Product reviews aren't really my thing. There's a lot of great stuff being made these days if you know where to look, but Whitefeather Mfg. is relatively unknown outside of the finer denim forums, so I wanted to take a moment to share some impressions of my new jacket and bring some attention to a maker that deserves it.
I should say right away that I consider Fardin, one of Whitefeather's owners, to be a friend. We've done two Denimbruins together, traded products a few times , and have shared a number of good conversations, but I don't think that has influenced my feelings about the jacket too much.
The style I went with is the 1930s Car Coat, which is my favorite genre of leather jacket. Car coats are typically plain, understated, and practical. Whitefeather's version is no exception, with very few frills. The one decorative element, the pocket flaps, are designed to be tucked away if you want to look even more low-key.
The leather is a full-grain Italian horsehide. Compared to Shinki it's a bit thicker, more pliable when new, the finish is more matte and the grain character is outstanding. Shinki is cleaner, has fewer scars and bite marks, but is also a bit less interesting to look at. Both feel very good to wear, and will likely last longer than you, so I consider the choice between the two to be mainly a matter of preference.
I went with a plain back for my jacket. Normally this style comes with two small button adjusters on the back, but I asked to leave them off, as I find the adjusters are mostly aesthetic and tend to get snagged on chairs, backpacks and the like.
One oddity about this jacket is the all-leather buttonholes. Some very early leather garments (such as the British WWI horsehide jerkins) use a similar style. There are also a few modern makers doing this, and I suspect that it is a way to avoid using the dreaded Reece buttonhole machine. Every clothing maker I've spoken to has horror stories of the endless repairs this machine demands. Regardless of why, I find the leather buttonholes to be well executed and they should be exceedingly durable. A sewn buttonhole would be more historically accurate, but that's not a priority for me.
The main lining fabric is a sort of walnut brown corduroy, which adds a nice combination of warmth and versatility.
The jacket isn't perfect (none are), but it's an incredible value, and I think it leads the pack in its price range, especially for car coat styles. Jackets from Himel, Goodwear, and Freewheelers are a bit nicer when you put them under the microscope. Those brands have laser-perfect stitching and very well-skived flat seams, but also cost twice as much or more. Whitefeather is a welcome addition that's a bit more accessible.
The Krouse jacket is a particular stunner. It isn't listed on the Whitefeather website, but I suspect that Fardin still has a few around.
The Krouse jacket was also produced in duck, worn here by Cory aka Bandit Photographer.