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What Is the Allure of Japanese Leather Jackets?

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I vaguely remember your thread in which you referenced some of this but did Aero ever do a write up on it, the designer girl, the denim conversion etc? I’d love to read it if so.

Nope, there's no written record of any of this, apart from what's in my Gmail account. It's an inside info of a sort. Thing is, I occasionally exchange from this great guy from Aero, who told me all that. It's not a secret or anything like that, just that there's not point in sharing it with general public as it only means something to the few of us here.

Part of the reason so much work was invested into the Type-3 was because the leather trucker was immensely popular in Japan, much, much more so than in US or Europe and it was one of their best sellers in Japan. With the upgraded version, there really isn't much you can get that'd improve on their version.
 

willyto

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I'd say that for example there are certain makers that arguably make the best of "X" jacket.

For example Eastman has the only real example of an A-1 as far as they tell us. So obviously their A-1 jackets are probably the best out there because they have the real one as a starter.
 

Marc mndt

I'll Lock Up
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I'd say that for example there are certain makers that arguably make the best of "X" jacket.

For example Eastman has the only real example of an A-1 as far as they tell us. So obviously their A-1 jackets are probably the best out there because they have the real one as a starter.
Question is... How do you define 'best'.

I own an Eastman A1 and even though it's a solid jacket I certainly wouldn't call it perfect in terms of construction quality. Some stitch lines are rather wobbly for instance. I'm sure there are Japanese a1 repros with neater stitching, but does that make them objectively better jackets?

I guess so if better means straight stitch lines. But the original 30s A1s probably didn't come with straight stitch lines either. Therefore one could argue that the Eastman is the better jacket because it's closer to original.

Point is... What does 'best' mean? Maybe there's not just one best of x, but several depending on your definition.
 

Coriu

One Too Many
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Question is... How do you define 'best'.

I own an Eastman A1 and even though it's a solid jacket I certainly wouldn't call it perfect in terms of construction quality. Some stitch lines are rather wobbly for instance. I'm sure there are Japanese a1 repros with neater stitching, but does that make them objectively better jackets?

I guess so if better means straight stitch lines. But the original 30s A1s probably didn't come with straight stitch lines either. Therefore one could argue that the Eastman is the better jacket because it's closer to original.

Point is... What does 'best' mean? Maybe there's not just one best of x, but several.

That's a great question and obviously different collectors are going to have a slant toward a certain aspect(s). Imagine we were ranking jackets on a scale of 1-10 for each of a number of criteria, with each criteria category being weighted evenly...and then adding up the scores for each criteria and taking an overall average. For example, one jacket might tally an overall score of 8.4, another a 7.4, etc etc. We might say that "X" jacket is the best of the style available today.

Will that jacket always have the highest score in years to come? Maybe not. But I think one could feel safe in providing guidance to a prospective buyer that if you buy "X" jacket and never buy another one of that style for the rest of your life, you will always have an elite-level jacket.

Going back to a point I posed...what are the jackets one would tell prospective buyers "Just buy that new jacket now and you'll likely never be sorry."
 
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Going back to a point I posed...what are the jackets one would tell prospective buyers "Just buy that new jacket now and you'll likely never be sorry."
IMO There is no such jacket, from any maker, that you can apply to a wide swath of buyers. Perspective buyer should do their own research and decide for themselves. A collective answer is not the answer and indicative of nothing.
The answer is spending the time, doing the research and understanding your own desire…a collective “thumbs up” should be the least important factor, because it’s utterly meaningless.
 

Marc mndt

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IMO There is no such jacket, from any maker, that you can apply to a wide swath of buyers. Perspective buyer should do their own research and decide for themselves. A collective answer is not the answer and indicative of nothing.
The answer is spending the time, doing the research and understanding your own desire…a collective “thumbs up” should be the least important factor, because it’s utterly meaningless.
+2
 

Coriu

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IMO There is no such jacket, from any maker, that you can apply to a wide swath of buyers. Perspective buyer should do their own research and decide for themselves. A collective answer is not the answer and indicative of nothing.
The answer is spending the time, doing the research and understanding your own desire…a collective “thumbs up” should be the least important factor, because it’s utterly meaningless.

Your point is well taken, especially the "own desire" perspective. And ideally that is what everyone should do. However, I have found it more difficult to research leather jackets than certain other collectibles. Not all of us live near a major metro area where one can go see high-end jackets, and even that is no guarantee one will be able to lay one's hand on a certain brand.

Many of us have spent WAY more time researching than the average person is capable of and/or willing to. And not everyone can afford to spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to order jackets just to see them in person and hope they fit. I have based my purchases solely on what I have learned from this Forum and am incredibly happy.
 

Superfluous

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I guess so if better means straight stitch lines. But the original 30s A1s probably didn't come with straight stitch lines either. Therefore one could argue that the Eastman is the better jacket because it's closer to original.

Years ago, I purchased an RRL leather jacket on a whim, without close inspection. When I got home, I discovered that the stitching was markedly irregular on the front placket -- it was almost laughable how bad it was. I took the jacket back to RRL and pointed out the wildly irregular stitching. The salesperson acknowledged the irregularity without explanation, apologized, and returned my money. Two days later, my sales person forwarded an e-mail from someone in the RRL design department who explained that the irregular stitching on the front placket was intentional and done to match the irregular stitching on the original vintage jacket that RRL was reproducing. The next time I visited the RRL store, I looked at other examples of the same jacket. Sure enough, they all had the nearly identical irregular stitching in the exact same location on the front placket. Frankly, I prefer straight stitching, even if it deviates from the original, but I commend RRL's attempt to remain true to the original.
 

Rich22

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Japanese products of all sorts end up with an element of prestige about them... they often might be of better quality than alternatives, but are they THAT much better? In Japan a lot of these products are 2-4x less in price than they are in the internationally, which I don't like, as it's not justifiable.
 

Claybertrand

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Years ago, I purchased an RRL leather jacket on a whim, without close inspection. When I got home, I discovered that the stitching was markedly irregular on the front placket -- it was almost laughable how bad it was. I took the jacket back to RRL and pointed out the wildly irregular stitching. The salesperson acknowledged the irregularity without explanation, apologized, and returned my money. Two days later, my sales person forwarded an e-mail from someone in the RRL design department who explained that the irregular stitching on the front placket was intentional and done to match the irregular stitching on the original vintage jacket that RRL was reproducing. The next time I visited the RRL store, I looked at other examples of the same jacket. Sure enough, they all had the nearly identical irregular stitching in the exact same location on the front placket. Frankly, I prefer straight stitching, even if it deviates from the original, but I commend RRL's attempt to remain true to the original.


IMO, it's just going too far to be SOOOOO specific to include what literally amounts to a stitching mistake into their remake just to say they are staying true to the original. I mean, if it were something that became iconic about the jacket after the original maker made the mistake then the mistake became part of why the original jacket was what it was. So I could see replicating it. Hard to give an example of what I mean---but say the label was upside down or they accidentally used 1 brass snap at the collar when all the other snaps were nickel and that mistake became part of the myth and an identifying aspect of the jacket or became the company's "calling card" of sorts on all of their jackets. Sometimes, production mistakes BECOME the actual product like with the peanut butter in a Reece's Cup (Halloween candy analogy here;)) that was mistakenly overroasted when they were trying to make their own peanut butter for the candy.

In such a case, then I could see a reason for replicating it on a repro. But wonky stitching just doesn't seem like something worth highlighting or recreating just to be true to the original.

I'm with you and would prefer proper stitching. Stitching is something that no one is going to say anything about. They'll just see the crooked stitching and think the person wearing the garment buys cheap crap or seconds. They won't think, "Wow!!! Look at that!!!! Crooked stitching!!!!! That jacket is LEGIT!!!!:rolleyes:"
 

Aloysius

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IMO, it's just going too far to be SOOOOO specific to include what literally amounts to a stitching mistake into their remake just to say they are staying true to the original.

People routinely flame Ken because Aero, in its A-2 repros, fixes a common mistake in the epaulette stitching of many assembly line originals. He argues (fairly, I think) that he's reproducing the pattern and the leathers, not the mistakes that occurred in wartime mass production.
 

navetsea

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Your point is well taken, especially the "own desire" perspective. And ideally that is what everyone should do. However, I have found it more difficult to research leather jackets than certain other collectibles. Not all of us live near a major metro area where one can go see high-end jackets, and even that is no guarantee one will be able to lay one's hand on a certain brand.

Many of us have spent WAY more time researching than the average person is capable of and/or willing to. And not everyone can afford to spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to order jackets just to see them in person and hope they fit. I have based my purchases solely on what I have learned from this Forum and am incredibly happy.
you may need to make a profiling questionaire form, and you need a database of jacket styles, hide thickness and tanning type, price range, fit type , detailing scrutiny (stitch count, straightness), historical accuracy, extra features, waiting time, etc. based on the profiling answers then it will make a custom suggestion list of style, hide, and maker.
 

navetsea

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Years ago, I purchased an RRL leather jacket on a whim, without close inspection. When I got home, I discovered that the stitching was markedly irregular on the front placket -- it was almost laughable how bad it was. I took the jacket back to RRL and pointed out the wildly irregular stitching. The salesperson acknowledged the irregularity without explanation, apologized, and returned my money. Two days later, my sales person forwarded an e-mail from someone in the RRL design department who explained that the irregular stitching on the front placket was intentional and done to match the irregular stitching on the original vintage jacket that RRL was reproducing. The next time I visited the RRL store, I looked at other examples of the same jacket. Sure enough, they all had the nearly identical irregular stitching in the exact same location on the front placket. Frankly, I prefer straight stitching, even if it deviates from the original, but I commend RRL's attempt to remain true to the original.
maybe for some there is a beauty in freehand line compared to laser straight line, i can see that for freehand sketch drawing, but its hard for me to accept it on stitching...maybe because it contrasts the mechanical precision of the stitching step, maybe in hand sewing it might look softer and organic.
 

Marc mndt

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maybe for some there is a beauty in freehand line compared to laser straight line,
In the world of sartoriale, the Italians prefer the 'imperfection' that comes with hand felled shoulder seams to a perfect machine made lockstich.

22B06EB6-5B84-4B3B-AD4D-51B082DE44FC.jpeg
 

navetsea

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certainly look human made and hand sewing feel better according to my mom, but who can afford in modern world, probably if we feel another human, or family member hand sewing our clothes we will take care and try to wear it longer and not too easily discard clothes.
 
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Coriu

One Too Many
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...concerning stitching...a perspective. Earlier in this thread, Kuro mentioned the forest and the trees. Sometimes the people who tend to see the forest miss out on the fine details of the trees. On the flip side, sometimes people who tend to stare at the bark on a tree miss out on the grandeur of the forest as a whole.

I recently came across a recording of renowned classical guitarist Segovia playing a piece as an old man. It was fascinating to read the comments from people... some in awe and others picking apart his technical playing. It's as if the latter could not help themselves and simply sit back and enjoy a master at work, imperfections and all.

My father was a Korean War Air Force veteran. If anyone would want to have a "perfect" repro flight jacket to relive his youth, it would have been him, right? Knowing him, he would have cared less about fine details. I applaud those who have the patience and determination to get it "just right." I think it is just as creative for people to put their own touch on a classic of any sort, song, jacket, etc., without trying to precisely duplicate the past.
 

willyto

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Question is... How do you define 'best'.

I own an Eastman A1 and even though it's a solid jacket I certainly wouldn't call it perfect in terms of construction quality. Some stitch lines are rather wobbly for instance. I'm sure there are Japanese a1 repros with neater stitching, but does that make them objectively better jackets?

I guess so if better means straight stitch lines. But the original 30s A1s probably didn't come with straight stitch lines either. Therefore one could argue that the Eastman is the better jacket because it's closer to original.

Point is... What does 'best' mean? Maybe there's not just one best of x, but several depending on your definition.
For me it's as simple as Eastman having the only real deal in their possession so the pattern is what it is. Anyone making a repro of an A-1 without an original in their hand isn't going to be able to make it as accurate.

At that level of quality to be honest none of the jackets is going to fall apart. It's aesthetics when it comes to stitching details to be fair.

The problem is that they have been raising the prices more and more over the years.

I don't inspect my jackets for mistakes or stitching details for example unless something is really visible to the eye or compromises integrity of construction I don't really care that much.
 
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