Mister Freedom® “Utes”, ‘Boonies’ edition, Saigon Cowboy SS2015 flashback.

Some vintage inspiration out of the Mister Freedom® archives.

Mister Freedom® “Utes” boonies edition, Experimental Camouflage.
“Saigon Cowboy” Spring 2015 flashback!
Made in japan, chopped in USA.

The current sizzling temperatures in Los Angeles are slowly getting to us, and we’re having some “Saigon Cowboy” flashbacks…
Beaucoup dinky dau, eh?
So we figured we’d give a few pairs of our camo Utility Trousers the boonies treatment, i.e. we chopped-up the legs for a local-made flair. We added a side pocket, made from the extra fabric, to store your wad of piastres or bottle of Bamiba.

Those not allergic to historical tidbits can refer to our original post, for Counter Insurgency Support Office (CISO) and other CIDG-related stories behind the design of these trousers. For more general background on why we chose controversial times such as the Vietnam War era to draw inspiration for our 2015 collection, see here.
There it is.

The “Utes” are designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan by Sugar Cane Co, part of our SS2015 “Saigon Cowboy” mfsc collection.

An initially white-based 100% cotton HBT fabric, printed on both sides using a double-side rotary screen technique. Milled and printed in Japan.
Face printed with an original Mister Freedom® “Experimental” camo pattern (inspired by the P1942 frogskin pattern).
Reverse printed with a solid cachou color (a reference to the caramel-like color typical of 1930’s French military canvas gear).
a) HiLand camouflage out (arid terrain, lighter)/cachou in.
b) LoLand camouflage out (jungle, darker)/cachou in.
c) Cachou out (solid)/HiLand camouflage in.

* Special “Boonie” edition, hemmed bermuda length, with extra single side pocket added.
* Inspired by vintage military utility trousers.
* Slimmer ‘ARVN’-type silhouette.
* Mid-high waisted.
* Front patch pockets locked in side seam, rear patch pockets, horizontal HBT.
* Side cinch tabs, mil-spec slide buckle.
* Flat black-painted Metal “13 Stars” tack waist button.
* Oxidized black donut-type fly buttons.
* Flat felled seams, chainstitch.
* 100% cotton tonal stitching.
* Made in Japan, customized in USA.

All three fabric options will measure the same after an initial cold soak/line dry process. The Boonies edition are cut to fall a bit above the knee, but silhouette will differ according to ones waist/height ratio.
Refer to sizing charts for approximate measurements.

Available Rinsed.
Limited sizes.
RETAIL $229.95

Available from www.misterfreedom.com and our Los Angeles HQ.
Email sales@misterfreedom.com or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for your support.

Christophe Loiron
Mister Freedom®

The TAP Lezard “Vanden” Jacket, double indigo twill x Lizard camo combo, Saigon Cowboy Fall 2015




A strong CHANEL influence right here.







TAP Lézard “Vanden” Jacket, reversible quilted indigo twill x lizard camouflage.

Following the release of the Mister Freedom® CDO Jacket, and in a similar Hmongs meets Commando vibe, here is the “Vanden” Jacket. This number will be the final addition to our “Saigon Cowboy” collection, wrapping our Spring and Winter 2015 South East Asia adventure.

Some quick semantics first…
If TAP stands for Troupes Aéroportées (Airborne troops, notorious for their tenue bariolée ‘lézard’), the name “Vanden” is a reference to Roger Vandenberghe. A French military legend, Vanden, as his peers called him, lead the famed Commando N°24 known as the Tigres Noirs (Black Tigers), one of the 45 units making-up the 5,400 men-strong Commando Nord Viet-Nam (1951-1954). Adjudant-ChefVanden’ would become one of the most decorated non-commissioned officer of the French Army, with most of his decorations earned during the Indochina conflict.

Strategic precursors of the CIA-devised CIDG paramilitary groups that would later take over with the US involvement in Vietnam, these French commando units consisted of men recruited amongst ethnic minorities of mountainous regions of Southeast Asia (Hmong, Nùng… of North Vietnam, Laos). Many defecting Viêt Minh personnel also joined the ranks. For either cultural, economic, ideological or territorial reasons, these Vietnamese nationals volunteered to fight alongside the French colonial troops,  against the Ho Chi Minh-lead communists.
Routinely infiltrating enemy-controlled territory, these commandos often opted for uniforms incorporating NVA (North Vietnamese Army) gear, ‘black pajamas’, Chinese military quilted vest, headscarves, dark indigo-dyed garments and other un-conventional local favorites… as can be seen on period photography.

After flirting with death on countless perilous ops, Vanden was to meet his fate in his sleep, assassinated in 1952 by one of his own, a Viêt Minh gone-rogue recruit of the N°24 commando…
For more on that, francophones can refer to “Vandenberghe – Le Commando Des Tigres Noirs – Indochine 1947-1952” by Charles-Henry De Pirey (ISBN:9782914086059).

Photos of Vanden’s Black Tigers courtesy of “PR” on this blog.
Photo of Viet Minh prisoners courtesy of this site.
Photo of night river patrol ©Raoul Coutard, as featured in the book “Guerre Morte” (1954) (ISBN: B00WL1YZIE)

Now comes our loose interpretation of all this…
The Mister Freedom® ‘Vanden’ jacket is by no means a replica of authentic Indochina period uniform, but rather a respectful attempt to link History with contemporary wearables, acknowledging a not-so-distant past, lest we forget. This jacket is an original garment that blends vintage aesthetics and references, not an endorsement of bygone imperialistic foreign policies, nor a glamorization of warfare.

The usual MF® spin was put on a 1950’s French Army Type 1 veste matelassée (often seen rolled up atop the rucksack during the French Army Algerian campaign, 1954-1962), an NVA black-dyed vest,… and vintage sportswear field gear. The result is an hybrid jacket featuring double indigo twill on one side, and our version of the traditional camouflage lézard introduced with the Garrison Trousers and Caban Peacoat on the other.

This jacket is fully reversible, featuring a “TYE Tokyo” metal zipper with double-sided pull courtesy of Toyo Tailor, the skilled Sukajan makers of the Mister Freedom® Party Jacket, our special Spring 2015 illiterate keyboard cowboy stimulator.


Party Jacket and TAP ‘Vanden’ Jacket

The “Vanden” can be worn and zipped-up montagnard side out, or jungle side out. Please note that we left it up too you to customize the pull with your own scoubidou or Paracord tab, as the jacket comes without one.

The “Vanden” features 6 pockets altogether, lower expandable snap flap pockets inspired by French military TAP field jackets, and two camo side chest pockets, quite convenient to store sunglasses or iPhone.
The wool knit cuffs and collar band are mil-specs, courtesy of Buzz Rickson’s.
On a somewhat insignificant note, I have come to like the old stretched-out cuffs of vintage jackets that have been through the wringer, and an easy way to achieve that look is to roll-up the knit cuff on the arm part when the weather permits. Once pulled back down, the cuffs will look ‘sloppily perfect’. This defeats the purpose of keeping the wrist section air-tight, triggering the usual slave-to-style issue, be cool or stay warm, for those of us blessed with such First World dilemmas.

The bottom of the jacket features side expansion wool knit gussets, a vintage-inspired detail we already used on the Chiller Vest, an old Mister Freedom® garment from our 2010 “Speed Safe” collection. This features comes handy when the jacket is fully zipped-up and you are at the wheel.

For the inner padding, we opted for a 100% polyester fiber thermal fill, great for warmth but not too bulky to avoid the Michelin Man look. The square-shape quilted pattern is only featured on the indigo side of the body. The arms are not quilted but still feature a thin thermal padding.

The TAP Lézard ‘Vanden’ Jacket is designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan by Sugar Cane Co.

Montagnard side: “Double indigo twill”, a very dark (almost black) indigo warp and indigo weft 100% cotton denim twill, 12.4 Oz., white selvedge ID. Milled in Japan.
Jungle side: 100% cotton HBT ‘lizard’ camouflage fabric, milled and printed in Japan.
Inner padding: 100% polyester fiber thermal fill.


* Inspired by 1950’s Indochina War military gear and vintage outdoor garments.
* Fully reversible.
* 4 bottom expanding pockets with snap flap, with two extra chest pockets on the lizard side.
* 1950’s sukajan style reversible “TYE Tokyo” metal zipper with double pull tabs.
* 100% polyester fiber filling with minimal ‘puffiness’.
* Mil-specs wool knit cuffs, collar band and side expansion gussets.
* Square-shape quilting pattern on the indigo side.
* Olive green 100% cotton thread.
* Snap down collar lapels.
* Concealed woven Saigon Cowboy label stitched inside pocket flap.
* Made in Japan.

The “Vanden” Jacket comes raw/unwashed and we recommend an initial cold soak (~30mn) with occasional hand-agitation to insure total immersion. Spin cycle and line dry. This jacket is quite bulky and heavy when wet, so do not attempt a full washing cycle as this might damage both your jacket and your washing machine.
This jacket is true to size, and a Medium (38) fits like a snug Medium by mfsc standards. I wear a Medium with enough room for a sweatshirt or denim jacket underneath. This is a rather fitted jacket, depending of course on your build, proportions and choice of size.


Please refer to sizing chart for cold rinse/line dry approximate measurements.

TAP Lezard

Launder when hygiene dictates and common sense prevails.
We recommend professional cleaning in your local eco-friendly facility. If not practical, hand wash or machine wash on DELICATE in large capacity washer to avoid damaging both jacket and machine. Cold water, delicate cycle, eco-friendly mild detergent and line dry. We recommend turning indigo blue/denim garments inside out to avoid marbling when washing. Un-zip jacket before washing.
Patina will develop according to activities and frequency of wear.
WARNING: The double indigo twill will naturally bleed, and minimal color transfer to light color garments or furniture is to be expected. Indigo transfer will wash-off overtime.

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

RETAIL $699.95

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

Christophe Loiron
Mister Freedom® 2015

The MF® Oki Cover, recycled 1940’s USMC reversible frogskin camo ponchos. Made in USA.








Suggested extra noise-canceling set-up, pending USPTO approval.

The Oki Cover in its new environment.

Some MF® Oki Covers in their new environment.

Mister Freedom® Oki Cover.
Recycled from 1940’s USMC ponchos.

Sportsman 2015, made in USA.

Recycling is green but the MF® Oki Cover comes in frogskin camo.

The name “Oki” is a reference to Okinawa, the home of the Counter Insurgency Support Office for a while, as we already mentioned while introducing the MF® Experimental Camouflage Utility Trousers during Spring 2015. To pretentiously quote ourselves, here is a bit of that interesting slice of History again:

“…To more efficiently handle logistics, the highly-classified Counter Insurgency Support Office is established on the island of Okinawa, Japan in 1963. Headed by a mysterious individual working for the Department of Army by the name of Conrad Benjamin Baker, CISO was “assigned the mission of supporting the Special Forces programs through triservice depots and local procurement sources (…) Many items of clothing and equipment, for example, had to be obtained from markets in other countries because of size problems, composition of material, and equipment which had to be tailored to Montagnard measurements.” (source)

CISO acquired or produced ‘sterile’ (untraceable if captured) weapons, along with unmarked clothing and equipment to outfit US Special Forces or advisors heading out to South Vietnam. Locally screen-printed tiger stripe camo fatigues, “bowie” knives, VC-style black pajamas, rations, machetes, Seiko watches for recon teams, black 1-0rain jackets, North Vietnamese Army-inspired rucksacks
Basically, if it proved needed in the field, CISO sourced it out in Asia, or designed it and manufactured it locally. At a fraction of the price compared to US-made mil-specs issued gear, and quicker delivery than its state-side bureaucracy-laden official channel alternative. What exactly went on is not well documented, but Ben Baker’s account of his involvement in the original design and R&D of the famous SOG knife is available for download in pdf form here…”

In the tradition of local-made garments using recycled Government-issued equipment and fabrics, we have decided to ‘sacrifice’ a few NOS WW2 USMC ponchos scored recently to make some hats. These un-issued shelter halves are authentic and originate from different military contractors of the period. They were still craft paper-wrapped and stored in talc powder. They are all dated 1944.

Originally, these ponchos were mainly issued to GI’s in the Pacific theater of operations (PTO), as the frogskin camo pattern proved too close to the German’s variety of field concealment to avoid confusion in Europe (ETO). From Tarawa to Iwo Jima, island-hoping Marines made good use of these reversible rubberized canvas shelter halves, also turning them into floor mats, blankets, tents… Rarely pictured worn in combat situation probably due to obvious impracticability, these ponchos can still be spotted on period photography of the Pacific War.

Unloading USN landing crafts, Iwo Jima 1945 (Courtesy LIFE)

USN or USMC Camo poncho in action. GI’s unloading USN landing crafts, Iwo Jima 1945 (Courtesy LIFE)

The pattern of our Oki Cover is of a generic engineer cap type, a cross between the Choo Choo Charlie hat and a 40’s UMSC cover. Our cap is pretty much reversible, and can be worn jungle side out or beach side out, although, for those understandingly allergic to branding, the green camo side features the MF® sportsman woven label.

DISCLAIMER: This NOS rubberized canvas fabric, although thin, feels quite stiff and starched, making crinkly noises even after being thoroughly washed. For argument sake, it can be said that once sitting on top of you head and shaped to your liking, the MF® Oki Cover should remain quiet if your hair grows less than a foot per day.
One can also look at the Oki Cover as a low-tech noise canceling hat.

The very limited MF® Oki Cover is made in California by Mister Freedom®, from recycled 1940’s USMC frogskin camo ponchos.
Also featured in the photos is the MF® Jump Scarf, recycled from authentic vintage 1950’s US military spot camouflage canopies.

Credits: Some historical references courtesy of this US Militaria Forum thread.


Recycled NOS 1940’s USMC frogskin camo ponchos, original US Government issue, dated 1944. This batch of rubberized fabric is quite stiff and noisy. Each cap was washed thoroughly after completion and the fabric feels like dry fabric and not rubber.
We do not guarantee the waterproof quality of the fabric anymore, but applying some type of weatherproof fabric dressing might help, and prove more productive than suing the original 1944 contractor. We have yet to test, but the wax might also help with the crinkling noise.
Due to the nature of this 70 year-old vintage fabric, each hat might show wear from washing and abrasion, and feature tiny holes and minor fraying.

* Engineer cap-type pattern.
* Reversible.
* Low-tech noise canceling technology.
* Limited Edition.
* Made in USA.

The Oki Covers come thoroughly washed and machine dried. No further shrinkage is to be expected.
They are sized by measuring the headband in centimeters. The sizing is discreetly stamped in black on the jungle side.

Hand wash when needed. Shape and hang dry.

Available washed only.

Retail $129.95

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

Christophe Loiron
Mister Freedom®

Mister Freedom x Sugar Cane “Saigon Cowboy” mfsc Fall 2015 preview


©Mister Freedom 2015


©Mister Freedom 2015


©Mister Freedom 2015


©Mister Freedom 2015

Indochine, indigo, jungle, lézard, PBR, Brown Water Navy…
Available sometime in 2015.

Tiger Board Shorts, “Saigon Cowboy” mfsc spring 2015


Mister Freedom Saigon Cowboy Spring 2015

Mister Freedom Saigon Cowboy Spring 2015

Mister Freedom Saigon Cowboy Spring 2015

Tiger Board Shorts
“Saigon Cowboy” mfsc Spring 2015

Mad Mark was the platoon leader, a first lieutenant and a Green Beret. (…) His attitude and manner were those of a CIA operative. A lover of stealth. A pro, a hired hand. (…) He wore tiger fatigues, not for their camouflage but for their look.
Excerpt from ‘If I Die in a Combat Zone: Box Me Up and Ship Me Home’ Tim O’Brien (1975)

If I Die in a Combat Zone Tim O'Brien Vietnam (1969)

While Camp Pendleton Marines were chasing SoCal surfers out of Trestles, a few selected men of the Green Machine were board-riding the South China Sea waters of war-torn Vietnam. There it is.
Because eeeeverybody’s gone suuuurfin’, surfin’ USA in the 1960’s, the draft was to inevitably send some wave-obsessed kids to Vietnam. If Colonel Kilgore was a fictional character, several real life accounts testify of that. A certain Private Wyatt Miller Jr even managed to technically go MIA, last seen wiping out off Da Nang, on September 13, 1970…
Quite an interesting documentary, the 2008 film “Between The Lines: The True Story of Surfers and the Vietnam War” depicts the contrasting perspectives of combat vet surfer Pat Farley and surfer-dodger Brant Page, amongst others. Of hang tens and M-16s. Not a ton of period footage for obvious reasons, but insightful raw interviews nonetheless, not exactly highlighting the sanity of the Human race…

To accompany our “Saigon Cowboy” in his endless summer safari, we are issuing a tiger stripe edition of the Board Shorts, a model we originally introduced for Spring 2014. These Mister Freedom® board shorts are inspired by several classic pairs of late 60’s~70’s trunks (Hang Ten, etc…), and feature an adjustable waist closure, Velcro® tape fly, side pocket, concealed rear pocket…
We scored some yardage of gold tiger stripe camouflage from our friends at Buzz Rickson’s. I believe this specific tiger pattern is referred to as TSP (Tadpole Sparse Pattern), but I’m probably wrong on that. The correct answer should be inside Richard Denis Johnson’s “Tiger Patterns” (ISBN 0-7643-0756-8).

For the salty look, we ‘partied-up’ our board shorts in two options, each featuring a single patch:
a) Reproduction “Sorry About That” red arc patch, with a local hand-made look.
b) Original 1970’s New Old Stock “Peace sign” patch.
Those inclined to do so will find many other vintage patches out there to spice this up, or a seam ripper to remove them. The older type machine-made patches are soft and have a cotton gaze-like back. They look much better in my opinion than the modern, rigid, iron-on kind found everywhere. Many eBay dealers offer reproduction or original patches from the Vietnam era.
I personally opted for three patches on my trunks, to take on bust-a-twig patrol while doing the jungle cancan.

The Tiger Board Shorts are designed and manufactured in California by Mister Freedom®, in collaboration with Sugar Cane Co.


Buzz Rickson’s 100% cotton twill, printed with TSP (Tadpole Sparse Pattern) gold tiger stripe camouflage. Made in Japan.

* Late 60’s to 1970’s style
* Paracord/eyelet waist closure system.
* Velcro® fly closure.
* Reproduction or NOS patch customization.
* Side pocket with Velcro® closure flap.
* Rear concealed sand pocket.
* Orange poly-cotton contrast stitching.
* Made in USA.

The board shorts are only available RAW.
The tiger board shorts will shrink to tagged size. The way the waistband closure is designed allows for a 1-1½ inch play, according to how tightly pulled the paracord is.
Please refer to sizing chart for soak/line dry measurements (please note that further shrinkage can be expected with hot soak and machine dry.)

Gold Tiger Board Shorts

Low maintenance, machine wash when needed. Color fading to be expected overtime.

Available Raw (unwashed) ONLY
Tagged Sizes
X-SMALL (approx W28)
SMALL (approx W30)
MEDIUM (approx W32)
LARGE (approx W34)
XLARGE (approx W36)
Retail $149.95

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