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Japanese brands rejecting Shinki

Cyber Lip

Practically Family
Messages
670
Location
Seattle
I've read a few comments on this here and there and was wondering if anyone knows the full story...that Freewheelers, Rainbow Country etc had smaller than normal production runs the last couple years due to the lack of acceptable quality leather coming out of Shinki. Understandable due to Covid, but was wondering if anyone knows any of the concrete details about it.

Makes sense, because if you poke around the usual Japanese dealers websites, you don't see anything post 2019. That was my experience at least, as I was in the market for a Rainbow Country "Spider" Car Coat recently and saw plenty of 2019's available, but nothing later than that
 

Brandrea33

Practically Family
Messages
547
I’m not sure, but I ordered two jackets in 2021. Both were made by Freewheelers in 2021. A Mulholland and a Rmc. I know the Mulholland was for sure just made as I was told by Speedway Sendai. Not 100% sure when the RMC was made, but I presume 2021 as it was a new leather canyon red shinki.
 

Cyber Lip

Practically Family
Messages
670
Location
Seattle
I’m not sure, but I ordered two jackets in 2021. Both were made by Freewheelers in 2021. A Mulholland and a Rmc. I know the Mulholland was for sure just made as I was told by Speedway Sendai. Not 100% sure when the RMC was made, but I presume 2021 as it was a new leather canyon red shinki.

How are they? Have you handled these makers jackets from previous years, and if so how did the new ones compare?
 

Blackadder

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,186
Location
China
I've read a few comments on this here and there and was wondering if anyone knows the full story...that Freewheelers, Rainbow Country etc had smaller than normal production runs the last couple years due to the lack of acceptable quality leather coming out of Shinki. Understandable due to Covid, but was wondering if anyone knows any of the concrete details about it.

Makes sense, because if you poke around the usual Japanese dealers websites, you don't see anything post 2019. That was my experience at least, as I was in the market for a Rainbow Country "Spider" Car Coat recently and saw plenty of 2019's available, but nothing later than that
According to RC's Facebook, their fall 2020 came out in or around Sept 2020 and those are shiniki. But then RC rarely post anything there, so I am not surprised that there has been no update.
 

Brandrea33

Practically Family
Messages
547
How are they? Have you handled these makers jackets from previous years, and if so how did the new ones compare?

I'm a total noobie … I bought both and returned both due to size issues. Beautiful leather in both cases, especially the canyon red Shinki.
 

Aloysius

Practically Family
Messages
808
due to the lack of acceptable quality leather coming out of Shinki.

On this count, one of the Lofgren runs from Standard & Strange this past year came out in completely the wrong color leather (a Shinki horsehide), which they spun as "just part of craftsmanship" and didn't compensate buyers for. Obviously something went wrong (even though that doesn't make the leather bad).

I wonder how all the influencers who've deluded themselves and others into thinking Shinki is the only good tannery (even though they produce all levels of leather) are going to feel seeing jackets made from other great Japanese and foreign leathers.
 

dudewuttheheck

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3,476
As beautiful as shinki is, it is not exactly consistent. It has a high reputation and rightfully so because when it's at its best, it's incredible. However, it's not always perfect. We see the best of it from certain makers quite often and that's why it's popular. Lofgren has had to reject a LOT of Shinki for boots so thats why for a while, they rarely if ever used it.

Shinki is kind of like the Ferrari of leather. On a good day they make a masterpiece, but they do make stinkers sometimes... and as much as I love Shinki, I don't necessarily mean this in a complimentary way because I would much rather buy a Porsche than a Ferrari... not that I could buy either :D Shinki is still my favorite overall for jackets... though I'm not sure it's my favorite for boots.
 

Aloysius

Practically Family
Messages
808
I think the other problem is, people will see some of the great Shinki products, and then immediately be ready to shell out the same money for something made out of of Shinki's cheap leathers (as we've seen happen with their shell.)

A useful analogy is how Seiko makes the likes of Credor, Grand Seiko, and Spring Drive, as well as lines like Seiko 5. I think the Seiko 5 is in its own way just as good of a watch (I often wear mine over the former), but it's obviously doing something different, and it would have been ridiculous if I dropped Grand Seiko money on an SKX.

Likewise, Shinki shell is good at what it's made for (a cheap, smooth, weatherproof leather for children's bags and other such uses), but the way brands have stolen the glory of the top Shinki jacket leathers to make boots out of the cheap shell is very unfortunate. And that people pay as much for it as the same boot made out of, say, Badalassi, is absurd.
 

dudewuttheheck

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3,476
I highly disagree eith thay assessment based on owning Horween, Shinki, and Ogawa (which is modified shinki) shells, but I'm not going to get into that further. I just had to put the counterpoint in.
 

Aloysius

Practically Family
Messages
808
It was dirt cheap and rejected by all but budget Spanish shoemakers for years. I remember a number of us 'discovering' it in the late 2000s and being severely underwhelmed.

That said, no need to digress on that here. It remains fact that Shinki makes a wide variety of leathers, as do most tanneries. Nothing wrong with that.
 
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Finn Vigorous

One of the Regulars
Messages
153
Edit. Oh, Aloysius beat me to it; exactly my thoughts.

Shinki shell has been long considered as the cheapest option in shoe-making, and used only by lower-range makers, such as Meermin. The quality, in terms of thickness, consistency and color, has been nowhere near Horween shell or the ones offered by European tanneries, such as Comipel.

Either Shinki shell has been improved remarkably or the current trend is just part of the Shinki/Japanese-maker-buzz, don't know. That said, and as we all know, the tannery does really well in jackets-leathers.
 
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Edward

Bartender
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23,025
Location
London, UK
It could also be quantitative as much as qualitative. Is Shinki a big enough tannery to supply an endless number of brands with enough hides? Smaller-scale companies and bespoke makers may be happy to make jackets with small batches of hides, but I'd have thought anyone looking to do a bigger production line would want to be certain of consistency of supply.

I've got no skin in the Shinki game, though. I've handled some and it was nice enough, though there are other leathers I personally prefer.
 

Blackadder

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,186
Location
China
I think the other problem is, people will see some of the great Shinki products, and then immediately be ready to shell out the same money for something made out of of Shinki's cheap leathers (as we've seen happen with their shell.)

A useful analogy is how Seiko makes the likes of Credor, Grand Seiko, and Spring Drive, as well as lines like Seiko 5. I think the Seiko 5 is in its own way just as good of a watch (I often wear mine over the former), but it's obviously doing something different, and it would have been ridiculous if I dropped Grand Seiko money on an SKX.

Likewise, Shinki shell is good at what it's made for (a cheap, smooth, weatherproof leather for children's bags and other such uses), but the way brands have stolen the glory of the top Shinki jacket leathers to make boots out of the cheap shell is very unfortunate. And that people pay as much for it as the same boot made out of, say, Badalassi, is absurd.
AFAIK, Shiniki shell is not even that weatherproofed. A couple of fds of mine are leathersmiths, one of them is a leather dealer and their advice is try your best to keep Shiniki shell from getting soaked. A little bit of moist or water drop is fine.
 

John Lever

One Too Many
Messages
1,671
Location
Southern England
No it sure if FW used Shinki on my Tatanka Brown 37J1, but the colour was no where near as good as previous TB colours, so much so I sold it. It was just too red and unattractive. It was also too thick.
 
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Finn Vigorous

One of the Regulars
Messages
153
It could also be quantitative as much as qualitative. Is Shinki a big enough tannery to supply an endless number of brands with enough hides? Smaller-scale companies and bespoke makers may be happy to make jackets with small batches of hides, but I'd have thought anyone looking to do a bigger production line would want to be certain of consistency of supply.

Quantity surely plays important role in this as well as Shinki is still on the small side as a tannery. So the demand may well exceed the supply big time forcing many makers to look elsewhere.

If I remember correctly, Ken once reflected using Shinki in (some) Aero jackets, but the tannery was not able to produce enough hides for Aero's quantities so it was a no-go.

Does anyone know, how is it with Flathead? They have been the first to select from Shinki's supply for some years.
 

Marc mndt

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,606
Does anyone know, how is it with Flathead? They have been the first to select from Shinki's supply for some years.
Couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to handle this one. The color was flat and it looked and felt extremely plasticky. I've handled a dozen or so Shinki hh jackets, this example was the least desirable.

8DC918F0-B258-4A24-836D-0B8F4866B218.jpeg


To put things in perspective, this schott's hh is 10x nicer. Better construction quality too.

14555504-BDFA-42E5-BAA4-1486EA578519.jpeg
 

Finn Vigorous

One of the Regulars
Messages
153
Thanks, that Shinki doesn't look appealing to me either, and it's clearly different to the ones I have and have handled. There's surely something going on with the tannery at the moment.

Whatever the truth, I'm more than happy to have a decade old FW Brakeman in decent rude black Shinki.
 
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