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Messages
15,222
What is it about your favorite contemporary maker that you'd change? What would you like to see them improve on? Or is there something that you simply hate about some maker?

To start off...

Aero; Set us free. Seriously, people want to be able to do stuff while wearing a leather jacket. We're not mannequins. Y'all need to do something about those patterns 'cause as it stands, standing is pretty much all the jackets are good for. Gardening? Get real.
More and more people are coming forward saying your jackets are uncomfortable and y'know, where there's smoke...

Vanson; Do something about that leather! I'm sure many of your customers don't mind and that's fine but let's face it, it's mostly 'cause of us, fans, that your page keeps popping up at the top of any search index. Nice(r) leather would propel you to God-tier maker.

Langlitz; They seriously need to hire a branding agency. Just someone to do the photos right would already make a world of difference. Heck, even tho I know what their jackets look like, those photos on the site make me afraid. What if I end up looking like that?
At $2K+ price tag, they might as well drop the whole average Joe fit angle, too. Nobody's buying Langlitz 'cause of that crap. Langlitz is a hard fashion company. Time to start acting like one.

Thedi; Just show the damn prices already! Concealing prices make you look dodgy af. It's been long proven that having to ask for a quote will turn people away from even considering your product.
I know Thedi is a custom maker but anything that might give a ballpark estimate about the kind of money we're talking about is better than "Get a free quote!".
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
23,433
Location
London, UK
Can't really think of anything much, tbh. I know some folks don't like Aero's patterns - I've never had any such problem of movement in mine, but then everything's subjective. The only real "complaint" I've ever had about any of my jackets from any maker has been cost, but that's hardly legitimate. It would be a plus for the Aero range to do their trousers in some bigger sizes. I'd also love to see what Aero would do with an engineer boot they specced out, though I'm not sure whether there's a market for that these days.

It would be nice if Lewis did the Lightning (in particular - other models too) in its original, pre-1966 spec, i.e. without that extra forearm pocket. It's something of a signature for them, but it does look a bit overly busy to me and it has no real practical use. Not a dealbreaker, by any means, but I know it's one thing I would delete if I had the option on a custom order, and I'm indifferent about whether the logo patch is there or not.

Bronson I'd probably have a few of their textile jacket if they extended the range up by one or two sizes; I don't imagine I'll ever have trousers from them.

Oh.... and *all* the brands I like should have London-based shops, of course.... It's a rare item of clothing I'm able to buy in person. Trousers especially.
 

jacketjunkie

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,081
Location
Germany
Vanson: stock some nice brown leather for us vintage enthusiasts and add that Legacy Halfbelt to your standard range and give Dan a provision for each sold jacket; there is no way in hell I order with Dan and gamble on whether or not I get my jacket in two years time and it is a shame because I would love to buy that jacket.

Aero: Yeah.. stop selling us the same pattern five time over with different pocket set ups as novelties and improve your patterns instead. The shoulder and neck hole area needs work.

Langlitz: A more casual design for daily wear please, a straight zip jacket with shirt collar, handwarmer pockets and button cuffs.

Eastman: What the heck happened with your pricing in the past 10 years?
 

Peacoat

Bartender
Bartender
Messages
5,750
Location
South of Nashville
I have an older Vanson in the competition weight that is among the nicest leather in my collection. It was stiff as a board until really broken in, and then became soft, pliable and a joy to wear.

This jacket is probably 10 years old now. For you to mention the quality of Vanson's leather, I'm thinking the company has changed suppliers. I remember talking with Kim back when I got the jacket, and she mentioned how difficult it was for them to find the quality of leather they used for the competition weight.
 
Messages
15,222
@Edward; See, you thought of a lot! :D

Thing with Aero is, seems like many people don't seem to realize how you're supposed to feel in a leather jacket. Lotsa guys here who have just bought Aero as their first "serious" leather jacket and you can immediately tell how they totally fell for the myth that there's something you need to do for your jacket to become comfortable and a) that isn't/shouldn't be further from the truth, b) that won't happen.
If the jacket feels uncomfortable/restrictive/off out of the box, it's you who's going to have get broken in, not the jacket.

Now don't get me wrong, I love Aero and I honestly believe that you can't buy a (significantly) nicer looking jacket than the Highwayman but the massive size inconsistency & restrictive pattern harm this otherwise wonderful style. Same goes for anything of theirs that I've tried on, which amounts to 6 or 7 different styles altogether so could be I was just having crap luck but again, I strongly believe any style must work for anyone. It's not rocket science.

Another issue is Aero's silly "era accurate" sizing so people end up with jacket that's three sizes too big. That needs to go. Nobody wants to look like that!

@jacketjunkie , I fully agree they ought to invest some more thought into new releases. Some are nice, some are lazy. Just a few details switched around; Something that many TFL members coulda come up on their own.

Agreed on Vanson needing to include brown as a default option. Rather than the lousy Firenze which isn't even that lighter to begin with.

Collars- please explore some interesting shapes and sizes!
Look to the 40s/ not the 80s.

This is an excellent observation. Lotsa nice jackets have such boring collars.
 

Kubatu

A-List Customer
Messages
404
I have an older Vanson in the competition weight that is among the nicest leather in my collection. It was stiff as a board until really broken in, and then became soft, pliable and a joy to wear.

This jacket is probably 10 years old now. For you to mention the quality of Vanson's leather, I'm thinking the company has changed suppliers. I remember talking with Kim back when I got the jacket, and she mentioned how difficult it was for them to find the quality of leather they used for the competition weight.

Sometime in the last couple years, they had one tannery that was producing their competition weight leather close down for business. Then a second tannery that started to produce comp weight leather burned down and closed as well. I'm not sure if that order is right (did one close down, then the other burned, or vice versa), but they have had trouble since then reproducing the "original" competition weight. The new stuff today is often described as heavy, but also very soft, which isn't very appetizing for those who would like the experience of breaking in a stiff jacket. Anecdotally, that's been my experience as well, although I know some have had no complaints about the new hide. For instance, this is a jacket they advertised as being made in 2020, and it certainly looks like it has that stiff leather still:

nearly-new-old-new-jackets.jpg
 

jglf

A-List Customer
Messages
344
Location
USA
Aero: I agree that Aero needs to fix their patterning with regards to shoulder and neck hole fit so it doesn’t feel like it’s hanging off your neck.

Vanson: Nothing beats the mobility and comfort of Vanson but they do need to add better leather choices. I have 2 oxfords, 1 in comp leather and the other in blue bainbridge. I relegate the comp version as my beat around jacket as it’s tough and I don’t worry about damaging it.

Thedi: I love their craftsmanship and leather choices and hopefully will pick up a goatskin half belt from them in the future. My only concern is that their fit looks to be for more skinny guys vs athletic muscular guys with their jackets having short arms and narrow shoulders in relation to their waist size. I have a 10in drop from chest to waist and like patterns with wider shoulders and tapered waists. I don’t really like the look of cinching in the side belts from the positions of a half belt as it gives the appearance of a bottom flare. Vanson’s belt placement is in the perfect location for me.

JL: I eventually need to get one from them. They are probably to most underrated jacket maker in the US. Amazing quality, price, customization, and ease to work with. I travel to SFO once a month and need to visit them for a custom fit jacket.

Langlitz: They have amazing thick goatskin but I have never seen one of their jackets fit as I would want it to. Not going to gamble $1500 for a sloppy fit. You can make a bike jacket fit neat and not blousy as evidenced by Vanson’s patterns.

This is how well a Vanson fits and I have amazing mobility in it.

E24AA5F7-AF2F-437D-8CC9-71C31B4F1251.jpeg
 
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Guppy

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,973
Location
Cleveland, OH
I don't know, I think the major makers are all doing a fine job. I feel like this will tend toward unfairly (or not) negative comments, and then the responses to them will devolve into flamewars.

To Aero: Thank you for the outstanding customer service and unwavering dedication to quality. Maybe go with beefier main zips for some styles, particularly when you go with the real heavy leather. Otherwise, I've been quite happy.

To Vanson: I miss the old comp weight, but I understand the leather supplier situation and I hope that things get better for you.

To Langlitz: You guys are awesome and you know what you're doing. The only thing I can tell you to do is specific customizations on my orders. But mostly that'll be phrased as a question, "Do you think it'd be a good idea if..."

To Johnson: I'm so glad the fire didn't put you out of business. There've been so many great makers who went under during the last 50 years, it'd be a shame to lose any more of them.

To Thedi: Never lose that innovative spirit. Nearly everything you do is an instant classic. And thanks for being so great to work with as a direct customer, and for being so accessible.

To Schott: I just wish all of your line was as good as the stuff you do for special editions and collaborations with other makers. But mainly, please stick with numbered sizing for your leather jackets, rather than SMLXL.

To Lost Worlds: The gear is legit, I wish the website was better. But in a way, for better or worse, it does suit you.

To all: Stay in business, keep the quality up, and when the time comes, be sure to pass it along to people who truly understand and care about the product and the customer.
 

Fonzie

One Too Many
Messages
1,341
Location
Australia
I don't know, I think the major makers are all doing a fine job. I feel like this will tend toward unfairly (or not) negative comments, and then the responses to them will devolve into flamewars.

To Aero: Thank you for the outstanding customer service and unwavering dedication to quality. Maybe go with beefier main zips for some styles, particularly when you go with the real heavy leather. Otherwise, I've been quite happy.

To Vanson: I miss the old comp weight, but I understand the leather supplier situation and I hope that things get better for you.

To Langlitz: You guys are awesome and you know what you're doing. The only thing I can tell you to do is specific customizations on my orders. But mostly that'll be phrased as a question, "Do you think it'd be a good idea if..."

To Johnson: I'm so glad the fire didn't put you out of business. There've been so many great makers who went under during the last 50 years, it'd be a shame to lose any more of them.

To Thedi: Never lose that innovative spirit. Nearly everything you do is an instant classic. And thanks for being so great to work with as a direct customer, and for being so accessible.

To Schott: I just wish all of your line was as good as the stuff you do for special editions and collaborations with other makers. But mainly, please stick with numbered sizing for your leather jackets, rather than SMLXL.

To Lost Worlds: The gear is legit, I wish the website was better. But in a way, for better or worse, it does suit you.

To all: Stay in business, keep the quality up, and when the time comes, be sure to pass it along to people who truly understand and care about the product and the customer.
Very classy contribution, well done sir. I tip my hat to you and fully agree with your suggestions.
 

Coriu

One Too Many
Messages
1,146
Location
Virginia
...don't underestimate how radical a time of change this is. It is critical to get in tune with the youth. I'm talkin teenagers. They are your future customers and they are really into business ethics and sustainability. If you can't speak to how that hide got to your shop, you are gonna be in trouble.
 
Messages
14,657
Location
Chicago
Interesting question…
My thought is that I’m not nearly enough of a frequent buyer of any of these brands to set up a statement of demands. I’m not buying these new nearly as much as I used to. The interest level isn’t there and I’m finding more appreciation in the vintage jackets of late so…I can’t really say I’d feel comfortable putting a list wants on the table. It won’t change my purchase approach.
There’s always room for improvement and some really nice suggestions have been put forth. I think we know Aero and Thedi read the board and will see the feedback. I don’t think it’ll make much difference. These companies will all do just fine without us.

I will also say that while there are slight things I’d change about my Aero’s, they have always met my expectations. Same with Vanson and LW. Thedi I had was great too.

There’s almost always something that could be “a little better” with any jacket. The folly lies in trying to find something perfect, rather than something you simply love to wear.
 
Messages
15,222
The interest level isn’t there and I’m finding more appreciation in the vintage jackets of late so…I can’t really say I’d feel comfortable putting a list wants on the table. It won’t change my purchase approach.

That's the thing - Maybe I want to get pulled in 'cause at this point I know exactly what to expect, which makes things a bit boring. I also know why I don't want to leave my money with makers I've bought from, but it's not because I don't want to... If they fixed the issues I stated above, I can't think of a single reason why I wouldn't give them another go. Ultimately, it's what makes me happy.

Plus, you can see things more objectively when viewed from from a distance. From the outside. That, combined with your experience with all these makers only adds merit to your opinion, one that any maker could only benefit from. Field Leathers is one maker everyone should learn from.

For instance, right now, my Aero HWM alternative is this German made jacket that I got dirt cheap. Am I happy with that jacket? Sure. It's similar to HWM, it's heavy, well made, leather's nice and it's mega-comfortable. But would I be happier if Aero HWM did everything this German cheapo does, even though it'd cost me 50x more? Infinitely more so.
 
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