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Lesser Known Japanese Jacket Brands

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Seems like all the brands discussed in this thread are relatively well known. Certainly around here. The real lesser known outerwear brand “from Japan” is Sudco. I’ve seen dozens of these vinyl jackets over the years. Obviously not of interest (I wouldn’t think) to people interested in the current lineup of Japanese makers but it is interesting.

Sudco, which still operates today, is a massive importer that deals in reproduction and OEM parts for vintage Japanese made motorcycles. Their catalog is fairly intimidating. You can order just about any part you can imagine for just about every model of Japanese made motorcycle from the late 60’s to the present. At some point the catalogs also included jackets like these:

A0B1C84D-A2B3-4BFA-934C-1D7A49CE1FC8.jpeg

4175E717-DF95-4833-B2CD-7E01814C652C.jpeg


I can’t recall any Japanese brands or imports prior to the early 2000’s? I personally lost interest in most Japanese stuff after brands like The Few and RMC NZ ceased to exist. Those two felt like the high water mark for me. I do like Rainbow Country and most of their styles. Electric leather studio is cool. I can’t keep track of whether or not the current Japanese offerings are actually just one huge conglomerate or not.
 

Jasonissm

One of the Regulars
Messages
106
Seems like all the brands discussed in this thread are relatively well known. Certainly around here. The real lesser known outerwear brand “from Japan” is Sudco. I’ve seen dozens of these vinyl jackets over the years. Obviously not of interest (I wouldn’t think) to people interested in the current lineup of Japanese makers but it is interesting.

Sudco, which still operates today, is a massive importer that deals in reproduction and OEM parts for vintage Japanese made motorcycles. Their catalog is fairly intimidating. You can order just about any part you can imagine for just about every model of Japanese made motorcycle from the late 60’s to the present. At some point the catalogs also included jackets like these:

View attachment 469920
View attachment 469921

I can’t recall any Japanese brands or imports prior to the early 2000’s? I personally lost interest in most Japanese stuff after brands like The Few and RMC NZ ceased to exist. Those two felt like the high water mark for me. I do like Rainbow Country and most of their styles. Electric leather studio is cool. I can’t keep track of whether or not the current Japanese offerings are actually just one huge conglomerate or not.
Toyo Enterprise is the main huge conglomerate, but I think a lot of the smaller brands (if they're separate, their headquarters all seem quite dispersed around Japan and most primarily focus just on amekaji clothing in general) just OEM out their leather jackets to factories like Y2, Four Speed, Electric Leather Studio or Rainbow Country. The main difference lies in the patterns and how well they grade them in my opinion.
 
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Toyo Enterprise is the main huge conglomerate, but I think a lot of the smaller brands (if they're separate, their headquarters all seem quite dispersed around Japan and most primarily focus just on amekaji clothing in general) just OEM out their leather jackets to factories like Y2, Four Speed, Electric Leather Studio or Rainbow Country. The main difference lies in the patterns and how well they grade them in my opinion.
Yes I recall the Few jackets having what I would consider to be the most “vintage correct” patterns. Broad shoulders and chest, sharply tapered waist and sleeves that were not linguine thin. The older RMC had that same general aesthetic and pattern feel.
To my eye, most of the stuff I see from the current Japanese patterns looks too modern, too narrow and surprisingly too long. There are certainly exceptions but that’s the impression I get overall. There’s clearly a market for that though.
 

Blackadder

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Yes I recall the Few jackets having what I would consider to be the most “vintage correct” patterns. Broad shoulders and chest, sharply tapered waist and sleeves that were not linguine thin. The older RMC had that same general aesthetic and pattern feel.
To my eye, most of the stuff I see from the current Japanese patterns looks too modern, too narrow and surprisingly too long. There are certainly exceptions but that’s the impression I get overall. There’s clearly a market for that though.
The longer jacket length is perfect for the low rise jeans crowd. There are countless instances when fellow loungers advise new Aero etc owners to wear higher rise pants/jeans.
 
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The longer jacket length is perfect for the low rise jeans crowd. There are countless instances when fellow loungers advise new Aero etc owners to wear higher rise pants/jeans.
For sure. My jeans run the gamut in terms of rise but my preferred jacket length doesn’t change. For instance, this Thurston bros HB felt too long. Almost like a plainsman, which is fine but it was a 30’s HB, so it felt a bit off:
1F35ED2B-A3A5-4688-A408-167D6A7209BE.jpeg

The longer length does help hip huggers but I think it comes at the expense of the jacket, when they begin to look stretched.
 

Blackadder

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For sure. My jeans run the gamut in terms of rise but my preferred jacket length doesn’t change. For instance, this Thurston bros HB felt too long. Almost like a plainsman, which is fine but it was a 30’s HB, so it felt a bit off:
View attachment 470023
The longer length does help hip huggers but I think it comes at the expense of the jacket, when they begin to look stretched.
Yes they do look odd. I am not saying I like them. You do have your 60s, 70s jacket to go with low rise jeans. I can't imagine telling the crowd to go buy a East West jackets to match with their low rise jeans. Lol. I honestly think they should stick with LL if they wanna wear low rise.
 
Last edited:

Canuck Panda

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I can’t keep track of whether or not the current Japanese offerings are actually just one huge conglomerate or not.
^^^This
I also have a feeling it's like this, that there are one or two big factories that makes all the Japanese retail branded (private labeled) jackets. The brands never cross over from each other in the same season, even in the same style, they would offer different leather to differentiate, but essentially it's still the same jacket.

For example, Jelado's Winchester is done what seems like the same 1.5mm deer used on the FW:
Image1.jpg

And Naked Sun (Fine Creek) is done in buffalo:
Image2.jpg

And since Fine Creek seems to be doing a better job at marketing these days they get three sku (three leather options) vs just one from slower selling Jelado.
And these are what I would presume to be made at the same Rainbow Country factory, skived seams small needle stitches.

If my suspicion were true, that they are all made by the same factory or two, I'd like to find out about the factory and try to get it direct so no heavy mark ups.

This reminds me of my Chinese jackets. That they are mostly made from the same mega factory, Pineal Jet leather in north east China. But every one of its "retail" partner would get slightly different jackets with slightly different leathers.

Maybe this should go into the Japan and Asian vs Western brand difference thread. But the biggest difference is that one is semi-mass produced (I have no problem with this, I like skived seams and laser stitches), and other is really more custom in the sense that no two jacket are gonna be the same even same style same leather because it's single person bench made. The expensive pricings of the Japanese jackets is because of distribution channel layers (lots of middle guys), not because it is a better jacket than the western brands that sells directly. Different construction yes, but no better or worse, but definitely more expensive.
 

Blackadder

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^^^This
I also have a feeling it's like this, that there are one or two big factories that makes all the Japanese retail branded (private labeled) jackets. The brands never cross over from each other in the same season, even in the same style, they would offer different leather to differentiate, but essentially it's still the same jacket.

For example, Jelado's Winchester is done what seems like the same 1.5mm deer used on the FW:
View attachment 470051
And Naked Sun (Fine Creek) is done in buffalo:
View attachment 470053
And since Fine Creek seems to be doing a better job at marketing these days they get three sku (three leather options) vs just one from slower selling Jelado.
And these are what I would presume to be made at the same Rainbow Country factory, skived seams small needle stitches.

If my suspicion were true, that they are all made by the same factory or two, I'd like to find out about the factory and try to get it direct so no heavy mark ups.

This reminds me of my Chinese jackets. That they are mostly made from the same mega factory, Pineal Jet leather in north east China. But every one of its "retail" partner would get slightly different jackets with slightly different leathers.

Maybe this should go into the Japan and Asian vs Western brand difference thread. But the biggest difference is that one is semi-mass produced (I have no problem with this, I like skived seams and laser stitches), and other is really more custom in the sense that no two jacket are gonna be the same even same style same leather because it's single person bench made. The expensive pricings of the Japanese jackets is because of distribution channel layers (lots of middle guys), not because it is a better jacket than the western brands that sells directly. Different construction yes, but no better or worse, but definitely more expensive.
Again these are all small niche brands working closely with small workshops. There is no big factory save for Y'2. There is no room for big factories. If there are factories with huge capacity, Mushman would not be getting its jackets from Bill Kelso. The lower end mass produced jackets are imports.
At the rate and quantity these brands are selling, that cannot support a big factory. Brands that require big enough capacity are Beams, United Arrows, Jourrnal Standard and Urban Research etc. And where does Beams get its leather jacket? Cockpit USA for one.
You can certainly get the Y'2 direct. You can even get the RC direct. These workshops prefer taking dealers' order instead of carrying stock or taking individual direct order. Take the Few for instance, they worked closely with RM serving RM exclusively until their break up.
 
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sshack

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Again these are all small niche brands working closely with small workshops. There is no big factory save for Y'2. There is no room for big factories. If there are factories with huge capacity, Mushman would not be getting its jackets from Bill Kelso. The lower end mass produced jackets are imports.
At the rate and quantity these brands are selling, that cannot support a big factory. Brands that require big enough capacity are Beams, United Arrows, Jourrnal Standard and Urban Research etc. And where does Beams get its leather jacket? Cockpit USA for one.
You can certainly get the Y'2 direct. You can even get the RC direct. These workshops prefer taking dealers' order instead of carrying stock or taking individual direct order. Take the Few for instance, they worked closely with RM serving RM exclusively until their break up.

Wasn't familiar with "Beams, United Arrows, Journal Standard..." I googled a few searches, nothing really stood out yet. Are these popular / quality brands?

How do you order Rainbow Country direct from the factory?
 

Blackadder

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Wasn't familiar with "Beams, United Arrows, Journal Standard..." I googled a few searches, nothing really stood out yet. Are these popular / quality brands?

How do you order Rainbow Country direct from the factory?
Sorry, you can't order from RC directly. You can buy/pre-order it at dealers.
Both Y'2 and RC has their own brands that you can find at dealers.
Beams, UA, JS are just mid priced High street brands like Polo, Banana Republic, J Crew etc. I'd say a bit more like J Crew.
 

dwilson

A-List Customer
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320
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LA
Yeah Beams is commonly referred to on other style forums as Japanese J Crew. I like the cut of their shirts but the fabric and quality isn't anything to rave about. At least the shirts I have were made in Japan at least.
 

Canuck Panda

Call Me a Cab
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2,419
I am quite certain Johnson in San Fran makes some jackets for Beams. The mouton they used for the Beams jackets are quite nice and different than the stuff I'd normally get from them.
 

Aloysius

One Too Many
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1,463
"Colimbo is the low cost outlet/version of The Real McCoy‘s and mostly made in China but labeled ( and marketed via/ ) in Japan…( BTW this is also the case for BR since 2017 for all their goods and for some even earlier).
Greetings from Kyōto. "

This was unsourced and incorrect. There have been a few people on VLJ pushing these rumors over the years. You always need to keep a filter in mind when reading some of these posts lol

Hmm, this Orgueil has some nice stuff. But 169,000 yen for steerhide. Also, I will never be able to remember their name unless I'm reading it.

If you're into denim, an easy reference point might be that Orgeuil is the same brand as Studio d'Artisan.

It's their spinoff more based on European (especially French) styles than American ones.
 

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