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Prototype Grizzly Review from Guillermo

September 12, 2018

Prototype Grizzly Review from Guillermo

Editor's Notes: 

This review comes to us from first-time customer Guillermo, who purchased his jacket from the 2018 Summer Samples and Prototypes Sale. It's a prototype Grizzly jacket, one-of-a-kind, made of supple French goatskin and hair-on French goat fur. The review was originally published on The Fedora Lounge, a popular forum for enthusiasts of well-made menswear. 

Guillermo's unbelievably stylish instagram can be found here

Here we are, in the heat of the summer with temperatures over 30ºC (86ºF) with around 70% humidity and buying leather jackets.

Living in Barcelona there's no much time to wear heavy duty coats or thick leather jackets with corduroy or harris tweed linings so after collecting some vintage leather jackets (I lost track of them but includes suede, pony, horsehide...) over the last 3 years and 4 new ([names of competing brands have been redacted]) I've been after a proper goatskin jacket for a while that would work for our mild winters.

Vintage goatskin in my size (38) get very expensive and are always in the US so that means expensive shipping and taxes which for me is a no go, I had also set my eyes on a Grizzly since [another customer, instagram here] bought his Wolverine from Himel Bros and did his review then spotting vintage examples, the ones from [redacted]... you know how it works, there's people enabling you everywhere.

The sale from Himel Bros was announced so after taking a peek and thinking I wasn't going to buy anything because I couldn't afford it I saw the perfect one for my situation (Warm weather, mild winters, goatskin, grizzly....) and at a very great price. I had to buy it no matter what and I did, there was no way I was going to have one like that otherwise.

It was shipped on a Wednesday and it was in Barcelona on Thursday. I had to pay ~130€ (800$ for the jacket) in taxes to DHL but I was actually relieved because is less than I had paid on other stuff previously in some occasions. Fastest delivery ever, it was supposed to be delivered on Friday but I was at work so I picked it up on Monday. I was so nervous worrying about fit, leather, the hair...would I like it? Would it fit me?

I have to say it was just what I expected. Fantastic craftmanship, delicious leather, great pattern, wild look and comfortable to wear. As always a bit restrictive at first but usually happens with new leather jackets until they mold to your body even with goatskin which is soft and flexible.

Leather 

Everyone raves about Shinki leather and Dave is one of the few makers who uses it. I could have over extended myself and pick up a shinki one but in reality it wasn't what I loved when looking at the available jackets.

The goatskin on this jacket is fantastic... I can only compare to the A-2 from [another brand] that I first bought back in the day (It was my first leather jacket) which I remember being soft but stiff, that jacket turned into crispy bacon after some experiments so is no longer with me to compare. The leather on this Himel is not only beautiful but soft, doesn't have any stiffness to it, the pocket flats open comfortably, the sleeves are easy to move and close with the cuff buttons, the throat latch flexible and easy to close, the back really adapts to your body and the side adjusters are easy to use and to hold with the metal rings. I've seen some scuffs here and there(It is a sample so it's perfectly fine) and I love how it will age, showing some orange-ish undertones.

The only thing is that the collar really needs some shaping which I'm sure can be fixed with some water.

The sleeves are already getting some creases, sure they won't crease as horsehide but they still show signs of use.

Construction

The jacket is built almost perfectly. The pattern, the stitching rows and the stitches per inch really are first class. I love the color of the thread and I wasn't able to spot anything outrageous. The only important detail to me is that it does look like that zipper went through replacement or some trouble with the stitching because it is a different colour and the inside panel has some scuffs marks(Barely noticeable) nad some areas have a double stitching row. Nothing shows in the outside and all the aesthetic issues are inside. Can't confirm nor deny what was done to it but something to point out. The construction won't be affected at all.

One thing I've noticed is that the talon zipper with that zipper box with two holes makes the bottom of the zipper very stiff, not my favorite detail because the front is longer than what I'm used to and I notice it but I'm sure it will get less noticeable over time. Not sure if it makes the zipper better construction wise or it's just aesthetic.

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Liner

The liner is 100% cotton as the inside label has printed but the sleeves are black cotton drill and the body looks and feels like a cotton flannel which I think works well with the goatskin. I like it! You can see the colour and texture here:

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Buttons

The cat eye buttons are just fantastic, the jacket has 7 buttons (2 on each cuff, 1 on each pocket and 1 on the throat latch) and they all have very well sewn shank buttons. The ones on the patch pockets don't have the same level of shank as the others but I doubt it will be an issue.

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Hair panels

It is the first time I have a jacket with hair panels like these ones and I love it. The hair is quite Gnarly and wild which helps with the workwear vibe I intend to wear the jacket with (Denim, corduroy and cotton drill) although I'm sure I could dress it up if I wanted. The panels are only in the front and the patch pockets are sewn over them which means that the inside of the pockets have also hair while the goatskin leather is cotton lined. The hair is very soft and can take some brushing but in the edges has less volume leading to a bit of white cloth showing, nothing too noticeable though because is under the arms at the side. It doesn't bother me. I'm not sure how durable it will be over the years but I'm sure that it shouldn't pose any issue and at some point if major hair loss or damage was done the panels could be replaced if necessary.

They are the eye catching area of the jacket, that's for sure and I feel very comfortable in it. I prefer the back panel not to have hair because it would make me use the jacket too carefully and be always wary of where I lean my back to.

Fit

This was the thing that worried me the most. What If I got the fit wrong? Dave had put lots of measurements and it should work but still...

Here we go. Click on the pics to make them bigger if you find the collage small. I thought it helped to see the overall fit at once, open, closed, side, back,etc.

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I'm very happy with it. You'll notice that I wear high rise trousers so that affects visually the jacket when worn open. I'm wearing a [brand] loopwheel tee I got for 5€ on Ebay but it's a size 40 (I need 38) hence the macho collar :eek:

I don't intend to layer except maybe for a thin pullover vest or very think vintage sweater so no problem at all. I can move around in it, my arms have movement and I can reach for things.

When the jacket is zipped up due to the body lenght the collar raises a bit compared to when it's worn open, specially if I sit. I'm used to shorter jackets and this one in the front is longer than usual but I think it looks pretty good if you ask me. I have extra short jackets and this one in comparison fits different in body lenght. Also as I said previously the bottom part of the zipper is really stiff as of now as if the zipper, it will soften over time. The jacket stands straight on the zipper alone but that will change. I need to shape that collar a bit!

Sleeve lenght is perfect for me. I don't like them longer and surprisingly even flexing my arms doesn't affect the lenght that much unless I also reach forward as expected. They cuffs are wide by default (Which I like) but buttoning the second button makes them tighter but still with plenty of room.



Can't wait for Autumn to arrive...


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Hopefully I haven't bored you too much. First review I try of a leather jacket. Feel free to ask any questions or ask for more details.

Conclusion: Amazing leather jacket, finest details, style and design. Great experience buying from Dave Himel. Nice box, package, fastest shipping ever. I was a pleasure to buy a jacket from Himel Bros and I'm sure that eventually... I will come back for more, not today and surely not this year but I'm very happy and would recommend them to anyone, specially at the sale price this jacket was a must have.




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