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

The “CAMPUS” Leather Jacket, Natural Cowhide, Made in USA

 

Campus Jkt Mister Freedom 2013

 

Campus Jkt Mister Freedom 2013

 

 

Mister Freedom® “CAMPUS” Jacket
‘The Sportsman’ Made in USA, Fall 2013

Closely following the career of Justin Bieber, I have decided to make a 1930’s style leather jacket of absolute no interest to him.

If we usually do not claim to have come up with the perfect garment, this time… is no exception.
However, I’ll still share the American saga that started sometime in early 2012, to end a few weeks short of Christmas 2013.
Thanks to the hard work of many, here is our “CAMPUS” jacket today, an addition to our staple Mister Freedom® ‘The Sportsman’ catalog.

This jacket comes somewhat as a Do-It-Yourself kit. Not that what you’re getting is a cow with thread and needle, along with instructions in 12 languages starting with “Carefully insert A, you fun have is go now. Yes? Welcome” on page 1. But rather in the sense that our CAMPUS leather jacket is a blank canvas for you to colorize.
These days, with no shortage of disposable mass produced goods crowding shelves and virtual stores, well orchestrated impulse buys and tantalizing ad campaigns stimulating consumerism, it is easy to forget that clothes are actually made by real people, use resources to manufacture, and are the result of a long chain of events. I believe clothes should not become widgets and end up in landfills…
By acknowledging the work and efforts that go into manufacturing a garment, by being aware of the challenges, one should naturally acquire a certain respect for things man-made.
We hope to send this simple message by creating a connection with this DIY garment and its owner.
To do so, we opted for a leather with an untreated natural looking finish, somewhat of a ‘raw’ state that will start to age and become one with the wearer the moment the garment is removed from its packaging, namely a cool re-usable selvedge denim printed bag.

About style:
Our CAMPUS is a Mister Freedom® interpretation of traditional 1930’s ‘Cossack’ type jackets. Originally, the term ‘Cossack’ might have referred to the versatile collar shape that allowed to be flipped up to a military style Nehru collar… For all I know, it might as well be referring to a Mrs. Cossack, fierce week-end seamstress, who first came up with a short unlined leather jacket with a round collar for her stylish hubby… As always, don’t quote me on anything.
What I do know is why we called our jacket the “CAMPUS”: flipping through a 1933 Pasadena Junior College year book entitled ‘Campus’, I noticed that that style of jacket was on many of the students’ backs. Some jackets appeared to be suede, some full-grain leather, most with A-1 type patch pockets… but all with the consistent typical ‘Cossack’ style, short with round collar. Times when Charles Lindbergh was hip. And Jacques Cousteau a hipster.

Campus Yearbook 1933 Jacques Cousteau

I remember owning a similar jacket in the early 1990’s. Found in a thrift store for a few bucks, I remember it having a beautiful patina but fitting a tight in the arms. So I, of course, immediately thought of cutting the sleeves off… I am not sure where the body is today, but I know I kept the sleeves, having recently found them in a pile of leather scraps at work.
How sane it is for one to hold on to old leather scraps for 23 years is unsure, but chopping the sleeves of that gem was a real lifetime achievement…

Vintage Cossack

Campus 1933 Yearbook, vintage Cossack scraps

So, 23 years after, I can only try to redeem myself with a leather jacket that can be passed on to the next generation. In some 60 years, when someone stumbles on a beat-up vintage Mister Freedom® ‘CAMPUS’ and has an urge to turn it into a vest, we will have gone full circle…

About construction:
Our choice of keeping the CAMPUS unlined is a nod to many older ‘Cossack’ type jacket. This sounds today like a ‘cheaper’ alternative to a full lining, but is actually a real challenge for one concerned with both outside and inside appearance. Inside exposed seams are often very funky in the vintage samples I have seen. With the CAMPUS, we thrived to keep it clean in and out. And anyone who works with leather knows that you do not get a second chance…
We also opted for poly-cotton thread this time, having seen too many vintage leather jackets with busted out seams.

About the leather:
I opted for a light weight vegetable tanned full grain milled cow hide, untreated natural finish, origin USA. Each hide was carefully selected by hand, many rejected, a fun process. Within the same grade, there were no two alike, resulting in each CAMPUS jacket having its own character, specificity, feel and natural ‘imperfections’.
Extremely light sensitive, pretty much like the (usually) unexposed parts of your own skin, this natural hide will start ‘tanning’ when exposed to the sunlight.
Originally of a white pinkish color, this leather will turn quite orange when worn/left in the sun for a few days. THIS IS NORMAL, and expected.
Unless you are Batman, the CAMPUS will change color as you wear it outside. Expect stains, water marks, natural grease, scratches, patina and creases if you are planning on taking it out of the closet where it doesn’t belong. All this adds to the character of a leather garment, and is the reason why they are referred to as ‘second skin’.
We are offering the Campus in pure new condition, not ‘factory distressed’. The jacket’s journey will be yours and each nick a memory. The evolution photo with the three stages is for reference only, results will depend on how you wear your Campus, how often and your type of activities.

Campus Jkt Evolution Mister Freedom 2013

Evolution will depend on use

Campus Early Prototype Mister Freedom 2013

Early prototype sun bathing

I once had in my hands a NOS 1930’s ‘Cossack’ leather jacket, original tags and all, featuring a printed paper sticker affixed to the flesh side of the hide. The sticker claimed the garment was “HAND WASHABLE with Castile Soap”.
Now. We have experienced soaking the CAMPUS in cold water, spin dry, line dry, worn briefly to shape, as demonstrated in this silly cartoon.

Campus Poster

What NOT to do, step by step

However, results have varied greatly and we DO NOT RECOMMEND IT. Some of the hides will shrink and/or stiffen more than others. So there is a chance of ending up with a leather brick two sizes too small… Should you wish to proceed with dipping your jacket in water, you are on your own…

It is much safer to wear the jacket and let natural patina happen over time.
For the adventurous type however, putting the CAMPUS jacket on a bust form outside and letting it tan for a while can have interesting results. Avoid large seagull populated areas. Also make sure to periodically move it around so that the sun tan looks natural, avoiding crisp lines. Anyone who ever woke up on a beach at noon will understand.

Just a few of the stages…

Anyways, here is the promised saga:
After the hides were selected, bought and dropped at the factory, the cutting began.
Then the skiving (for less bulky seams.)
Then the sewing…
The unfinished jacket were taken to yet another place to have keyhole type button holes added, instead of the more modern looking bound button hole construction.
The ultimate trip was to MF® atelier (a fancy word for our in-store sweat shop) where the buttons were patiently hand stitched, one by one.

Besides a long delay from the start due to difficulties sourcing all the required hides, I am happy – and relieved – to say that everything else went as planned.
If at any stage something could have gone very wrong, everyone involved did an amazing job to prevent FUBAR status.
Cheers!

Mister Freedom 2013

The MF soft shoe

 

And thus ends the saga of our CAMPUS Jacket…
Designed by Mister Freedom® and made in California, US of A.

SPECS:

PATTERN: An original pattern inspired by a Mrs. Cossack, and 1930’s sportswear type light leather jackets.

LEATHER: Vegetable tanned leather, full grain cow hide, milled and supple, natural finish and color, about 2-3 Oz weight, origin USA

DETAILS:
* 1930’s silhouette
* One piece back
* Fully unlined, clean seams.
* Cotton corduroy collar and wrist cuff facing
* Slash pockets with arrow stops.
* Side gussets with adjustable side straps (NOS metal slide buckles)
* Keyhole button holes.
* Corrozo ‘Cat Eyes’ wood buttons (aka ivory nut), backed by NOS French 1920’s glass buttons.
* Underarm venting eyelets
* Mister Freedom® ‘The Sportsman’ woven label behind the slash pocket, right front panel.
* High stitch-count, sturdy poly-cotton thread stitching.
* Made in California, USA with American cowhides.

SIZING:
Because of its weight on the light side for a leather jacket, I wanted a slim and quite snug fit, reminiscent of the original 1930’s silhouettes. This leather jacket is easily wearable during California summer evenings, with a light shirt or T-shirt. Besides the easy blue jeans/Ts, I like the more elegant white shirt/tie look with it as well.
During winter, the CAMPUS can be layered under an heavier outwear jacket, an old school down vest etc…
I am usually a 38 in mfsc jackets and I am a 38 in the CAMPUS, with room for a lightweight shirt underneath.
Tom is wearing a 36 on the photos, his usual size in MF® jackets. Tom, however, does not eat calzones.
Please refer to sizing chart for approximate measurements.

Campus Jacket Sizing Chart Mister Freedom 2013

CARE:
We recommend you leave you CAMPUS as-is and just wear it.
Because of its original light natural color that will darken over time, it is prone to get soiled, water marked etc… This is part of the tough life of a leather jacket, your second skin.
Just for info, Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap is used by some pro tack shops to clean leather, at your own risk. Pecard also offers quality leather dressing.
Please be aware that almost anything applied to light colored leather will alter its color.
What ‘works’ on boots is not what you put on a saddle (if you want to stay on it), and definitely not made for clothing.
Seek the help of a professional leather cleaner should staining occur that you cannot live with.

Note that some shedding of the leather ‘flesh’ side may occur for a while and leave (brush-able) flecks visible on dark shirts or waistcoats.
I have tested the corduroy ‘El Americano’ waistcoat with the Campus… once. This shedding should settle after a certain period of wearing the jacket.

 

Available NATURAL/‘raw’
Sizes
36
(Small)
38 (Medium)
40 (Large)
42 (XLarge)
44 (XXLarge)
Retail $949.95

Available on www.misterfreedom.com , at our brick and mortar in Hollywood, CA., and at a few selected fine boutiques around the World.
Please call 323-653-2014 or email sales@misterfreedom.com with any questions not answered above.

Thank you again for your support 😉