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Leather Jackets: Post Pictures of the Best You've Seen/Owned?

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by RatherAnOddball, Jul 17, 2008.

  1. LaymanX

    LaymanX Senior member

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    Well first of all, I would never even begin to compare MMM to Aero. The only thing they'd have in common is that they're constructed with the hide of a dead animal.

    So let me attempt to be more objective here:

    - Aero offers FQHH leather, a leather which simply has different properties than other more common leathers. It has a different sheen, grain, heft, patina. It's similar to the difference between shell cordovan and calf skin.
    - Aero jackets are made by highly trained *single* machinists as someone else pointed out above, as opposed to being made in Asia by an assembly line.
    - Someone in the ToJ thread noted that they feel like they could poke a hole in their jacket with their bare finger. On the other hand, I feel like I couldn't rip apart my Aero jackets unless I used some power tools.

    So, a different rarer leather, made in a storied highly trained leatherworking shop, made to last for generations. To me, that's quality.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2014
  2. LaymanX

    LaymanX Senior member

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    Just wanted to note that I'd be using different criteria altogether if I was indeed looking at RO, MMM, etc. I would consider fit, silhouette, design aspects that set it apart from other jackets in that class.

    In my opinion, the concept of 'quality' does not mean the same across all leather jackets.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Synthese

    Synthese Darth Millennial Dubiously Honored Moderator

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    I think we're talking in circles around the main issue here, which is that men generally aren't allowed to declared they like something just because they do (same way we're not allowed to say we like "children's books," etc.), so you run into this constant idea of "quality" being the excuse for enjoying something. For me, once you've gone beyond the extremes, you're dealing with specifics. As in, "Do I prefer the silky hand of TOJ lamb, or the arm-crushing thickness of Aero's FQHH? The relatively supple calf of Margiela leathers? The thin lamb of Rick Owens?" If you're on a bike and you need skid protection, obviously one of these products is higher "quality" in its specificity relating to your activity. Otherwise, I generally think that quality means, "when I flex, it doesn't feel like the jacket is about to bust; it doesn't feel like the leather's going to rip if I pinch it; it doesn't feel like the stitching is coming loose; the zipper isn't plastic, etc." How it ages is a big part of things, too (how creases form, how the dye fades) - and again that's largely down to preference. It seems that most folks on this site, when they ask about the quality of things, it's because they don't know what to buy, don't have experience with leather, and are looking for that one feature that's going to push them over the edge (not an insult).
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2014
    12 people like this.
  4. ridethecliche

    ridethecliche Senior member

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    ???
     
  5. ChrisGold

    ChrisGold Senior member

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    I think your last statement above really hits the core of the subject. For each genre of jacket, the word "quality" may mean something different.

    I agree with what Synth just noted, as most of the producers that we discuss on this and other forums are inherently well made compared to lower priced, mass market jackets.
     
  6. brad-t

    brad-t Senior member

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    What's confusing about this? Women are accused of vanity for simply liking things without purpose. Men generally seek to rationalize their interests.
     
    4 people like this.
  7. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Just to compare Vanson to Aero, the Aero jackets I've seen seem to have more uniform thread tension throughout, and have a (slightly) finer stitch density, for a similar weight leather. Look at a non-covered or busted seam against the light, and apply slight tension.

    No, it's not obvious to most people, and I have tons to learn. This is a good reason to listen to retailers who are knowledgeable and stock both brands, and thus have less reason to give a biased answer.
     
  8. Adroit

    Adroit Senior member

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    Really interesting discussion this morning.

    Horween FQHH is good leather, but definitely not for everyone. It is very thick and lacking pliability. Moreover, many Horween FQHHs lack character and depth – they are rather flat. I personally much prefer certain Italian HHs and Shinki. Of note, you can order Aero jackets with Italian HH through Thurston – IMHO, a much better option as compared to Horween.

    Someone asked if Aero is the only company that uses Horween leather. No. Other companies make jackets out of Horween leathers, including Alexander, Schott and Lost Worlds.

    In my experience (I own an Aero Plainsman made out of Italian HH), Aero quality is good, but not on a par with certain other brands. For example, RMC jackets are better made. RMC (among others) has mastered the details.
     
  9. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    Very much agree. I also think this is why design seems to be so underrated on the CM side of the board (and boards like it, such as AAAC and The London Lounge). Partly because it's easier to when you're dealing with a set of clothes that have a relatively narrower range of designs, but also because design seems less macho than talking about quality.

    People new to fashion seem to want to make sure they're getting some kind of objective quality for their money. Like you might want to consider if you were buying a car (is this thing going to break down on the highway). But so few of the brands talked about on this board break down in a consistent and meaningful way.


    TBH, I don't think I've ever seen a high-end garment with varying stitch tension. I have with cheap stuff made in Mexico, but that stuff isn't discussed here. I also don't know if finer stitch density for similar weight leather is necessarily a good thing. Leather has other properties that might require a lower stitch count, and I don't know how a general consumer is supposed to judge that without some very sophisticated machinery. As you know, there are ways to test the strength of a leather (which would affect a manufacturer's decision on stitch densities), but those machines require training to operate and something like $100,000+ to buy.

    I assume Vanson and Aero hold up fine, esp for those of us on clothing forums who rarely ride bikes. I would think the biggest difference then is in design. Meaning, what looks better on someone.


    This is exactly the kind of vague language that I wish was defined more. No idea what this kind of stuff means, TBH.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2014
  10. Adroit

    Adroit Senior member

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    Precision in cut and stitching. My Aero jacket has cuts and stitching that are not straight. In contrast, my RMC jackets have precise, flawless cuts and stitching. I am not suggesting that RMC has cornered the market on precise manufacturing. I am merely using RMC as an example.

    For me, "quality" is a function of leather quality, manufacturing precision, and hardware; and leather quality is a function of density, durability, pliability, tanning, texture, grain, finishing, and subjective character. Certain components of leather quality lean more towards the objective, whereas other components of leather quality are clearly more subjective. In contrast, manufacturing precision is largely objective.
     
  11. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    The only time I've seen a non-precise stitch or cut was in cheaply made stuff in Latin America. Not even the stuff that's imported here, but the stuff that's made and sold domestically there. I'm not questioning whether your Aero (or the Aero you handled) has an imprecise cut or stitch. I'm just saying it's so incredibly rare for garments in the US to have these qualities -- let alone sold through a high-end line -- that I can't even fathom it.

    I think there are indeed better and worse leathers. I just think that between two similar makers, the difference in quality is not something that a non-specialist (who doesn't have the necessary training and expensive equipment) can discern. It's sort of like bespoke clients on menswear boards talking about the difference in quality between Holland & Sherry and Minnis or something. If there is a difference in quality (and not just "characteristic"), this isn't something you can tell with your naked eye and simple hands. A lot of what gets talked about then is, IMO, mostly BS.

    Very useful and relevant post:

    http://sleevehead.blogspot.com/2013/09/menswear-let-me-introduce-you-to.html

    TL;DR for blog post: Differences in quality is a complicate subject that requires science. What gets talked about on menswear boards is mostly folk reasoning and BS. To seriously discern quality between two similar things, you need expensive equipment, not your hands.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2014
    3 people like this.
  12. Abraxis

    Abraxis Senior member

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    Unless you are an industry insider or have the knowledge of a craftsman or producer of raw materials/treated materials... or have been directly informed by such, "Quality" is just an impression you get from a variety of signals that may or may not overlap with others' sets of signals. Plus it's nice to think that the things you like are of the utmost quality because that implies that have a good eye and good taste. Perhaps a better eye and taste than others that favor things of lesser "Quality."

    I think I'm starting to move away from the concept of "Quality" but it is so intuitive and habitual it's still the word that pops into my head when I see something that moves me.

    Nowadays I favor more the concept of "Story." I like pieces that have a lot of thought put behind them. The concept that drives the design. The details and design elements that came to be and the story of how those decisions were made and the story behind the form/function. The story behind the materials sourced and how they were treated and put together. The story of the craftsmen they used and their history, etc. Maybe even the story of how they approached how they introduced their product to the market or their retail strategy e.g. only popup shops or only at small musicians' shows, what have you.

    I mean in the end its just marketing, but its interesting how much care and thought was put into a piece and not only do I get off of that, but it is interesting to share with others too. Will I flag motherfuckers down to tell them about the thread used to stitch my pants? You betcha! Well partially kidding, but people who do ask about my clothes best be prepared for some aspberging.

    Fundamentally though, for me, story is always coupled to design. That's how I differentiate design from pure art. Design has a specific thought and purpose behind each design element. Art may not have a clear thought driving it but may be driven by emotion or pure intuition that hasn't been refined into a cognitive thought, etc. So in my mind, the more elements to a story behind a piece, the more design happened and likely more human effort and cost was put into producing it.

    Or the designer got me on their clever marketing, well then, if so, bravo, have my dollars for some shoes made of leather that was buried in the Afghan desert for 10 years. Though, in the end the top most filter is "does it look cool" and if it fits that and is vaguely durable and long lasting and I wear it... so as long as it has that going for it even if the story is BS then money well spent.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2014
    3 people like this.
  13. Adroit

    Adroit Senior member

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    Die,

    Ironically, jackets made on foreign assembly lines are often the most precise and consistent, as compared to hand/bench made jackets. In my experience, hand made jackets often have visible imprecision.

    Gotta run.
     
  14. sinnedk

    sinnedk Senior member

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    Folks... to each their own on the quality...

    I think every member has their own checklist which includes fit, comfort, resilience, leather thickness, etc. I'd avoid sacrificing certain things like comfort, its a bitch to break in a leather jacket. I read nightmare stories about the stiffness of Aero.

    Also there is a big line between the leather jacket makers and designers. I don't believe most high fashion designers will come close on the quality their production lines are different and sometimes much bigger.

    I think synth made a pretty good point that covered most of the bases...
     
  15. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    This is my point exactly, and sorta the same thing I've said for years.

    1) There are objective measures of "quality", but they are mostly irrelevant to most consumers, including retailers, unless you are working directly with manufacturers.

    2) Don't rationalize what you like.

    3) Don't let good or bad styling be your guide. Use your imagination.
     
  16. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    I hate both of these.

    Incidentally, there are things that do require special skills. For example, some of the techniques used by petit mains or really skilled tailors are not easy to learn. And you try sewing together 5 layers if 32 ounce denim.
     
    1 person likes this.
  17. Hirsh

    Hirsh Senior member

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    Precisely

    I don't follo fashion- I wear classic pieces from the best quality makers I can find, from Japanese denim to bespoke Savile Row/Italian shirts/Lobb boots etc

    Don't generalise
     
  18. Surferbruce

    Surferbruce Member

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    Man when I read the TOJ thread and people waiting forever and consider what you get for the money from Vanson, it's just crazy.
     
  19. Dairy Phobic

    Dairy Phobic Senior member

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    anyone familiar with The Kooples' leather qualities? Particularly on their shearling jackets?
     
  20. TheObserver

    TheObserver Senior member

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    Vanson x SF produce solely 1 model though. At least for now.
     

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