It's a common question here at Himel HQ—perhaps the most frequently asked of all. Here are five reasons why Himel products aren't just expensive—they're worth it.
Our team works out of our Toronto, Ontario manufacturing shop. They're experts in their craft, including techniques that are fully outside the purview of contemporary brands. The cost of living in Canada is much higher than other countries where leather jacket manufacture takes place, and we pay our employees accordingly to that standard. In fact well beyond that standard, in keeping with their life long skill sets and expertise.
We don't settle. Our leather is sourced from the absolute best tanneries in the world—Shinki, Horween, Victoria—and we order only proprietary batches specially formulated through collaboration with the tannery owners. Our thread is 100% cotton American thread, made at one of the only factories left in the USA. Our hardware? Authentically sourced vintage reproduction, usually Japanese, or one of our spectacular NOS (New Old Stock) finds. That means real 1930s, 40s, or 50s zippers—talk about a limited stock! David travels to the tanneries and monitors the production and manufacture of most of the materials that go into the jackets, this includes zippers, linings, leathers and other parts whenever possible.
Himel Bros. uses an extremely high stitch count by comparison to other makers, in order to accurately represent the manufacturing techniques of the very best vintage jacket makers. We also use 100% cotton American-made thread, which means our sewing takes significantly longer—up to three times longer—than other manufacturers. When you put on a Himel, you can feel that quality—the seams don't give. Each jacket feels like a second skin, and each stitch is inspected and assured by some of the most talented people in the business. Leather is cleanly cut, skived, taped and glued. Stitches are tight and clean and in many cases hand-knotted at the finish. There are few companies left that can make and alter a jacket for perfect fit based on posture, build, and unique bodily dimensions. We can do that and have a near perfect success rate, as our testimonials show both here and on the internet.
From the payscale of our few employees, to the wastewater treatment of every tannery we patronize, to the way we deal with retailers, we consider ethics in every aspect of our business. When you put on your Himel Bros. horsehide leather jacket, you're not just putting on a handmade piece of stylish clothing—you're also putting on the hard, paid-for, work, of a small number of skilled artisans. We try to protect the environment, and our tanneries meet stringent European, American, Canadian and Japanese environmental regulations.
The polestar of the Himel brand, and David Himel's personal motto, is: "One Good Thing." You've probably seen that motto, at the top of our website, in our emails, in our instagram bio, but what does it actually mean?
Our guiding light is quality—and life, indisputably, is hard. There are few comforts between the cradle and the grave. One of the true pleasures of earthly existence is to feel, in your hands, an object that is truly good. Our goal is to make objects of true pleasure, in which form and function are one; as well, these object should hurt no one to produce.
"One Good Thing," means a balance—quality and ethics, perfection and fault, form and function—that we strive for every day. We don't compromise, ever, and we don't expect our customers to either. Every Himel product reflects the "One Good Thing," ethos, and we expect those products to last our customers a lifetime.
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How to order a custom jacket:
This is a brief explanation of how to order a custom Himel Bros. leather jacket. Many jacket buyers will have previous experience with tailoring or may own other custom pieces, and as a result have a very clear picture of their style and size. The following fitting primer is written for the first time buyer.
Selecting your style:
Think about your fashion style. If you ask your friends, they’ll probably be aware of your look and style. Are you classic, a sportsman, a rockstar, a motorcyclist or maybe a hero? Each Himel Bros. jacket has an iconic look ranging from staid to outrageous. When selecting a jacket it’s important to take careful consideration of what works best with body type and your personal style. The Heron, for example, has a looser fit and suits the widest range of body types, whereas the motorcycle styles are slimmer, and best suited to an athletic body type. Typically, most people can be grouped into three main body types: the average build, the muscular build, and the husky build. Our jackets are built for an average build, so it is important that if you are muscular or husky that you include that in a note. We of course ask for photos in a tight t-shirt front and side to assess your posture and build.
Selecting your size:
Once you have been through our instagram and social media and have settled on your desired style, the next step is finding your correct size. There are two important factors to consider in this process: your body size and jacket size. Your chest measurement corresponds to our stock size. For most people this is all you will need. If your chest measurement under your armpits is 40 inches you will wear a size 40 jacket. We have a video that shows you how to do it yourself, or you can see your local tailor (the first timer will likely need to do this). It is important to assess your arm and waist measures as well. Consider if you are average or if you have monkey arms or a big belly as any unusual proportions will have to be addressed through the ordering process. Below we offer a diagram you can have filled in by a local tailor or a friend with a measuring tape. For a first timer with an average build, our stock sizes are usually sufficient, so when in doubt stick with that.
If you are concerned about fit and still not confident as to your correct size, you also have the option to ship us a properly fitting jacket and we’ll build-up your jacket from that. Ideally the jacket you send us will be of a similar style to the one you’re ordering (leather jackets obviously are best for this purpose). Before you ship us your jacket, make sure to take pictures of youself wearing it so we can assess fit: at minimum we require a side shot and a front shot. Then arrange at your cost to ship the jacket to Himel Bros. Please note this on the order in the notes section. Your jacket will be shipped back with your new bespoke Himel Bros. jacket.
For the more particular or tailored order, you can send us very specific measurements. For example some gentlemen have thicker wrists or lift weights and require a different flatter shoulder slope or wider cuff. If off the rack jackets pop up on the shoulders it is usually due to a muscular posture and you should let us know. So in our video you can use measurements from a similar jacket in style to the one you are ordering. Of course we would appreciate pictures of you in that jacket front and side if you are using measurements from an actual jacket. Review the illustrations throughout this website that detail where to measure to provide us with accurate measurement for your custom jacket. It is not required to give us all the measurements, just the ones you want changed. Any specific custom measures or features you wish on your jacket we will need them in advance and in a note when you order.
Picking your leather:
We provide lots of information about our leather types, colours, finishes and characteristics. The order page gives you all the available options. For anything else you will have to email us in advance of ordering. Our instagram feed shows lots of examples of our custom jacket orders.
Picking thread colour, liners and special features:
We offer images and descriptions of all our liners, threads, buttons and zips. Generally each style comes with its stock options on buttons and zips, however you can chose your liner and thread. If you like to showcase our superior sewing techniques contrast thread is the best option. If you like a flashy liner or prefer something more more staid we have options for you. Extra pockets or other options are possible it is best to email us in advance. You can even choose between brass or nickel silver hardware.