Monday, July 28, 2008

Insainity, Ebay and the New Feedback!!!

I rarely like to use my forum to complain about others but O joy O bliss I received my first negative feedback on ebay in a long while, and it was the first under ebay's new feedback system. I have been on ebay since it opened, in fact I tried to create my own ebay before it even existed. Believe it or not the earliest adopter of the online auction for collectibles format was in fact a bunch of buddies of mine in the vintage clothing business. Our secret Cabal of dealers were way ahead of the ebay game. I have both fortunately and unfortunately been with ebay through the entire rise and fall of internet selling. Wow, have they ever gone astray. The great irony is even though there have been failed attempts to compete with ebay, now that they truly have alienated their seller base, no one wants to step up to the plate and finally offer a competative marketplace.
That aside, I got my first negative feedback today. Wow, the new rules are so awesome. Not only did I get it from a guy who didnt even tell me he was unhappy but you should see the affect on my rating. Each feedback takes me down a full percentage point and now I cant even respond when I run into a problem buyer. Worst is there are financial penalties for me at a time when ebay is already charging sellers so much that they are looking for alternatives that are cheaper to sell through. I could go on but suffice to say, you combine a guy who doesnt understand vintage leather, and a personality disorder and a disfunctional public company and you end up with one very unhappy ebay seller.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Leather Fetish and Normalacy: Which are You?

So what is the line between fetish, obsession and "normal"? Hmmmm, my wife goes oragasmic over Cole Haan bags, and Manolo shoes...I sometimes think I am married to Ms. Marcos! I've often wondered if my collection of leather is obsessional myself, with the piles of jackets I have accumulated. Just when I though...hmmm maybe Im normal...I don't dress up in leather thongs and go to big parties for whippings (not that there is anything wrong with that) I remember back to my first really cool jacket and how excited I was when I bought it. I remember the creak of the hard leather as it folded and broke in, the sense of protection that it offered and that smell! Well, now I am remembering why Nancy gets so excited about that bag and those shoes...and hell Im not the only one who obviously has this fascination just check out some of the links on my blog or this guy!!!!

Its not like its weird I just forget that I have it and dont know why!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Great Old Companies and their Trademarks

One of the really cool aspects of good old leather companies were their design trademarks. Not silly design trademarks in the legal sense (although those were very common in the early days) but more design trademarks that were style markers. If you infringed on another maker's style you risked having your brand identified as another maker's, so different brands naturally defined themselves in order to differentiate themselves. One must speculate that in the old days there was more value in "being unique" than ripping off your competitor. To be fair this was not always the case. In the 20s and 30s many companies parroted each other redefining each others style often making subtle changes and even improvements on design. I remember an Admiral Byrd jacket that had a patent pending on a pocket design in the 30s that became common place by the 1940s. By the 1950s and the development of many companies who competed against each other to make common styles specs defined by the U.S. Army or police forces, many companies started to develop trademark styles. Harley Davidson defined itself with the smooth back and d-pocket of the cycle champ and cycle queen, and many lesser companies produced knock offs of the cut all the way into the 80s (Brimaco is the classic example) but many many companies promoted their trade mark style and were rarely copied. Passiac Leathers was one of those companies. The created the diagonal pocket round neck cafe racer. Those diagonal pockets were their trademark! Rarely have I ever seen a Passiac that wasn't a basic black cafe racer, but this one combines their trademark style with the exotic colours of a true 1960s cafe racer a la Bates!!!!!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Children, Sophistication and Designing for Grownups

One of the fascinating trends I see in clothing design is the compulsion modern consumers have to dress their young children in adult clothing. More designers seemingly create adult-style fashions to cash in on what marketers see as a lucrative demographic. Personally I find modern children's clothing somewhat obscene, especially clothing that "sexualizes" the wearer. That being said, there is a long tradition of adult-style clothing for children that is both sophisticated and attractive. Often the more colorful designs reserved for the fringes of adulthood served well on the younger set, especially given the rugged durability and functionality of the clothing. Check out these amazing two-tone wool motorcycle style jackets from the 1930s. Obviously not designed for 8 year-old motorcyclists they have a beauty and sophistication that is a welcome look. Also, the rugged and fun design of the Sears fidelity youth jacket of the 1950s. Note the simple spotwork on the front half-belt which is much more about aesthetic than back support and fit.
From the design perspective it might not be the best protective design for a horsehide jacket but from a style perspective, very classy, very sophisticated indeed! This belt design only shows up on the Sears children's line of horsehide motorcycle jackets.