Mister Freedom® MEDALIST Crewneck Sweatshirt, all-cotton tubular fleeced jersey, mfsc FW2021 “PODIUM” Collection. Made in Japan

 

 

MF® Medalist red naturally sun-faded.

MF® Medalist UCLA blue naturally sun-faded.

 

MF® Medalist Olive Green naturally sun-faded.

 

Buncha winners.

Mister Freedom® MEDALIST Crew Sweatshirt, all-cotton tubular fleeced jersey
FW2021 mfsc PODIUM collection.
Made in Japan.

The Mister Freedom® MEDALIST is our take on the iconic American SWEATSHIRT (or “sweat shirt”, “sweat-shirt”, the top part of a “sweat suit” or “training suit”… just don’t call them “sweaters”). We’ve been working on this one for a while, as plenty of contemporary options already exist and we wanted to make sure that our version be classic yet special. 

First, if you get asked on Jeopardy and your friend Bob can’t get to the phone, sweatshirt material consists of a single knit fabric, with a flat texture jersey on the face (outside), and a French Terry reverse with loops mechanically shredded/brushed into a soft fleece pile (inside). It has been the fabric of choice for warm-up athletic gear for about a century.

Classic vintage sweatshirts (~ pre-1970s) are usually cut from tubular fleeced jersey, meaning the sock-like cylinder body has no side seams.

With roots in the 1920s, modern tubular fleece has been produced since the 1950s on elaborate single-jersey circular knitting machines, puzzling pieces of engineering resembling the 1969 Apollo LEM, and, I suppose, about as equally easy to operate and maintain.
Using this knitting technology, and due to the cylinder shape and fixed circumference of the finished material, several machines and tedious set-ups are required to produce different sizes of the same tubular sweatshirt fabric. Meaning, the body of a size Small tubular sweatshirt is knitted on a different machine than the Medium. This doesn’t help with cost of production, but vintage clothing purists will appreciate the seamless tube body.

To add to the challenge of milling this special fleece fabric, we also insisted that our waistband ribbing be tubular, without the joining side seam typical of modern fashion sweatshirts. We also were set on a special “5×1 needle-out” type of ribbing, a cool feature of certain rare and desirable vintage 1940s-50s specimen. With this tall order, we sent our friends at Toyo Enterprise on a double wild-goose chase, and, as always, they sourced-out not only the perfect tubular fleece, but managed to mill the special needle-out tubular ribbing.

For the design and construction of our MEDALIST, we wanted to stay away from anything contemporary. So we scrutinized and dissected several vintage specimen collected over the years, studied classic proportions and cuts, found inspiration in period silhouettes from old photos and athletic goods 1930s-1960s catalogs, tested prototypes with traditional stitching options… and basically came up with a very old-school looking winner, the MF® MEDALIST!

Pattern-wise, one of the key point for us was the “drop shoulder” look. Modern sweatshirts and even contemporary vintage replicas tend to prefer an updated non-slouching shoulder seam, for a “more tailored” look. The drop shoulder cut may be an acquired taste, like the leg twist on a pair of old Levi’s for instance, but we went for the “anti-fit” cut of authentic 1940s-50s vintage sweatshirts.

Regarding the double neck insert detail, scoring a “double V” sweatshirts in my 1990s rag-picking days always meant bingo! Double Vs were to vintage sweats what XXs were to vintage Levi’s, an extra $500+ at the flea market.
Initially intended as a stretch gusset on the neck band so that the pull-over warm-up shirt (made of wool in the early days) would fit over, say, a football helmet, the “V” was a good substitute to a ½ zipper. Our MEDALIST 40s-style double Vs are of the “functioning” type, as they actually are double-layer stretchy ribbing inserts, and not just the decorative V-shaped flat lock stitching typical of later productions of sweatshirts. Many “V”s on contemporary sweats are also purely decorative.

On that note, some of you may remember that, during a 2010 interview with Valet Magazine, yours truly asserted that the “V”s on sweatshirts were originally designed to, wait for it, sponge-up sweat. An opinion, as they say, is the perfect compromise between knowledge and ignorance.

Online Valet Magazine, April 2010, and 2017 Sponge Bob IG post.

Another feature of our MEDALIST is the underarm expansion gusset, a detail and intricate construction challenge lifted from a rare 1950s vintage sweat from our archives. Like the double Vs, these arms gussets are also double-layer inserts of needle-out rib.

Anyone familiar with vintage sweats knows of the common sleeves-are-too-short issue, the result of excessive shrinkage and improper shrink tests from the maker. McQueen was a specialist at quickly solving that problem, on and off screen, and is probably responsible for a few chopped-off vintage sweats out there!

SMcQ, 1963 (John Dominis, courtesy GETTY IMAGES)

This is one of the liberties we took with “authenticity”, as we carefully balanced the drop of the shoulder seam, calculated optimal sleeve length while considering the extra-long (foldable) ribbed cuffs, factored-in fabric shrinkage, adjusted sleeve width… to achieve a proper post-wash fit that will work for most.

As a touch of modern practicability, we mounted a back pocket to the MEDALIST rear panel, with an original flat-lock construction “sandwiched” in the waistband. This discreet storage will come handy when cycling, to carry a smart phone or small bidon without obstructing the front of the shirt. Just avoid using it for your phone or wallet while riding the metro in Paris…

We are introducing the MEDALIST in six original yet classic color options. The heather grey is yarn-dyed, a much darker shade than the traditional “silver” heather grey of Champion® sweats, a fleece color characteristic of some older athletic collectibles. The Arctic White model features contrasting oatmeal heather grey ribbing trims, for an attractive subtle two-tone effect.
The Scarlet Red, “UCLA” Blue, Gold Yellow and “Nam” Olive Green MEDALISTS will fade over time with normal wash/wear routine and sun exposure, just like your favorite butter-soft sun-bleached vintage sweatshirt. For reference, we included some naturally-faded prototypes in the photos above.

Pair it with blue jeans, khaki chinos, piques… for the gym, the beach or to lounge around at home, our MEDALIST is versatile, comfortable, functional, ethically-produced… and just ridiculously good looking!

The MF® MEDALIST Crewneck Sweatshirt, in all-cotton tubular fleeced jersey, is designed by Mister Freedom® in California, USA, and produced in Japan in collaboration with Sugar Cane Co.

SPECS:
FABRIC:
Heavy weight 12 Oz. 100% cotton tubular fleeced jersey knit, soft brushed pile back for warmth and absorbency. Milled in Japan.
Color options:
a) Yarn-dyed Heather Grey.
b) Arctic White with contrast oatmeal needle-out ribbing.
c) UCLA Blue.
d) Scarlet Red.
e) Gold Yellow.
f) “Nam” Olive Green.

DETAILS:
* An original mfsc pattern inspired by vintage 1940s-50s classic American sweatshirts and period athletic wear.
* Tubular body (no side seams).
* “Drop shoulder” pattern.
* Fancy all-cotton 1×5 needle-out ribbing waistband, cuffs, neckband and gussets.
* Double “V” neck inserts, dual layers of stretchy ribbed knit.
* Vintage-style extra-long waistband and cuffs.
* Underarm expansion gussets.
* Rear panel smartphone or bidon pocket.
* Four-needle flat lock stitching construction.
* Original mfsc “PODIUM” rayon woven label.
* Made in Japan

SIZING/FIT:
The MF® MEDALIST Sweatshirt comes pre-rinsed (i.e. pre-shrunk), and is ready-to-wear. No need for any initial soaking process.
All different color options fit the same.
Depending on your own personal style, preference of silhouette, body type, and whether you’re going old-school vintage or contemporary streetwear, the size that will work for you is subjective.

I opted for a size SMALL in all color options, for a shorter “period” look, matching one’s natural waist rather than covering the back pockets of jeans. Just a personal preference for the vintage vibe. I am 5’7 / 145 lbs.

CARE:
Low maintenance garment. Launder when needed.
Machine wash, normal cycle, cold water, mild eco-friendly detergent. Tumble dry or lay flat to dry on clean towel.

Available from www.misterfreedom.com, our Los Angeles brick & mortar store, and fine retailers around the World.
Email sales@misterfreedom.com or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for your support.

Christophe Loiron
Mister Freedom®
©2021

 

 

Mister Freedom® PODIUM Jacket, Rayon-Cotton satin, mfsc FW2021 “PODIUM” Collection. Made in Japan

 

Mister Freedom® PODIUM Jacket, Rayon-Cotton Satin.
mfsc FW2021 PODIUM collection.
Made in Japan.

This one comes straight out of classic Americana athletic wear.
The Mister Freedom® PODIUM jacket takes its cues from vintage 1940s-60s award/letterman/baseball/varsity/club/warm-up jackets. Our interpretation features the expected traditional waist-length style, rib knit waistband/cuffs/stand-up collar, and a raglan sleeve pattern.

We opted for a 1950s-style traditional 50% rayon/50% cotton shell (rayon side out, mid-luster), backed with a fancy cotton flannel body lining and traditional cotton “kasha” sleeve lining.
As a footnote, we had initially developed that gem of a printed plaid flannel fabric – replicated from a 1940s garment – to use as mfsc shirting. During R&D, we thought it complimented our PODIUM jacket so well that we used it for the project as a killer lining. Only you will know, but that’s who matters.

We left our PODIUM jacket un-branded on the outside, no back embroidery, chest logo or anything, and left it up to the wearer. We believe the solid version is plenty, but if so-inclined, reach out to the many talented custom chainstitch artisans out there, or patch your jacket up with the high school chenille letter of your choice etc… The bay is a fun source for NOS letterman letters, if you’re looking for your initials.

What we spent time on however, is the specific “heather” rib knit. This type of athletic stripe “melange” ribbing can be found on some of the most desirable vintage club jackets out there, mostly pre-1960s specimen. Thinking production of heather ribbing might only be a thing of the past, we sent a few vintage samples to our friends at Toyo Enterprise for reference anyways, crossing fingers. As expected, such athletic knit ribs were not commercially available from manufacturers, but after some challenging R&D, Toyo’s textile experts managed to get our color combinations custom-milled. And they nailed it! This special ribbing is old-school too, 100% soft wool, unlike the polyester/polyurethane blend of contemporary sport gear.

For the front closure, we opted for mfsc painted metal snaps, a bit more practical for sports than 1940s-style buttons. The hi-luster rayon contrast arm inserts and soutache (braided piping), along with the contrasting pocket trims, all ad to the vintage sporty vibe.

Whether you’re feeling all Stanley “Streetcar” Kowalsky, 1950s street gang hoodlum, in a Wanderers or “Electric Eliminators” Warriors kinda mood… or simply on an old-school kick for vintage athletic wear for the gym, our PODIUM jacket got your back, Jack!

Crime in the Streets” (1956) lobby card. Courtesy Allied Artists

The MF® PODIUM Jacket in rayon/cotton satin is designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan in collaboration with Sugar Cane Co.

SPECS:
PATTERN:
Inspired by classic Americana athletic wear, and vintage 1940s-60s award/letterman/baseball/varsity/club/warm-up jackets.

FABRIC:
Vintage-style traditional athletic wear grade 50% rayon/50% cotton shell (rayon side out, mid-luster, mid weight), milled in Japan.
Body Lining: 1940s-50s-style 100% cotton printed flannel, soft hand, milled in Japan.
Sleeves Lining: traditional all-cotton kasha.

DETAILS:
* An original MF® reimagined award/club jacket.
* Traditional waist-length style.
* Raglan sleeve patern.
* Rib knit waistband/cuffs/stand-up collar, special 1930s-40s style stripe “heather” ribbing, soft 100% wool.
* Hi-luster rayon contrast arm inserts and soutache.
* Contrast rayon pocket trims and soutache.
* Painted metal snaps for front closure, mfsc branded.
* No ornamentation, ready for DIY customization.
* Original mfsc “PODIUM” rayon woven label.
* Made in Japan

SIZING/FIT:
The PODIUM Satin Jacket does not require an initial process. It comes ready-to-wear, as it is DRY-CLEAN only.
I opted for a MEDIUM for an old-school award jacket fit, trim and higher on the waist than contemporary fashion pieces. I am about 5’7 / 145 lbs and navigate between SMALL and MEDIUM in mfsc jackets.
According to your built, you may consider sizing up especially if planning on layering with bulky garments (hooded sweats etc…)

CARE:
Professional DRY CLEAN only, eco-friendly facility.

Available from www.misterfreedom.com, our Los Angeles brick & mortar store, and fine retailers around the World.
Email sales@misterfreedom.com or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for your support.

Christophe Loiron
Mister Freedom®
©2021

Mister freedom® “ARISTOCRAT” Shirt, NOS Dobby Stripes Edition, mfsc FW2021, made in USA.

 

Mister Freedom® “ARISTOCRAT” Shirt, selvedge oxford cloth.
FW2020 mfsc Sportsman catalog
Made in USA

The Mister Freedom® ARISTOCRAT is our humble attempt at a straight-up stylish dress shirt, made in USA.

This original pattern was initially introduced to our Sportsman catalog during Fall 2020, a fancy selvedge Oxford cloth release in two classic color options, white and blue.

 The all-original design of our ARISTOCRAT was inspired by several vintage American and European classic dress and sport shirts from our archives.
Our intent was to merge traditional tailoring details with our own ideas, and simply create an elegant, unpretentious and versatile garment, a modern classic filled with subtle vintage references.
The connoisseur will notice the nod to gents’ outfitters Turnbull & Asser – and other bespoke shirtmakers – in our choice of “Regent” spread collar shape (dig that nice curve), although we opted for an unstructured collar construction (no fusing) for a more casual vibe.

We wanted the chest pocket design to be all ours and serve as outside branding, rather than an embroidered logo. Our R&D team got extra cups of brain juice to reinvent the wheel, one that would spin our own yarn. Sketches were drawn-up, prototypes made from scratch, and a eureka moment came sometime in February 2020 when an all-original pocket finally surfaced from the drafting table. We had our ARISTOCRAT classic chest pocket: a simple diamond shape with an elegant curved fold and streamlined stitching.

Original Mister Freedom® ARISTOCRAT chest pocket design, early proto and how-to ©2020 Knock yourself out, Bob Dong.

The specific off-set shirt tail cut, front button placket construction, and double button rounded cuffs, were also thoroughly considered and tweaked until it all worked out for our aesthetics.
The shirred rear panel with its rounded piecing patch is a detail borrowed from early European shirting, and, along with the classic side gussets displaying the fabric’s selvedge, add to the refined and subtle vintage appeal of the ARISTOCRAT.

To our delight, the US factory did a remarquable job with the stitch count, closely following tech pack for the magic high number, matched by a fine thread gauge. Because of obvious productivity issues, it is often a challenge to convince factory owners of committing to higher-count stitching settings. This can almost double production time (= double production cost), but the results are stunning and always make a garment stand-out next to a more hastily-constructed one. Anyone able to spot a cheap suit will notice the difference.
So, tip of the hat to our family-run local Los Angeles factory, who not only faced unprecedented challenges in both 2020 and 2021, but kept her steady and fully delivered again this season.

The ARISTOCRAT is complimented by genuine mother of pearl buttons, another reference to traditional European bespoke tailoring, while the chainstitch construction (using MF® signature green contrast stitching) brings it down a few notches with a workwear touch (bespoke shirts often feature French seams, not chainstitch.)
The discreet red bartack on the gusset is a nod to the red stitched “H” of the iconic Hathaway brand, one of the last American shirtmaker to produce shirts in the USA, until they gave up on that endeavor around 2002…
For the silhouette, we opted for a trim fit, adjusting body pattern and side curves to convey broad shoulders and slim waist, balancing with a traditional shirt tail length.

For this FW2021 release of the ARISTOCRAT, we scored some yardage of a fancy New Old Stock Dobby Stripe fabric. The Dobby weave vertical stripe pattern is textured, a combo of grayish blue and gold stripes on an off-white background. This elegant 100% cotton shirting fabric has a probable Italian origin, and a definitely fancy textile pedigree.
Bottom line, the ARISTOCRAT is a reimagined vintage-style dress shirt that morphed into a versatile, casual, easy go-to garment, dressed-up with a suit or down with a pair of blue jeans, worn with a tie or open collar, tucked or untucked.

The MF® ARISTOCRAT Shirt is designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in the USA in collaboration with Sugar Cane Co.

SPECS:
PATTERN:
Inspired by vintage American and European classic dress shirts and sport shirts.
FABRIC:
Fancy 100% cotton Dobby Stripe weave, subtle combo of grayish blue and gold stripes on an off-white background. New Old Stock. Probable Italian mill origin.
DETAILS:
* An original MF® reimagined dress shirt. Classic, versatile, elegant yet casual shirt style.
* Slim and trim silhouette.
* Classic spread collar with British flair.
* Original chest pocket design, diamond shape with MF® signature curved fold and streamline pocket stop stitching.
* Rear panel shirring with rounded piecing patch.
* Side gussets.
* Off-set shirt tail lengths (slightly longer rear tail).
* Red bartacks accent on gusset.
* Genuine mother of pearl buttons.
* Double-button rounded cuffs.
* Elegant front button placket pattern.
* High-stitch count and fine thread gauge construction.
* Chainstitch construction with signature inside contrast olive green stitching.
* Mister Freedom® mfsc “Sportsman” rayon woven label.
* Made in USA.

SIZING/FIT:
The ARISTOCRAT Shirt in NOS Dobby Stripes comes unwashed and is cut so that the measurements match the labeling AFTER an initial cold soak/line dry. This is a low-maintenance garment as it is designed to go through many wash/wear cycles, and we recommend this protocol before wear:

  • Machine rinse, delicate settings, cold water, machine spin dry.
  • Line dry. (No heat dryer)

I opted for a Medium for a trim, yet not too tight fit, my usual size in mfsc shirting. I am 5’7 ~150 lbs. We recommend getting your usual size in MF® shirts, if you like a trim fit.
CARE:
Machine wash on DELICATE, cold water, mild eco-friendly detergent. Hang dry.
Do not use the washer’s heavy-duty cycle. Heat dryer is also not recommended and may result in excessive and irreversible shrinkage.

Available from www.misterfreedom.com, our Los Angeles brick & mortar store, and fine retailers around the World.
Email sales@misterfreedom.com or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for your support.

Christophe Loiron
Mister Freedom®
©2021

Mister Freedom® CALIFORNIAN Lot.64-JC, 14 Oz. indigo-dyed Jungle Cloth, mfsc FW2021. Made in USA.

 

Mister Freedom® CALIFORNIAN LOT.64-JC, indigo-dyed 14 Oz. Jungle Cloth edition.
mfsc FW2021 Sportsman Catalog.
Made in USA.

Alert the media, the MF® Californian is back, and this time in non-selvedge fabric!
The Lot.64 is our most-popular five-pocket pattern, featuring a straight leg, slightly tapered, button fly, and a classic 1960s silhouette.

“Jungle Cloth” is a trade name for heavy warp-faced corded fabric, in which the cords run in the warp (vertical) direction. This all-cotton grosgrain fabric of the corduroy family is high density, rugged, water-repellent and windproof, and has roots in 1920s civilian flight gear. It is commonly associated with US Navy foul weather deck personnel clothing, with the iconic N-1 and its many iterations in Heritage fashion.

Why it was called “Jungle Cloth” remains a mystery to me, and the earliest mention of the fabric I could find is in a 1914 book titled “Hunting in the Arctic and Alaska”, in a chapter listing the author’s personal outfit of choice for a cruise in the Arctic:

Jungle Cloth is described as “Modified Bedford Cords” in a volume of “Standard Commodity Classification” from 1945. Its US production ramped up during WW2 due to large US Government contracts for the US Navy. The Crompton-Shenandoah Plant in Virginia handled a large chunk of the wartime production, having adapted its long-established velveteen-milling machinery to meet the mil-specs Jungle Cloth demand.

Excerpt from US Senate hearings on Trade Agreements, 1955.

This interesting 1955 “Trade Agreements” US Senate official document discusses the struggle of the American fabric milling industry, overwhelmed by cheaper labor competition from Italian and Japanese factories at the time. During the hearings, a Crompton-Shenandoah representative mentions “the average hourly earnings in the cotton textile industry are about $1.35 (in the US) , the Italian textile hourly average wage is 24 cents, the Japanese 13 cents… The best Japanese velveteen, and it is good, is for sale in New York, duty paid, at 21 cents per yard lower than our manufacturing cost…
Fabric milling in the US struggled until the 1980s, and is today a shadow of what it once was, although domestic textile manufacturing has seen a revival in recent years.
It is also quite ironic that in 2021, Japanese and Italian textiles are considered premium and are very costly, and that domestic production in Japan and Italy is now constantly challenged by unbeatable competition from China, Bangladesh, India, South East Asia, Haiti, South Africa… Hard to compete indeed with $95/month wages such as those of Bangladeshi garment workers. Gambatte Nippon!

Our premium Jungle Cloth is milled in Japan and indigo-dyed by Japanese experts to a dark shade of indigo blue. This vintage mil-specs fabric initially developed by Buzz Rickson’s is an old MF® favorite. It has been previously featured on our Riders, N-1Z Deck Pants, M-17 Parka, and Mulholland Master. It ages beautifully and the patina of indigo-dyed Jungle Cloth is quite impressive.
(Note that his fabric is very light-sensitive, so store appropriately to avoid sun fading/fold marks.)

For pocketing, we opted for some older NOS olive green HBT. To keep a low profile, we went for tonal stitching and, due to the Jungle Cloth heavy ounce, chose cotton-wrap poly thread for sturdy construction and seam resistance.

The Californian LOT.64-JC blue jeans “Indigo Jungle Cloth” edition are designed and manufactured in California by Mister Freedom®, in collaboration with Sugar Cane Co.

SPECS:
FABRIC:
High density 14 Oz. “Jungle Cloth”, 100% cotton grosgrain, period mil-specs, the notorious shell fabric of 1940’s US Navy N-1 deck jackets, dyed to a deep and dark indigo shade. (The face is textured by dense vertical cords, and the reverse feels soft and brushed.)
Milled and indigo-dyed in small batches in Japan.
PATTERN:
Inspired by traditional 1950′s-1960’s era blue jeans, original Mister Freedom® classic fit.

DETAILS:
* Classic vintage five-pocket blue jeans pattern, featuring a straight leg with a slight taper and a classic mid-to-high rise.
* Button fly.
* Non-selvedge leg outseam, overlock.
* 100% cotton NOS olive green HBT pocketing.
* Tonal MF® original “M” stitch design on rear pockets.
* Hand-debossed black tea-core veg-tan cowhide leather MF® branded patch on rear pocket.
* Tonal stitching, classic MF® Californian gauge combo, sturdy black cotton-wrap poly thread.
* Coin pocket.
* Hidden back pocket reinforcement rivets, with top pocket bartack stitching.
* Original MF® metal cast tack buttons combo, ‘oxidized’ silver for fly, brass for waist.
* Unmarked copper riveting for pocket opening reinforcement.
* Original MF® paper pocket flasher (Army green).
* Made in USA

SIZING/FIT:
The CALIFORNIAN Lot.64-JC comes UN-WASHED. These jeans are cut so that the measurements match the labeling AFTER an initial cold soak/line dry.
We recommend the usual protocol before wearing:

  • Cold soak for about 30-40mn, with occasional hand agitation.
  • Machine spin dry and line dry.
  • Wear briefly before fully-dry to set creases, then hang until fully dry. (Do not use heat dryer)

I went with a W31, for a snug top block and straight leg silhouette. I am about 5’7, 150 lbs. This fabric hardly stretches but softens with wear, and is very comfortable.

Disclaimer: Color crocking (temporarily bleeding onto other lighter-colored textiles) is to be expected and will temporarily ‘stain’ light color garments worn as under layers. Indigo rub-off should wash-off eventually. However, expect blue legs for a while.
Also, this fabric is very light-sensitive, so store appropriately to avoid sun fading/fold marks.

CARE:
Wash sporadically, only when needed. Spot clean with a damp rag to remove dirt/mud rather than wash.
When full cleaning is required, turn pants inside out to limit fabric marbling, set machine to DELICATE and wash in cold water with mild eco-friendly detergent designed for delicate fabrics.
Heavy indigo crocking is to be expected for a while, so wash separately from all other garments. Indigo blue marks on the washing machine walls can be removed with a damp rag soaked in laundry detergent.

Do not use a heat dryer, hang dry instead.

Patina will develop according to activities and frequency of wear.

Available from www.misterfreedom.com, our Los Angeles red brick HQ, and fine retailers around the World.
Email sales@misterfreedom.com or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for your support,

Christophe Loiron
Mister Freedom®
©2021

Mister Freedom® DESPERADO Brush Jacket, 13 Oz. black sulfur-dyed selvedge denim, mfsc FW2021. Made in USA.

 

Mister Freedom® DESPERADO Brush Jacket, sulfur-dyed selvedge denim (Raw) ©2021

Mister Freedom® DESPERADO Brush Jacket, sulfur-dyed selvedge denim (Rinsed) ©2021

Mister Freedom® DESPERADO Brush Coat, 13 Oz. black sulfur-dyed selvedge denim.
mfsc FW2021 SPORTSMAN catalog.
Made in USA.

Hot on the trail of the recently-released Californian “Outlaw” and Ranch Blouse, in matching black sulfur-dyed selvedge denim, comes the Mister Freedom® DESPERADO Brush Coat.

The pattern of this latest addition to our made-in-USA Sportsman catalog was inspired by a blend of vague childhood memories of western-wear from screen characters (maybe James Stewart in “The Far Country” 1954, or Robert Fuller on “Laramie”?), visuals from old Marlboro ads, and vintage duck canvas chore coats I’ve come across through my rag-picking years.

 

After some detective work Texas Rangers-style, I realized that “South Texas Brush Jacket” is how this short and boxy unlined canvas coat style is often referred-to. A favorite amongst horsemen in thorny Brush Country terrain, the style became a staple piece of gear for Texas buckaroos and ranch hands, and was largely adopted by the gritty vaqueros from Northern Mexico such as the kineños, the OG cow-boys hired to work on King Ranch in the mid 1800s.
Early models may have been made from tin cloth, and it’s unclear of when the style actually originated (1920’s-30’s?)… On the theme of western fashion’s origins, short fascinating read here.
Some brush jacket specimen are featured on this 1949 “Vanishing Cowboy” LIFE Magazine shoot, as recently spotted by our friend, style acrobat and collector extraordinaire Enoch Bayrd.

Courtesy of LIFE “The Vanishing Cowboy” (1949)

Below is a collage of some old 1930s-70s photos published in a “Vaqueros of South Texas” public FB group, some of the vaqueros sporting Brush Jackets.

Period photos courtesy of Vaqueros of South Texas FB group.

The typical “Brush Jacket” as we know it was often cut from brown duck or, less-commonly, from bone white canvas, and readily available from saddle shops, dry goods stores and ranch supplies COOPs. Brands like FINESILVER Mfg. Co, a now-defunct workwear and military uniform maker, produced them for years in its downtown San Antonio factory in Texas. Carhartt probably had its own version, along with the brand’s iconic ¾ length barn coat classic and other duck canvas models.

Vintage 60s FINESILVER Mfg Co Brush Jacket, courtesy of Vacation.

Besides the signature cropped length of original Brush Jackets, one striking feature is the characteristic contrast corduroy trimming (collar, pocket openings and cuffs). It is said that the corduroy-lined collar was initially-intended to be easier on one’s sunburned neck… An old-school vaquero also mentions dipping his Brush Jacket in the horse trough in the hot summer days, and wearing it wet as a cooling layer.

Comes in our DESPERADO…
If the saddle length of the originals makes sense if your job description involves a horse, we figured we’d adapt the bolero-style cut to better serve the aesthetics of contemporary city dwellers, less likely to go roping stray cattle in the South Texas mesquite brush. The “cropped look” is an acquired taste, and not easy to pull-of for most.
Because we didn’t have a vintage specimen in our archives for pattern inspiration, we decided to merge our military dungaree FROGMAN jacket A-line style with traditional western-wear brush jacket specifics. A scribbled Post-it®, a rough pocket prototype, and some notes from the MF® Design Dept (we didn’t even have photos of originals at the time) were all it took for our friend Fukutomi San at Toyo Enterprises to draft an original pattern. The DESPERADO was born.

The keen eye will note that we added a slight curve to the arcuate on the corduroy pocket trimming, on the patch pocket bottom shape, and on the cuff piecing. This is in contrast with the common straight lines typical of purified utilitarian fashion, intended to be easier and faster to cut & sew. This subtle tweak, along with the single needle pocket construction add an elegant early workwear touch to the jacket.

Mister Freedom® DESPERADO Brush Jacket early R&D pocket prototype ©2021

For the fabric, we opted for the same fancy twill featured on our CALIFORNIAN Lot.64 “Outlaw” and its matching RANCH BLOUSE: a premium mid-weight 13 Oz. selvedge denim combining a black sulfur-dyed warp yarn (fabric face) with a black sulfur-dyed weft (fabric reverse), produced on traditional shuttle looms by vintage textile experts in Japan.

Why DESPERADO? Partly because of  Townes Van Zandt’s “Pancho & lefty”, a fine classic tune about a bandit and his partner (we are working on some MF® Spotify playlists for your listening pleasure btw, Pancho & Lefty is on Truck Stop Jukebox), and also because this is our friend Tom “Sugar Cane” Tanaka’s favorite Eagles’ album!

The MF® DESPERADO Brush Jacket in black sulfur-dyed selvedge denim is designed in California by Mister Freedom®, and manufactured in USA in collaboration with Sugar Cane Co, from denim fabric milled in Japan.

SPECS:

FABRIC:
Mid-weight 13 Oz. solid black denim twill, sulfur-dyed warp x sulfur-dyed weft, selvedge (white with red line ID), 100% cotton, milled in Japan on traditional shuttle looms.
Trims: 100% cotton corduroy.

DETAILS:
* An original Mister Freedom® twist on the traditional western-wear “Brush Jacket”, barn coats, and military utility jackets.
* Three front patch pocket, one inside chest pocket.
* Tonal corduroy trimming for collar/pocket openings/cuffs.
* Curved arcuate trims and bottom pocket pattern.
* Metal button front closure, original Mister Freedom® mfsc cast silver tack buttons.
* Unmarked copper rivets pocket reinforcement.
* Split back featuring the fabric selvedge.
* Selvedge button front panel folded facing.
* All flat-felled seams chainstitch construction.
* 100% cotton tonal stitching.
* Original mfsc printed “Buckaroo” cloth label.
* Made in USA

SIZING:
The MF® DESPERADO Brush Jacket sulfur-dyed black denim twill comes unwashed and is cut so that the measurements match the labeling AFTER an initial cold soak/line dry. We recommend this usual protocol before wear:

  • Cold soak for about 30-40mn with occasional hand agitation.
  • Washing machine spin dry cycle.
  • Line dry. (No heat dryer)

The DESPERADO is considered true-to-size. I opted for a 38 (Medium) for a comfortable fit (5.7’’ / approx. 150 lbs). The 36 (Small) felt too tight for the silhouette I was going for, although I had opted for a 36 in the navy HBT Frogman jacket.
As with all denim twills, minor back and forth shrinkage/stretching will occur for a while and will depend on the wearer’s body, activities and initial fit.
DENIM CARE:
Treat this black sulfur-dyed denim twill as you would premium indigo-dyed denim.
Wash sporadically, only when needed. Machine wash inside out to avoid marbling. Cold water, gentle cycle, eco-friendly mild detergent and line dry. Wash separately from light-colored garments.
Patina will develop according to activities and frequency of wear.

Available from www.misterfreedom.com, our Los Angeles red brick HQ, and fine retailers around the World.
Email sales@misterfreedom.com or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for your support,

Christophe Loiron
Mister Freedom®
©2021