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.
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.
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.