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The new official TOJ thread, 2011 - Page 1126
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it's near black. It's about as dark as brown can go without being black, really. The zippers that will go on it will have zippers with brown taping a tone lighter, so that will help lighten the brown up and bring it out. Black leather is usually blue-black and so it reflects 'cold' and slightly bluish - but this dark brown goatskin will look black away from light, brown in light, and refract warmly.
I guess if the regular brown lambskin and calf is 'milk chocolate' then this dark brown goatskin is 'dark chocolate'
Sounds great Drew - have just placed an order for a dark brown goatskin collared moto. Already have a brown CWU-45, so it'll be great to have a different shade and texture. Cant wait!
Why do people get drawn to the CM so much? Just curious. It's among the weaker styles, I feel. I have already given my opinion on what I think the best makeups are, but it appears no one listens to me, lol.
No, absolutely not. If you removed the button flaps on the sleeves, you could have a nice hooded variation of a donkey jacket, but this would be an entirely different coat and not as nice as the duffle.
The CM is a safe jacket. It's something you could buy in your mid to late twenties, wear for ten years, and never really look out of place. The downside of this safety is it is a pretty boring jacket.
I have a brown lamb CM and feel that it's the perfect leather jacket. (For sale unfortunately since I started long distance running http://www.styleforum.net/t/281076/toj-brown-collared-moto-48-for-sale)
It is, in my opionion, the easiest jacket to wear. It's the cleanest of them all. I'm considering a second ToJ piece and leaning towards CWU/MDR/4ZIPDR but I keep coming back to wanting a perfect fitting CM, imo its the perfect mix of them all. It's cool as a MDR (without looking like John Travolta in Grease) and as casual as a Bomber/CWU.
This set of photos:
Also, the CM looks the most basic and versatile of the jackets.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
First and foremost, it goes without saying that men's clothing design in modern times is mostly based on a remix philosophy - that is, classical (and non-classic, ubiquitous), existing garments are referenced, they're outright copied, or thought to be improved upon with some sort of changes. Some or all of that. The changes can be subtle, the changes can be wide and sweeping and the end product will give off a completely new feeling, but the designer's job is to rope in what they like about something and then sort of keep riffing in a groove - naturally, the basics of that would be staying in key at the very least, then there's further levels of mastery. We add or subtract ideas from garments so that they communicate different things.
Workwear and militaria, uniform type things that are the bulk of a modern man's casual wardrobe (this is assuming they take their traditional formal wear seriously and it's a separate philosophy, or not, even) - these in their original state were designed to carry tools or weapons, perform with durability and little mind to fit ... and the general take on fashion is the opposite, where fit and aesthetics are usually the prime objective - the form factors and details are appropriated because we like nostalgia, we like the idea of dressing ourselves in a certain way to communicate our feelings, etc, etc. I don't want to write the fashion book here, so let's leave that at that and people can read better books on the topic if they want to.
Anyway, take that basis, and then look at all the modern clothing out there, all of the popular runway shows, the midrange stuff that doesn't get walked and comes in at lower prices, even the derivative fast-fashion stuff that sells for cheap as 'clothes' to most and maybe 'filler' to the obsessed. Some things are trends, some things are veritable classics that no one can protest, and some things are a bit off the beaten path, usually for the freer minds. There's so many examples of common themes, so many items that are similar yet different. For example, why are MA-1's continually popular? Well, there are tons of factors, obviously the discussion will bring up a number of inspirations and references to subcultures (which could be said to be trends) - one could say, for example, Raf Simons made a bunch of oversized MA-1's in the early part of the decade, inspired by European youth counter-cultural groups. They appropriated these military surplus garments in their original form, and Raf re-interpreted the fit and combined with other items in an imaginative way, a concept. Why do these people wear MA-1's and militaria anyway, they're not all in the military? Well, whether belonging to a militant group or not, there's an element where man romanticizes war, there's lot of countries (apart from the USA) that have conscripted armies that both teach a way of dressing and issue mil-surp to young men and so they're both highly available and just 'there', there's the old practice of wearing mil-surp long after being discharged or for those just having a fascination with the functionality and quality of those garments, where militaria as street fashion rose like things such as jeans transitioning from laborer's clothes to casual fashion. Even in Japan, where there is no real army and war is not romanticized, there's no conscription or militant youth, there's an artificially created element that romanticizes Americana, that energy, and in the present day they make even better MA-1's and US militaria than the US as means to an end product, a look. etc, etc, etc, etc.
So in re: to the above wall of text, where does TOJ fit into this idea? Well, as you can see, I like to riff on classical garments, like many others. I have certain pieces of clothing I really like and want to share the idea of, I have clothing I want, but done in my own way (meaning they don't currently exist but I'd like to make them) - isn't the latter the basis for even the low-level printed tee 'streetwear' labels with 2 screenprinted tees to their menu and their brand of creativity?
TOJ has gone on for almost 3 years now, I come up with new things to make here and there, and I spend a lot of time refining what I've already made (maybe more than most) because that's my personality, I am a perfectionist and I wake up feeling different about ideas after having a relationship with them for awhile, I like to think this is normal for some, at least.
I make these designs with my own taste, I make them to the point where I feel they best represent something, and I hope for people to like them. The way the world works though, is that one person is behind the decks here, and you can't open sesame your own remix if you're just standing out there on the floor.
Some of the differences between TOJ and other sources of clothing are that we have a different model for production and sales, and so it affords the ability to make things to order and specifications that people who deal only in big lots can only dream of. We can do one-off, one-shot things, part of that ability is in the workflow, part of that ability is in practice and talent and experience after making the same dish many times already. Sometimes we're able to move on to new things because we've put a new skill in the repertoire and it opens the doors to something else. All of this, however, has to be controlled and parsed by me, not because I need to be king of the hill, but because there needs to be someone at the helm to direct the best way of doing things with the material and human resources at hand. I know who I am working with, their talents and weaknesses (to avoid), the materials are chosen by me, the fits and the patterning is based on my own creation, so the direction is done by myself. If you're just joining this thread or recently heard about TOJ, maybe heard via someone else that 'TOJ does custom jackets' or something along those lines - well, there's some color in that statement, but the idea is a bit more refined than that. We make our clothes to-order because a) it's a decent workflow and affords quality and as little waste as possible, as I've said, but b) I am interested in this idea of fit and think that it makes a big difference in the final product. Value comes with function too. Fit is a worthy customization (and that too, within reason) but the idea that you can salad bar a jacket together without listening to us, that is not so worthy an idea. From behind a monitor, you aren't going to be able to reproduce the knowledge and factors needed to produce a good garment. Not that it doesn't happen, but nobody should try to Kanye and go into a 3-star restaurant and say 'hey, I know you have a big trained staff back there working on producing a turned-out meal after much editing and research that few could reproduce without much time and hassle, but why don't you let me go back into your kitchen and cook my own meal with my skillz? I think it'll be fun" - I mean, yeah, everybody likes to DIY, customize stuff - but my kitchen is not yours, in this sense. It was never meant to be, and most other producers of clothing never get questioned about things like this. You may specify how you'd like your steak cooked, or you can put together a menu from the a la carte page, but how many people could go in as diners and dictate through the waiter a better menu off the cuff, off the menu, than what the chef is offering that day? It might be possible, but it's 99.999% improbable IMO. That's not to say the creator is perfect, that's to say the creation is the work of the creator, and if you consider yourself a creator, then you should create your own things on your own terms, and appreciate both sides of that equation.
To add to that, fit, again - I have a bunch of different ways to ensure that people can order the right size, and it's not complicated.
Deleting things from my designs is stupid, IMO. We don't make things a certain way without a reason for being. That reason is because we've tried things a certain way and the product you see is the one decided upon after prototyping, research, work. There are elements (and these are usually very superficial, moveable things) able to be remixed, but not from the salad bar perspective. For example, the 4-zip MDR, I think that's a nice remix, it was put together from a few things as if it were a protein, a sauce, and a side, but it's a plate by itself in the end that works nicely. There are some things that just don't work, and we tell you when, because we know.
The UMDR, that's gdl's and will probably not show up on my menu, and to me that's an idea of seasoning rather than cooking, it's somewhere down at the end of the recipe. Zipper angles and lengths are not affected in that, whereas people make requests for re-patternings, re-workings that are in a grey area that mean we would have to one-shot them, which is not a good way to make clothes - most custom ideas are things that would be the top of a recipe or also in the procedural steps of the recipe, in other words. If you don't understand what I mean, then I guess you just don't.
One difference between the food analogies and the TOJ setup is that while you're not allowed to cook in my kitchen, just as anybody else would have it - I keep an open kitchen and am honest, and sometimes even generous and charitable about my offerings. Some things get priced not based on actual cost, they get reduced because of the way I perceive their value, like varsity jackets and suedes - I should and would like to sell those for more, considering their item cost, but I know they're not gonna get as much play or mileage as a leather, the intrinsic value of an item, I am saying - so I sell things for what I feel they are worth, and secondarily sell things for what they cost. I tell you my 'daily specials' as they were, and the difference here is that a restaurant does this because they're trying to push some sort of surplus they have or want to get rid of something with an expiry date before losing money - but we don't work like that because we don't stock materials, we buy them per order - there is no expiry date on this stuff. There's finite amounts and indeed a time limit to where a key material will eventually be sold out if it's not purchased in time, but we're not dealing with deterioration here like a restaurant. My 'specials' are my honest opinion of when I feel something will come together to produce some NLS, I don't want everybody to buy it up (and there's never enough for that to happen anyway) - I want the people who are out there listening and understanding everything that's in the above wall of text, I want to give those people the chance to get something that might both suit them well, and then go beyond that in quality and value, to work out this relationship between raw material and end product in the best way. That's the stuff of dreams. You guys haven't seen many pictures of aeglus' whisky calfskin DR, but that goes into this category.
The fit, and that's the real offering here - that's offered not so you can be your own pattern-maker, it's so that we can offer any number of people a reasonably well-fitting garment, and that's in part due to the fact that many people (myself included) find it hard to do that off the rack. That's the motive for my offering the option to MTM. Look at real world fits of off the peg leather jackets, and you will see what I mean. A great fit and style for an OTR leather is mostly serendipitous, or at the very least, often takes a lot of money and work to look effortless. People say 'dude you don't make clothing in my size' - that is beyond belief, these are the very people I was hoping to reach out to. I wasn't intending to start a big and tall store, or a custom tailor's here, but MTM implies that if you follow the steps we've laid out (key words there) to get a good fit, we'll get you into a jacket.
I do take offense to the troll comments here and there that pop up in this thread that say things like 'I looked through the gallery and only half of the fits were good' - one, because that's not true, take a look again, and two - the fit is not made upon final approval by us, we can't take your money and just guess your size. We need final confirmation from the customer. There are people who don't listen to us at all when it comes to sizing and then don't mention that when it comes time to put up their fit pics (there's a lot of these people, btw) there's people who buy these MTM (for someone else) items used off B+S and it's not always mentioned that the sizing wasn't for them, yet post pics, there's guys in their houseclothes taking webcam pics in strange poses, there's a lot of outliers that are 2D - there's a backstory to these things. The sizing instructions both follow logic, and also happen to be the simplest ways to get one into a well-fitting TOJ - these are the genesis of the very idea, so if these things are ignored, then obviously the end result will not be as perfect as they could be.
When a customer goes beyond ordering up something that fits their body and style, and crosses over into dictating design changes - rarely turns out good. I said this over a year ago, maybe two, and now that it's three years on, I still feel the same way - we've made one-off customs, and special off-menu requests at various prices, but I can count on my hand the ones I liked and would consider the best use of the resources, it's still the same even now. If say something like 'this dark brown goatskin will be great as a 4-zip MDR' - that comment shouldn't be recreated to mean the dark brown goatskin will be great in everything, there are capabilities and incapabilities included in my statements. I'm not weezing you on products, in fact I know that few people listen to me when it comes to this stuff (lol) - you realize that the MDR takes more of the expensive hardware than anything else, right, but is priced the same as the other jackets? Like I said, I can cost some things, and then I feel like I have to comp some elements due to the opportunities for people to get to a point, and so i just do, I throw in some things for free on some of the pieces - an MDR doesn't suit everybody, so we offer other cuts and styles that do - so I level the playing field like that as well. Obviously, not all items are equal, and that is to be expected. If I just ran everything at their exact cost and priced on a set number formula, everything on the menu would be more expensive and the prices would skyrocket.
All of this said, I am not closing the door and refusing entrance to the customizations if they're worthy, it's a case by case basis. I am most certainly not challenging everybody to come up with an idea, either - I am going to reject 99.999% of them probably. Again, I can count on my hands the number of good custom items I've made, to this day. At the end of the day, I am still pushing forward and making clothes that I hope people will enjoy and I can also be proud to put the label on; I don't want to wake up in the morning and think 'fuck, today we are going to make some ugly clothes that I know are wrong, but I am going to attach my name to for a few dollars' - there's obviously a lot in that statement there, and it's not black/white, you vs me, me vs the world - what it is, is that there's a pool of resources here and some people will be happy to get the highest quality item based on what I think is already a generous amount of configurations and options (the opportunity to get a perfect fit, a choice in materials and colors) vs people who would be more happy to just order something against the grain not for the item itself, but for the experience of doing that. I understand both exist, and so I sometimes entertain the latter if it seems worth it to both parties - TOJ is still in the end, a service-oriented thing, within reasonability - but all of this is to make the disclaimer and identify what it is I (Drew) want to make and label my work.
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