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Original vs. Repro?

Edward

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I often regret not getting into vintage in my teens - the stuff was cheaper then, and I was still weedy enough to fit it. :lol: The number of 49 pattern Battle Dress items I've looked at over the years which were made for weedy, teenage kids on National Service.... :rolleyes:

Vintage pieces are lovely, but rarely do I find them in my size. And if they are big enough, rarely are they in wearable condition. And if they are big enough and in wearable condition, rarely can I afford them. And if they are big enough and in wearable condition and I can afford them, there's the question of whether I'd wear them anyhow, as we're usually talking about an irreplacable piece of history..... The important thing for me is an accurate look; I like vintage bits because they look good, not because they're old. A repro, nine times out of ten, will fit the bill better for me. A crucial point for me is that I don't want to wear a jacket that looks seventy years old. The look which interests me is how folks looked back then. If I buy an A2, I want it to look like it was issued a few months ago and has just been broken in, not a substitute for a seventy year old original today.

The workmanship and materials on most reproductions blow many originals out of the water. It's the difference between mass produced and (generally) built to a price vs hand craftsmanship.

Undoubtedly. With no disrespect to any of those producing wonderfully accurate repros, I do believe that once you adjust for the vagaries of mass production, especially, with reference to the likes of an A2, wartime mass production for urgent need, it's clear that a significant proportion of 'the real thing' would be rejected as sub-par were it to be on sale, new, today.

I prefer the eccentricities of vintage jacket design over the homogenization and simplification of designs produced by most of the high end repro companies. Out of the thousands of designs produced, with all the unique collar, pocket, cuff, and back treaments, we're down to a handful that every company seems to have a version of, begging the question- is it a repro of an original or of another company's repro that proved to be popular?

Fashion and saleability are definitely big factors. Even within the "vintage community" things go in and out of fashion.


In the end, it's a jacket, meant to be worn. There's authenticity and there's what you're comfortable with.

Absolutely. And at the end of the day, there's context too.... not many civilians in 1950 were wearing perfect A2s, but plenty wore some ner-knock-off A2 type design bomber jacket. Sometimes I wonder - again with no disrespect to A2 reproducers - whether those old Schott 'flying jackets' aren't more accurate civilian context look after all....

Interesting discussion gents. A question for you, what makes a jacket "vintage"? I was thinking of my Aero HWM, its not old but I believe it is "original" in its design. I remember Holly telling me they would no longer deviate from the original design when I asked for some minor customization.

Much less variation than was tolerated pre 2012, though I found them pretty open as long as it didn't mean significant changes to the pattern itself, which is fair enough, really. On the flipside, there are so many more models available now.

The standard HWM is quite different to the "Original 59er" launched last year, the latter being an accurate repro of the original Leytonstone jacket. There's an interview somewhere where Ken Calder talks about 'Americanising' the design. It's definitely much closer to a lot of the American jackets I've seen, from that period.

I personally have no issue with slight mods to a more general style (like a half belt) but in a specific jacket like a Buco J100, I prefer it to be accurate.

Yes. This.

As for frankenjackets, if someone likes their own hideous creation and a manufacturer is happy to make it.....who is it hurting? There are a lot of terrible looking clothes put out every year by the fashion houses that people wear on a daily basis. If people never tried to innovate and create/design new patterns, I wouldn't be able to think "at least I look better than him" as I walk down the street lol

That's the key. Soem manufacturers will be happy to produce what customers will buy, others will take an approach of declining to produce cetain things. After all, if I ask for a particular combination of features and it looks awful and doesn't really work, and folks ask where I got it... they're putting their name to it, and it reflects on them as a company. Really all depends on the business model that works for a company in the long term.

I love your last comment, some folks are scared to wear there £600+ jackets to the max and how many do you see for sale in 'Mint Condition'? Shame some of these owners did not get to wear there jackets to death for fear of loosing any resale value.
Cheers, J

I'm sure some folks go that way. Seems to me, though, that there are as many who get their kicks from the acquisition, and sell not because they won't wear it, but because they're chasing some new design, new hide, new colour.... Repro leather jackets may not be the fashion scene, but they're certainly subject to the vagaries of fashion within the niche, and all that implies.

^^^ Excuse me, but it's vintage. Er, vintage inspired. Errrr, it's got character!

[video=youtube;JwTxxkey5sI]https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=JwTxxkey5sI#t=60[/video]

Blimey, Fanch, missing on that would keep me awake at night! The problem with vintage is the attendant upkeep/maintenance: my brother owned an 80s Lotus Espirit, and the damn thing had all sorts of 'behavioural issues', not least an intermittent air con system - hellish, given the proximity of the engine to your back - but the kicker was when one of the cylinders punched through the side of the engine while the car was doing 70mph(ish) on the motorway.

On the plus side, fibreglass body..... pal of my dad's had one years ago, I think an Elan. Back in the late 60s or early 70s he had an accident.... hospital told him he'd not have gotten out alive if he'd been encased in steel rather than had the fibreglass break up around him!
 

tropicalbob

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Regarding the Schott civilian "flying jackets," when I first discovered Aero a few years back I thought, of all their jackets, the Happy Days jacket reminded me most of the ones worn by my dad and his pals (mostly refinery workers) when I was growing up in the '50's and '60's. The schott jacket does, too.
 

AdeeC

Practically Family
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While some people buy repro jackets and rarely wear them to keep them pristine, have fickle tastes or to preserve resale value, many are enthusiasts who own multiple jackets thus never get worn out. I rotate mine after one or two wears so its going take decades to get any of them hard worn.
 
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Edward

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While some people buy repro jackets and rarely wear them to keep them pristine, have fickle tastes or to preserve resale value, many are enthusiasts who own multiple jackets thus never get worn out. I rotate mine after one or two wears so its going take decades to get any of them hard worn.

That can happen too. One of the reasosn I try and keep a variation to my jackets - not too many in the same hide / colour / weight / design - i so I will get wear out of all of them.
 

Doctor Damage

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Sometimes I think the repro thing can go too far or be silly. Take for instance, BR's B15C Mod jacket. The original jackets were B15 jackets from which they removed the fur collar as a post-manufacturing job. BR's repro has two rows of white stitching where the collars would have been attached; presumably the originals (or the particular original from which BR made their repro) had white stitching because whatever USAF group did the work had only white stitching. Okay, so BR's jacket is 100% repro. But it's silly and in this case it means the dark navy blue jacket has these sections of white stitching which looks like some half-assed repair work done by someone who was colour blind or lazy. This, I think, is a case where the repro is too accurate.

34873.jpg
 

Edward

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I like that feature. Given Buzz's market, I think it would be a mistake to omit it.

I have 63 pairs of shoes. I wonder how many more jackets that can justify? :D
 

GHT

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Is it necessary to slavishly follow every last detail of the original (say in the case of a Buco J100 or Half-belt?) Or is it acceptable to customize in order to allow for changes in today’s size, taste, functionality, (ie. selecting the hardware, changing the size and placements of the pockets, zippers, or amount of drop front, and other details that would never have been a feature found on an original.)

Well both actually. I wanted a copy of my father's demob suit, from photographs, my tailor produced a repro down to the very last detail, and I absolutely love it. However, when I wanted a 1930's summer suit with the pleats and half belt at the back of the jacket, I ordered my tailor to make it without the pleats. The appearance of the said pleats is not that aesthetically attractive to me and cleaning the jacket and pressing the pleats is fraught with double crease problems, so I had the suit made without the pleats. And if the fashion police have a problem with that..................................!
 
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