Friday, March 2, 2012

Wool, Leather, and Canvass: Spring is Coming

 Well the winter never really came this year.  I am behind on my posting.  I really feel badly about it but my Himel Brothers  brand has been eating up all my time.  I am making a quick post to celebrate some of the most lovely mixed media I have seen in a while.  Mixed media really refers to the elements that make up a jacket that are not as much aesthetic as a way to combine natural materials to cope with differing service needs.  In the days before synthetics, combining different organic materials often adapted jackets and outerwear to handle more inclement conditions.  One of my brilliant Swiss customers sent me this Heron he purchased and broke in.  It has a great patina but more importantly I combined original 1930s wool blankets to create a vintage liner to the jacket for extra warmth.  These types of modifications were often done by workers in the 1920s and 30s to make their jackets more practical for service.  This Heron can be purchased at VMC Originals in Zurich.

This tradition of using leather as a reinforcement is a real heritage.  Pre 1900 leather was often used as a liner to wool jackets.  Odd but true, the smart design of the 1930s reversed this theme and outerwear makers realized leather really deserved to serve as reinforcement on high wear areas.  Check out the Montgomery Ward coat, the  leather shows up on all the high wear zones increasing durability.

 The leather elbow pads almost appear to be similar in design and construction to 1960s flat track racing jackets by Bates, Lancer, Abc and other great racing companies.  Same idea different era.
Wool for warmth, Canvas for waterproofness and light weight and leather for wear, as leather becomes quite hard on its own in extreme cold.