Mister Freedom® “McKARSTEN” Trousers, indigo métis & HBT denim, SS2019 mfsc SURPLUS catalog, made in Japan.

Mister Freedom® “McKARSTEN” Trousers, indigo métis & HBT denim.
SS2019 mfsc SURPLUS catalog.
Made in Japan.

We are adding another set of “might-have-beens” to the Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane Co mfsc Surplus catalog, our on-going collection of made-in Japan classics á la MF®. Matching companion to the recently-released McKarsten Jacket, here are the “McKARSTEN” TROUSERS.

The moniker is a reference to our beloved Peter Karsten, and workwear label Lakin & McKey‘s early days (founded in 1908, known today as Key Apparel.)

The vintage garment that inspired our McKarsten Trousers pattern is an original pair of work dungarees produced by “Lakin & McKey” in the 1930’s. This vintage goodie was purchased by Peter on behalf of the MF® archives. The pants were scored with a 1930’s “Test” jacket, and came as a workwear extravaganza top & bottom denim highly-collectible set. This “suit” initially belonged to a railroad worker, who lived somewhere in the American Midwest… Both of these specimen of workwear history can be seen at the MF® HQ, hanging as rag-hunting trophies amongst other bygone eye candy that inspire us.

Vintage TEST railroad jacket with Lakin McKey dungarees, courtesy of the outstanding MF® Store IG account.

Inevitably, these old denim pants featured a dreadful period fit, even for our “Heritage Style” esthetics. We thoroughly tweaked the pattern and turned them into a contemporary wearable, yet keeping the early workwear full leg-high rise style. Our interpretation is otherwise fairly literal to the original’s period details: utilitarian dungaree pattern without back yoke, early tailoring split waistband open back gusset, buckle-back, branded tack brass buttons, full top front pockets with fancy stitching, utilitarian “carpenter” style rear patch pockets… We removed the side tool pocket to tone down the contractor vibe.

Our trousers’ hardware features fancy mfsc original workwear-style brass tack buttons, a new toy for us this Spring 2019, a design introduced with the McKarsten Jacket. These metal buttons will naturally age and acquire an attractive patina overtime.

We are releasing the McKartsen Trousers in two distinctive fabrics.
The first one is a 10 Oz. HBT indigo denim. This fabric is what happens when you weave the components of traditional denim fabric (indigo-dyed warp yarns and natural color weft yarns) into an Herringbone Twill (HBT) pattern. If the fabric face only subtly displays the HBT pattern, the geometric eye-dazzling weave is very obvious on the reverse. The HBT pattern should yield interesting fading specifics. For the Jailhouse Rock look, we opted for contrast stitching on this fabric.

The second fabric option is a 7 Oz. blend of 75% linen and 25% cotton (referred to as métis in French), plain weave, indigo and black yarns. This fabric was inspired by a 1920’s pair of French work pants, and milled with similar specs. Our version is very “breathy” and not tightly-woven, making it a great summer-weight fabric, with a somewhat see-through quality not uncommon on vintage tropical garb. Tonal stitching conveys elegance making this option less workwear-ish. The fabric drape and wrinkly dry hand is typical of high-content linen métis.

The mfsc “McKARSTEN” TROUSERS are designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan by Sugar Cane Co.

FABRIC:
Two distinct fabric options:
a) A sturdy 10 Oz. HBT dark indigo denim, 100% cotton, milled in Japan. (Option featuring contrast stitching.)
b) An elegant 7 Oz. plain weave dark indigo métis, blend of 75% linen and 25% cotton, indigo warp and black weft yarns, solid white selvedge ID, milled in Japan. (Option featuring tonal stitching.)

Pocket bags: cut from mfsc double-sided calico print twills, “NOS” from the Trade Shirt and Nixon Shirt.

SPECS:
* An original mfsc pattern, inspired by 1920’s-1940’s work dungarees.
* Vintage 1930’s silhouette, full leg/trim high waisted top block.
*  Early tailoring split waistband, open back gusset.
* Cinch back, no back yoke pattern.
* MF® mfsc branded tack brass buttons.
* Fancy full top front pocket design and stitching (with selvedge facing for the indigo métis fabric option)
* Utilitarian “carpenter” style rear patch pockets.
* Brass donut fly buttons.
* Thin & wide belt loops (accommodates 2’’ wide belts)
* Coin/watch pocket.
* Pocket bags cut from mfsc “NOS” double-sided calico print twills.
* Felled seam leg chainstitch construction.
* Contrast stitching for the HBT denim option, tonal stitching for the indigo métis.
* Single needle bottom hem.
* Original mfsc SURPLUS woven label.
* Made in Japan.

SIZING/FIT:
Both options come raw/unwashed.
We recommend the usual initial 30mn cold soak/occasional hand agitation/spin dry/hang dry process. The tagged size reflects the size of the garment after going through this process.

Although the drape of each fabric is very distinct, both fit the same, and the same sizing advice applies to HBT denim and indigo métis.
Our target image was a vintage 1930’s silhouette, full leg/trim high waisted top block. These trousers feature a wide leg and high rise, an acquired taste by today’s menswear fashion standards.
Due to the split-waistband pattern, the waist is quite generous and the open gusset allows about one inch play. I could fit a snug Waist 30 but opted for a very comfortable Waist 32, and cinched the waist with the back strap.

The original bottom hem is single needle, an easy alteration, with enough length to accommodate all types of cuffing preferences for most.

Please refer to chart for approximate raw/soaked measurements. This explains how we size our garments.
Soaked = 30mn cold soak, spin dry and line dry.

CARE:
When needed, machine wash the MF® McKARSTEN Trousers on DELICATE, cold water, mild eco-friendly detergent. Hang dry.
Wash separately to avoid color transfer to light-color garments. Turn the pants inside-out to avoid potential marbling of the indigo fabric. Using hot water wash will result in unnecessary color loss and excessive shrinkage.
Full wash cycle and heat dryer are not recommended and could damage the garment. 

Available RAW/unwashed.
Sizes
28
30
32
34
36
38

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®
©2019

Mister Freedom® “BALOO” Jacket, veg-tan cowhide and sheepskin combo, Sportsman Fall 2017, made in USA.

Unworn MF® Baloo Jackets. “Out-of-the-bag” vs. organically sun-tanned.

MF® Baloo, veg-tan VEB Leather belt and MF® Californian Lot.64BB

Unworn MF® Baloo, unworn and sun-tanned MF® Baloo, and well-worn MF® Campus.

Mister Freedom® BALOO Jacket, veg-tan cowhide & sheepskin.
Sportsman catalog Fall 2017.
Made in USA.

The MF® BALOO Jacket is our take of the famous vintage “Grizzly” style, a popular garment of 1930’s working America, combining mouton fur and leather in one handsome waist-length fashionable coat. Originally designed with ease of movement in mind for outdoor activities in cold temperatures, the Grizzly style soon replaced the more cumbersome full-fur coats of the late 1800’s – early 1900’s.
Surviving vintage specimen are today highly-collectible, but often too dried-out for wear, most original 1930’s Grizzly jackets ending-up as wall display.

Our BALOO is not a straight-up replica of these early outdoor jackets, rather the morphing of a MF® Campus into a “Bear Jacket”, as Grizzlys are sometimes referred to. The resulting garment is a contemporary piece, easier to pull-off at the local grocery store than a buffalo coat, yet retaining its vintage appeal.
Yes, the MF® Baloo jacket is a bear necessity for the Man o’ Style.

The road from Campus to Baloo has been a pleasant walk in the jungle…
Renewed R&D, updated patterns, painstaking leather hide sourcing and challenging sample-making, occupied us for some time. Production was achieved in many perilous stages, each involving skilled craftsmen tightrope-walking their way through unforgiving tasks, while manipulating expensive material. As-in, you don’t stitch leather twice…

During the final steps of this fun manufacturing journey, everyone ran for cover when the responsibility of buttonhole-making arose. This would prove enough of a pain to give the most experienced Reece 101 operator cold sweats and permanent insomnia.

With all that behind us, and until the next batch, we would like to thank all involved for their professionalism and savoir-faire. We, at Mister Freedom®, are glad and sincerely appreciative that this level of Garment Industry excellence is still available in the USA.

The sheepskin hides we selected were sourced from a US tannery, each hide featuring a soft hand and golden brown finish, with subtle color variations. In “Grizzly” style fashion, we used sheepskin for the two front panels, and the large single-piece back panel. The size of the back panel made hide selection even more challenging. We also opted for a sheepskin collar, which can be turned up in cold weather to protect the throat, and keep your voice during flu season as fine as JD McPherson‘s.

For the arms and other selected panels, the leather we used is the same grade featured on our classic Campus Jacket, a milled vegetable-tanned (veg-tan) full grain cowhide, with an untreated natural finish. Each hide was carefully selected by hand, one by one. Within the same leather grade, there are no two hides alike, resulting in each jacket having its own character, specificity, feel and natural ‘imperfections’. Wabi-sabi, baby.
Our veg-tan leather is quite light sensitive, and the natural-color hide will soon start ‘tanning’ when exposed to the sunlight. Originally of a pinkish white color, the leather will turn to an attractive and warmer orange tone when worn outside. Leaving the jacket in the sun for a few days, on a bust form, will hasten this tanning process. Make sure you move the garment around a bit, so tan lines of the folds are not too sharp and un-natural. And watch-out for large birds. ?

As soon as you start wearing the MF® Baloo Jacket, expect stains, water marks, natural grease, scratches, patina and creases to pop. All this adds to the character of any worn-in rugged leather garment.
Besides a few sun-tanned specimen available solely from the MF® HQ (aimed at the movie industry/stylists) we are only offering the Baloo in its pure new/unworn condition, not ‘factory distressed’. The jacket’s journey will be yours and each nick a memory.

For a well-documented visual account of the natural ageing of a MF® Campus Jacket, visit the evo section of our friend, and expert leather craftsman, USMC MGySgt John V.’s VEB website.  John took the time to detail his own Campus Jacket’s journey and conditioning choices, and shares some great photos of the process.

We also opted to fully line the Fall 2017 Baloo Jacket with a soft-hand 100% cotton brushed flannel featuring a 1940’s-50’s-inspired vibrant plaid pattern, discharge-printed. This fabric is an old mfsc favorite we originally introduced with the Camp Flannel Shirt.

NOTES:
* We strongly advise to NOT rinse the Baloo Jacket, as some (moi?) have done with their Campus Jacket. This will only ruin your investment, and result in an unwearable piece of cardboard. If eager for cool patina, just wear the jacket during normal activities, don’t leave it in the closet for fear of soiling it, be patient and don’t watch the water boil.
* Some of the above photos feature an example of potential evolution of the MF® Baloo Jacket, showing the “out-of-the-bag” stage, the naturally sun-tanned stage, and the well-worn stage. For that ultimate stage, we are showing an old beat-up Campus Jacket, as our California weather has prevented the Mister Freedom® Prototype Field-Testing Dept. from naturally ageing a Baloo specimen yet. These evolution photos featuring different stages are for reference only, results will depend on how you wear your Baloo Jacket, how often, and the type of activities.

The MF® BALOO Jacket is designed by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in USA, from USA-sourced hides.

SPECS:
PATTERN:
Inspired by 1930’s “Grizzly” type leather jackets, and other vintage sportswear and outdoor garments.

MATERIALS:
Shell panels are a combination of:
* Vegetable tanned leather, full grain cowhide, milled and supple, natural finish and color, about 2-3 Oz weight, sourced in USA.
* Soft-hand sheepskin, warm golden brown finish with subtle color variations.

Lining: 100% cotton brushed flannel with a 1940’s-50’s-inspired vibrant plaid pattern, discharge-printed. Fabric milled in Japan.

NOTE: The Mister Freedom® Baloo Jacket is made of genuine leather. We use full-grain, and not top-grain leather (aka corrected or buffed leather, sanded to level surface inconsistencies). No two hides are alike and each panel may feature variations in texture along with natural imperfections.

DETAILS:
* Vintage 1930’s style, inspired by our Cossack-style MF® Campus Jacket and Grizzly-style American sportswear jackets.
* Fully lined with a soft cotton brushed flannel featuring a vintage style discharge-printed plaid pattern.
* Single panel sheepskin back.
* Slash pockets with arrow-head pocket stops.
* Side gussets with adjustable side straps (NOS metal slide buckles)
* Keyhole button holes.
* Corozo ‘Cat Eyes’ wood buttons, backed by French NOS genuine 1920’s glass buttons.
* Mister Freedom® woven “Sportsman” label. (Sizing tab is sandwiched on lining side seam)
* American-sourced hides.
* Made in USA.

SIZING:
The MF® Baloo Jacket is true to size. The fit is quite snug, according to your eating habits. Do not size down on this garment. If planning on layering with heavy cable knit wool sweaters, refer to sizing chart and considered sizing up in order to be able to comfortably button-up the jacket.
I am usually a 38 in mfsc jackets and opted for a 38 in the Baloo, with enough room for a single lightweight layer underneath (namely a Tricot Marin).

FYI, I had eventually opted for a size 40 in the Campus Jacket (featured in the photos), as the 38 proved too snug after the soaking processed. Again, DO NOT immerse the Baloo Jacket in water!

Refer to sizing chart below for approximate measurements. Please consider the thickness of the sheepskin when trying to match your chest measurements and the jacket’s measurements. Please contact sales@misterfreedom.com with precise questions when in doubt.

CARE:
We recommend wearing the jacket as-is. No specific initial conditioning or pre-treatment is required. Just wear and enjoy witnessing the natural ageing and patina evolution.
According to frequency of wear and exposure to the elements, some light conditioning might be applied to the sleeves eventually down the line, using products similar to Pecard Antique Leather Care. Be aware that conditioning will darken the leather, and should only be applied with care and expertise.
* Do not use heavily-oily products designed for footwear, such as neatsfoot oil.
* Do not attempt to condition the sheepskin panels…
* Do not dry clean. Even professional leather cleaning facilities might not be competent on how to treat the specific Baloo jacket veg-tan leather/sheepskin/cotton lining combo.
* Should parts of your jacket get accidentally stained from normal wear, consider this a normal stage of the evolution of an outdoor garment. As often witnessed on well-worn vintage leather jackets, wear, stains and scratches will eventually blend-in into the most attractive and unique patinas.

Available NATURAL.
Sizes
34 (X-Small)
36 (Small)
38 (Medium)
40 (Large)
42 (XLarge)
44 (XXLarge)

Retail $1,395.95
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®
©2017

Mister Freedom® ‘Veste Ménilmontant’, indigo covert herringbone twill, “GYPSY BLUES” mfsc Fall 2017

 

Mister Freedom® Veste Ménilmontant , wool-cotton indigo covert herringbone.
GYPSY BLUES” mfsc FW2017
Made in Japan.

Ménilmontant… mais oui Monsieur!

We’re kick-off the Fall chapter of our “GYPSY BLUES” story to the beat of a 1938 Charles Trenet chanson, given a Jazz Hot treatment in 1949 by a quintet led by virtuoso guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli.
Dig it!

Our Veste Ménilmontant (veste is jacket in French, and Ménilmontant is a popular neighborhood of Paris) was inspired by a vintage suit jacket, an old beat-up 1920’s-30’s French coat. That original inspirational piece was absolutely striking, with amazing character, classy curves, elegant lines, and worn-out hobo style. Check it out if you visit the old pile o’ rags.
The fabric we chose for our interpretation is a fancy herringbone weave cotton/wool blend, a covert cloth mixing indigo blue, black and slate grey yarns.
Please note that this is quite a period-looking garment, as the Veste Ménilmontant screams Thirties! In part due to the curvy and wide peak lapels, the jazzy belted back accentuating the natural waist, and the overall silhouette. That elegant single-breasted style was typical of Gentlemen’s garb of the time. The four patch pockets with button flaps complete the vintage continental flair of the garment. We played a bit with the lining fabrics to give our coat an Old World meets New World tailor-made touch, mixing French workwear stripe ticking (body lining) with Wabash twill (arm lining).

Style-wise, if a bit concerned about looking like a 1930’s suave crooner, or an extra on Sous Les Toits de Paris, pairing the Veste Ménilmontant with familiar denim favorites should easily dismiss the Jean Sablon vibe. For Heritage Fashion and workwear aficionados, the jacket can also be toned down with a “Dirty Thirties”treatment, i.e. complimented with Great Depression era-inspired outfits.
For menswear and style inspiration, old photos abound. Check out the daily gems featured on Mr. Matt “Warpath” Strickland’s excellent Rivet-Head blog or rockin’ IG account.
For fancy Jazz Manouche-style guitar picks (those featured on the photos are made from vintage NOS casein), and other Hot Jazz guitar-related goodies, look-up Mr. Thomas Davy.

The Ménilmontant Jacket is designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan by Sugar Cane Co.

SPECS:
FABRIC:
Herringbone weave blend of cotton/wool, a covert cloth mixing indigo blue, black and slate grey yarns. Milled in Japan.
Body Lining: 100% cotton indigo woven stripe ticking.
Arm Lining: 100% indigo Sugar Cane Co Wabash twill.

DETAILS:
* Inspired by 1920’s-1930’s haberdashery and French vintage Gentlemen’s suiting.
* Period silhouette with elegant lines, cinched natural waist and broad chest and shoulders.
* 1930’s type belted-back.
* Single-breasted featuring curvy wide peak lapels.
* Four patch pockets with buttoned flaps.
* Corozzo wood buttons, amber color.
* Fully lined (combination of indigo stripe ticking and indigo Wabash twill).
* Two inside concealed chest pockets.
* MF® mfsc “GYPSY BLUES” woven rayon label.

SIZING/FIT:
The Ménilmontant Jacket comes raw/unwashed. If so inclined, get some light puckering and fabric roping with a 30mn cold soak, spin dry and line dry. This garment runs true to size following this process.
I wear a fitted size 38 (Medium), my usual size in mfsc jackets and coats.

Refer to chart for raw/cold-soaked & line-dry measurements.

CARE:
We recommend hand washing (or machine-wash on delicate, if you use a high-end washing machine), cold water, eco-friendly detergent. Line dry.
Do not boil this garment, nor set washing-machine to normal/heavy agitation.

Available RAW/unwashed.
36 (Small)
38 (Medium)
40 (Large)
42 (X-Large)
44 (XX-Large)
Retail $549.95

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®
©2017