Thursday, April 10, 2008

I have been overwhelmed today with the response to my ebay auctions and have been answering questions galore relating to leather jackets. In the whirring noise of people trying to find, buy and sell pieces I often forget why I started the blog and why I am so into these leather jackets. It all started when I bought an Endura café racer flat track jacket years ago, I tried it on and I felt like a rock star. Those days are long gone, I was 28 then and I’m 41 now, my rock star status has faded with my hairline. What has remained is an intense knowledge of the many thousands of jackets I have handled over the years. I feel a nostalgia connected to these jackets. Similarly, I often feel a strange outrage when I see what other people consider fashion , or quality garments. So many of my mental meanderings follow from my sense of outrage whenever I see someone wearing a crappy piece of fashion leather.
I am going to preface this posting with the fact that I am not a safety expert, and I only have limited research into ideas around safety. I personally find the modern import jackets made with their poor stitching and crappy plastic inserts a ridiculous attempt to create a sense of security for the people who buy them.

Recent independent tests by Motorcycle News (MCN, 2003), in the UK found only 4 out of 18 leather suits f from the major European manufacturers, passed all the tests against the European Standard. Twelve of these suits failed the burst test due to either thread and/or leather failure and impact protectors failed in eight suits.

Ok, so exo skeleton wearers keep this in mind. My step dad was a coroner. For years we discussed the many many motorcycle accident victims that he would get every spring, summer and fall. It seems there is a prevailing opinion that impact with a solid object at a high rate of speed results in death. All the plastic bits in the world will not stop this inevitability. From years of seeing quality leather jackets that have been through slides and spills, the most important attribute I see is a hard thick leather that is abrasion resistant and allows for a slide, combined with proper construction and stitching that prevents the outfit from coming apart. Anecdotally, I don’t trust food made by slave farm labour, children’s toys, or leather suits. Here is a great quote from the Motorcycle Council of N.S.W.:

Most manufacturers are finally including impact protectors in all the right places. The abrasion resistance scores for textile jackets have also improved significantly. However it is pointless to have high abrasion resistant materials (leather or textile), if the stitching fails and the suit bursts apart when you hit the road. Quality of construction is critical.

So there you have it, why ever buy any item of clothing that is undermade, undersewn, or lacks the logic and purpose to which it is built. In my opinion, no leather jacket, for fashion, riding, working or just plain screwing around should be made with less then this standard in mind. Check out this 70s Vanson that I have up for sale and the abrasion on the back…sliding is the most important characteristic of full hide leather. I would love to see someone riding their bicycle in a Prada leather jacket and falling off…I like my standards, lol.