer

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    Europe
  3. Tom71

    Tom71 A-List Customer

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    Imp3.jpg Imp4.jpg Imp5.jpg
     
  4. Imuricecreamman

    Imuricecreamman Practically Family

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    Thanks for your in depth thoughts about this jacket. I wholeheartedly agree with you when it comes to the perceived "value" of an item, it just needs to feel right to be justified. The fit is perfect and exactly what I like in these types of jackets and I love the more substantial leather on this one as it's the perfect go between the thinner and "flimsier" Shinki that I have seen and full blown CXL.

    We need some closeups of the grain and shine :D

    Congrats again on this absolutely beautiful jacket.
     
    Tom71 likes this.
  5. Tom71

    Tom71 A-List Customer

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    Thank you very much! I actually have some photos that show the details of the hide much better than the above. At the Moment, I have some issues with getting pics from my phone to the PC, due to the security thing with the Apple mail app, but I will see to that as soon as I can.
     
  6. jonesy86

    jonesy86 My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Tom71 likes this.
  7. AbbaDatDeHat

    AbbaDatDeHat I'll Lock Up

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  8. Fonzie

    Fonzie One Too Many

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    Excellent review, you’re actually quite good with words contrary to what you think.
    Amazing jacket by the way, everything looks perfect, congrats.
     
  9. Robbie79

    Robbie79 One Too Many

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    1,016
    Great and interesting review (I totally understand your thoughts) and perfect fit (doesn’t look too snug IMO). The Shinki Himel use is totally different to the one Freewheelers and other makers use for some reason. I definitely prefer their oil tanned Shinki over the other teacore Shinki. Enjoy wearing your Imperial!!
     
    Tom71 likes this.
  10. Mandarin

    Mandarin One of the Regulars

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    274
    Thanks for the comprehensive review. The jacket is outstanding. It would be interesting to see how it looks like after a few weeks of wear.
     
    Tom71 likes this.
  11. Bfd70

    Bfd70 One Too Many

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    In your pictures it looks the epitome of smart casual. Fit looks nailed. Enjoy!
     
    Tom71 likes this.
  12. ton312

    ton312

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    That’s a beauty! Spot on fit. Did Dave alter the pattern? This one looks a little better to me. The shoulders look more squared off. Maybe it’s just the hide being more robust? I’d imagine this will be a popular choice for those not wanting to fall into a bottomless queue. Well done!
     
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  13. patrick_b

    patrick_b One of the Regulars

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    “I don’t think I am too good with words, ”


    You did just fine IMO. Well written and love the jacket. I always figured I’d buy a Frobisher but this one looks damn near perfect for me.

    Enjoy and thanks for sharing!
     
    Tom71 likes this.
  14. Finn Vigorous

    Finn Vigorous Familiar Face

    Messages:
    71
    Neat jacket and the fit looks spot on to me. Congrats!

    Thanks also for sharing your thoughts; as a Horween-Aero-type-of-guy myself was really interesting reading your review and comparisons.
     
    Tom71 likes this.
  15. El Marro

    El Marro Call Me a Cab

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    What a beautiful jacket Tom!
    I really like the simple front paired with the more intricate back on this one. I too am a fan of Shinki leather and I think your description was very apt, it makes it nice counterpoint to the armor-like jackets that we also cherish.
    I look forward to seeing more photos of this one as you break it in.
     
    Tom71 likes this.
  16. Tom71

    Tom71 A-List Customer

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    Thanks much, Ton!

    I am not sure About the pattern. I see what you mean re shoulders. Possible though, that it´s just the fact that the jacket is still extraordinary stiff (again in comparison to Himels teacore shinki). Together with the fact that I have 0,2 inch to spare in the shoulders it may well be, that the shoulder seam creates the squared-off appearance.
     
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  17. Tom71

    Tom71 A-List Customer

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    Thanks you all for the kind words on jacket and description. Being a non-native in englsih I feel humbled by your positive feedback!

    I am planning to do some close-ups on the Leather in different lights to try to capture the color-variations. Just need to sort out my i-phone security issue first.
     
  18. handymike

    handymike I'll Lock Up

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    That’s spot-on Tom!
    The hide is fantastic looking, there is something unique about the Shinki that Himel uses. I handled 2 Canucks that blew me away...
    Well done on the hide choice, the lustre is beautiful. Dave and crew did a great job with this jacket. There is something subtle about the half-belt in the back that makes it almost disappear- which is really cool and makes this 100 year old style feel very elegant and contemporary. Congratulations! I hope you will enjoy it for many years, I think I’ve had mine for 5 or 6 now, and It’s still my go-to. This is an excellent addition to your already impressive collection.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2020
    sweetfights and jonesy86 like this.
  19. handymike

    handymike I'll Lock Up

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    Just wondering...how many seams are done french/ flat?
    It looks like the shoulders are overlapped, is it also the case with the side panels? Also, is there a drop between the back hem and front point, how much? I’m curious about Himel’s tweaks.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2020
    willyto and Tom71 like this.
  20. Tom71

    Tom71 A-List Customer

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    325
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    Wow, you guys overwhelm me with all your positive comments. Of course, grown men (and women?) that we are, we don´t need others to tell whats good for us. But Boy: it does feel good! So again, a heartfelt thank you all!
     

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