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Lewis Leathers , Good quality?

Justhandguns

Practically Family
Messages
778
Location
London
Lewis Leathers is the absolute best. I don't understand why is there even need for this thread.

I guess it's almost a sin to say it here. They don't seem to get much love here. We have been here long enough to know what the 'standards' over here are. Lewis just don't fit well with many of the requirements, the hides that they use lack characters, the sharp but slim cuttings of their many patterns (don't work well if you have a beer belly), their lack of protections for riding, so on and so forth. Be careful that you are upsetting some die hard fans of certain brands of jacket.

I am a proud owner of their Lightning jacket, I certainly don't mind their logo on the chest, as a matter of fact, I do want to show people that it is a Lewis. And why not? Or you don't want you wife to know that your Veggie Tanned Dominator is £500 more expensive than her fur jacket? I also own Aero, Eastman, Vanson, Schott, Belstaff and various other brands of leather jacket, and the tailoring is definitely very good with the Lewis. They had a bit of a dip a few years back, probably because of high demands from Asia, but it looks like it is getting back to normal these days.
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
24,535
Location
London, UK
That's okay, I don't think you're trying to stir anything up, just that it surprised me this still hasn't been made universally clear. The way I see it, you turn to any other maker only if LL doesn't do the style you're after. Otherwise, I'd sooner give my money to LL than to any other company, sans Vanson.

The fact that a lot of mega-high-fashion companies collaborate with them ought to say enough on the matter, plus there are all those Japanese knock-offs, too. Fine Creek has made several LL-based abominations they still tryna get rid of. . .

Mn. I'm not sure the big fashion houses are always one to go by; tbh, I suspect it's more the brand recognition they prized than the actual product. That said, Lewis still are among the best, so even if they selected LL by accident...


Interesting there are far more of these 'British style' jackets made in Japan than anywhere else.... The 'problem' of course is that a LL copy will always be a LL copy, they being either the source or the best known-still-going producer of a number of highly distinctive designs. It's another reason I like Goldtop so much, that they didn't just produce a range of "Cheap Lewis" for the UK market. Leather Monkeys built their business on selling second hand Lewises before producing their own near-copies; the problem there is that they still insist on using Lewis' name in their eBay sales headers, which is irritating. Anyhow...
 

AerGuitar

A-List Customer
Messages
377
Location
Missouri
I’m a fan, and I really like the Dominator. Quality is right up there with anything I’ve handled, and the design is great for mobility. I had to move my Veg sheep on due to fitment, but that hide is luxurious and was the easiest wearing jacket I’ve had. I have one in the standard horse, and although somewhat boring in appearance, I really love to wear it. Standard hide is pliable and utilitarian, which I appreciate. Sheds water really well. I have enough veg tanned Aeros that I don’t miss “interesting” hide on the dominator, although I’d be lying to myself to say I’m not curious about their Vegecow.
 

Aloysius

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,613
Mn. I'm not sure the big fashion houses are always one to go by; tbh, I suspect it's more the brand recognition they prized than the actual product. That said, Lewis still are among the best, so even if they selected LL by accident...


Interesting there are far more of these 'British style' jackets made in Japan than anywhere else.... The 'problem' of course is that a LL copy will always be a LL copy, they being either the source or the best known-still-going producer of a number of highly distinctive designs. It's another reason I like Goldtop so much, that they didn't just produce a range of "Cheap Lewis" for the UK market. Leather Monkeys built their business on selling second hand Lewises before producing their own near-copies; the problem there is that they still insist on using Lewis' name in their eBay sales headers, which is irritating. Anyhow...

As much as I criticise the Japanese Lewis clones in the west, I understand them in the Japanese context where they are a cheaper alternative to imported Lewis which costs double its UK price. (And yet Lewis Japan is still very popular.) In that respect it’s not unlike the Lewis copies that were common in 70s Britain or indeed the ones Vanson makes.

But to then import the copies and end up paying more than a Lewis is worthy of mockery. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere I expect the proprietors and customers of those brands in Japan would be thoroughly confused by Englishmen ordering them as a superior alternative.

I find myself quite close to ordering a Lewis, incidentally. I’ve been meaning to *at some point* for a while but Lewis Japan put out a statement that they’re discontinuing Rutland sheep (due to cost); I’m not sure how much of this is the weak yen vs the British economy so I’d like to order a Rutland sheep jacket before it’s too late.

And that leaves me pondering whether I should go Lightning 402 Joey style or go for the oft overlooked Bronx. The twin zip at just £5 more seems like a worthy upgrade.
 

Aloysius

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,613
The Rutland sheep is a great hide.

Yeah it’s been the one I’ve had in mind since I first saw it. Sheep and cow are traditional Lewis in my book, the veg cow is beautiful but a bit too fancy, if that makes sense (as far as the heritage stuff goes); the Rutland is a nice substantial British tanned sheep. Doesn’t get much better than that.
 

Psant25

One Too Many
Messages
1,516
I tried a stock dominator from stronghold. I was not a fan of the pointy shoulder, exposed shiny zipper, very boxy body. I think if i went custom tapered the waist would be ok and other issues probably just need some wear/break in to correct.
 
Messages
16,171
I guess it's almost a sin to say it here. They don't seem to get much love here. We have been here long enough to know what the 'standards' over here are. Lewis just don't fit well with many of the requirements, the hides that they use lack characters, the sharp but slim cuttings of their many patterns (don't work well if you have a beer belly), their lack of protections for riding, so on and so forth. Be careful that you are upsetting some die hard fans of certain brands of jacket.

I am a proud owner of their Lightning jacket, I certainly don't mind their logo on the chest, as a matter of fact, I do want to show people that it is a Lewis. And why not? Or you don't want you wife to know that your Veggie Tanned Dominator is £500 more expensive than her fur jacket? I also own Aero, Eastman, Vanson, Schott, Belstaff and various other brands of leather jacket, and the tailoring is definitely very good with the Lewis. They had a bit of a dip a few years back, probably because of high demands from Asia, but it looks like it is getting back to normal these days.

Agreed. And anyone complaining about LL's lack of diversity in leather ought to go to their London store right now. I think they've got more options right now than Aero, not to mention colors.

I had a few vtg LL jackets before & would still love to get a Dominator but of all the jackets that I have tried while in London, it was their jackets that fit me so damn well that not a single full-on custom I've paid twice as much for could compete.

I recall one member buying a Corsair Japanese knock-off (Addict or Fine Creek I think it was, one or the other) that was so trash that they had to have the sleeve altered. The coat-length horror had two gigantic, wide tubes hanging down its sides, instead of tapered, curved, shaped sleeves of the original. When I asked him why didn't he just get the Corsair, he reasoned that LL leather options weren't to his liking AND that he disliked a visible logo...

Honestly, I wouldn't mind the Japanese Lewis clones, myself if they weren't trying to be smart about it by ruining the patterns. Just leave the jacket alone! The logic behind changing the patterns is also lost on me...
 

Aloysius

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,613
Agreed. And anyone complaining about LL's lack of diversity in leather ought to go to their London store right now. I think they've got more options right now than Aero, not to mention colors.

Symptomatic of a broader problem in “workwear” culture. Everyone needs to know every tannery, to micromanage every aspect of the process; that culture cannot bear to let the experts who are making something simply do their jobs.

The cult of Shinki is a good example. I have seen posts here by people saying they’d never buy another jacket unless it were made of Shinki HH. A decade ago it was a cult of CXL.

Jacket makers at the high end are going to be picking materials that are fit for purpose. Why would they not?

I had a few vtg LL jackets before & would still love to get a Dominator but of all the jackets that I have tried while in London, it was their jackets that fit me so damn well that not a single full-on custom I've paid twice as much for could compete.

I recall one member buying a Corsair Japanese knock-off (Addict or Fine Creek I think it was, one or the other) that was so trash that they had to have the sleeve altered. The coat-length horror had two gigantic, wide tubes hanging down its sides, instead of tapered, curved, shaped sleeves of the original. When I asked him why didn't he just get the Corsair, he reasoned that LL leather options weren't to his liking AND that he disliked a visible logo...

Honestly, I wouldn't mind the Japanese Lewis clones, myself if they weren't trying to be smart about it by ruining the patterns. Just leave the jacket alone! The logic behind changing the patterns is also lost on me...

The tube shape makes me assume FCL. Addict seems to be a direct Lewis copy to provide a cheaper (in Japan) alternative.
 

Aloysius

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,613
I did a search and found the thread you’re talking about. No surprise to find that ultimately the reason the person bought the FCL was… Shinki.

Honestly my biggest disappointment is that everybody was telling OP that it looked great, fit great, was designed great etc–including people who I know from other threads don’t like the FCL jacket’s design decisions at all. It does a disservice to the person posting a jacket when no one gives actual advice, in my opinion.
 
Messages
16,171
I did a search and found the thread you’re talking about. No surprise to find that ultimately the reason the person bought the FCL was… Shinki.

Honestly my biggest disappointment is that everybody was telling OP that it looked great, fit great, was designed great etc–including people who I know from other threads don’t like the FCL jacket’s design decisions at all. It does a disservice to the person posting a jacket when no one gives actual advice, in my opinion.

Spot on! That's exactly it & I may have also said it's okay 'cause I hate always being the negative waves guy - I've already been called out a few times as a Shinki hater, which couldn't be any further from the truth - and truth be told, the jacket sort of was better after the sleeve alteration though nowhere near ideal & it still looked like a piss poor LL knock-off. But regardless, everyone'd praised it to heaven...

Regardless, said member had left the board later on because they got upset each time someone disagreed with their ideas of who the best leather jacket maker is. TLF has had large number of people who left the board for this reason and I honestly don't understand it.
 

Marc mndt

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,332
I did a search and found the thread you’re talking about. No surprise to find that ultimately the reason the person bought the FCL was… Shinki.

Honestly my biggest disappointment is that everybody was telling OP that it looked great, fit great, was designed great etc–including people who I know from other threads don’t like the FCL jacket’s design decisions at all.

My comment back then on the jacket:

Thnx for writing the review. Great looking jacket. Congrats. I'm impressed how well it fits in the shoulder/chest area. Not a single crease yet it doesn't look too tight. How is the movement?
I agree, those sleeve ends do look a bit too wide for the overall style and they forgot to shape the collar :)

Looking back at the pics, it's not a jacket I'd personally buy for the reason mentioned in my comment: those sleeve ends. To be frank, I think they look absolutely hideous. But what's the use of making such a comment in a tread started by someone who clearly likes / loves the jacket.

It does a disservice to the person posting a jacket when no one gives actual advice, in my opinion.
What advice would you have given to the OP, other than to quickly return that jacket and go buy the real deal (a LL Corsair) instead?

The OP invested time and effort into writing a review on a jacket he liked, otherwise he wouldn't have bought it. It would be bad taste to comment there and then that FCL jackets suck (my personal opinion). There's other threads for that.
 

Aloysius

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,613
What advice would you have given to the OP, other than to quickly return that jacket and go buy the real deal (a LL Corsair) instead?

Given that it looked like he just bought it that day and was explicitly stated as being from Self Edge, which allows returns, perhaps the only perk of their markup, I would have, yes. (I've been in another related store and experienced how hard they try to push FCL as the end-all of leather. Had to politely redirect the conversation.)

I expect the response would have been "but it's not Shinki" and it would end at that, but I'd have attempted it.

That said, I don't really disagree with the crux of your point. Certainly it's the course I would take in person. But online I see these as avenues for feedback.

EDIT: Fixed typos (wrote 'way' for 'day' and 'my' for 'your'–excuse me, exhausted from travel!)
 
Last edited:

Tom71

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,197
Location
Europe
Agreed. And anyone complaining about LL's lack of diversity in leather ought to go to their London store right now. I think they've got more options right now than Aero, not to mention colors.

I had a few vtg LL jackets before & would still love to get a Dominator but of all the jackets that I have tried while in London, it was their jackets that fit me so damn well that not a single full-on custom I've paid twice as much for could compete.

I recall one member buying a Corsair Japanese knock-off (Addict or Fine Creek I think it was, one or the other) that was so trash that they had to have the sleeve altered. The coat-length horror had two gigantic, wide tubes hanging down its sides, instead of tapered, curved, shaped sleeves of the original. When I asked him why didn't he just get the Corsair, he reasoned that LL leather options weren't to his liking AND that he disliked a visible logo...

Honestly, I wouldn't mind the Japanese Lewis clones, myself if they weren't trying to be smart about it by ruining the patterns. Just leave the jacket alone! The logic behind changing the patterns is also lost on me...

This one? :D

A01_3.jpg
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
24,535
Location
London, UK
As much as I criticise the Japanese Lewis clones in the west, I understand them in the Japanese context where they are a cheaper alternative to imported Lewis which costs double its UK price. (And yet Lewis Japan is still very popular.) In that respect it’s not unlike the Lewis copies that were common in 70s Britain or indeed the ones Vanson makes.

Oh, indeed. I don't have a moral objection to them (anymore than to Schott's Perfecto, which I don't think was the first of that particular style, more their spin on it) - but yeah, the difference in currencies and economics is definitely the factor here. I've handled an Adict jacket before - very nicely made, and I can see the point if they're vastly cheaper than a Lewis is Japan, but the price here is...steep.

Vanson's run on the Bronx (I think they call it a Ton Up or something from memory) is interesting. I'd love to know how many of them they sell. I quite like it as it's not a direct copy, but definitely nods to some of the Lewis touches in a homage way.

But to then import the copies and end up paying more than a Lewis is worthy of mockery. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere I expect the proprietors and customers of those brands in Japan would be thoroughly confused by Englishmen ordering them as a superior alternative.

I find myself quite close to ordering a Lewis, incidentally. I’ve been meaning to *at some point* for a while but Lewis Japan put out a statement that they’re discontinuing Rutland sheep (due to cost); I’m not sure how much of this is the weak yen vs the British economy so I’d like to order a Rutland sheep jacket before it’s too late.

And that leaves me pondering whether I should go Lightning 402 Joey style or go for the oft overlooked Bronx. The twin zip at just £5 more seems like a worthy upgrade.

When I eventually pull the trigger, it'll be a 391 I think, but the 402 really is nice; that shifting of the straps to the back rather than front does give it a lovely clean look face on. Good choice by the boys back when (and cute that it was those Lewises that were immoratalised on Joey and Marky in Rock and Roll High School (I do care about *that* history...). The Bronx is often overlooked, true. It's an objectively nice jacket, perhaps overlooked in favour of the Lightning as a touch more stylish or the shirt style collar, straight zip models as those became the quintessential rocker style. I think if I was looking at one of those, despite my normal cut-off being 1960 for styles, I'd throw caution to the wind and go with the twin-track zip. That variation was first introduced in 1966 for the tenth anniversary of the original Bronx; it was also the very first Lewis model to carry the forearm pocket that was thereafter rolled out across much of their range, and which is something of a Lewis calling card by this point.
 

regius

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,286
Location
New York
always curious about their rendition of the engineer boots, from the look of it they are great. I like my Lewises (Lewis es?) It's clearly the Euro cut but no issue moving my arms, and not a leather suit, no pressing at the deltoids etc. There are other patterns, more athletic, that I prefer, but for me it's the history, the idea of it, and that Iggy Pop rocks it! :)
 

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