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.
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.