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 email@example.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.
Mister Freedom® “Liquette Tzigane”, indigo cotton/wool herringbone twill. GYPSY BLUES mfsc collection Fall 2017. Made in Japan.
The grand finale of our Hot Jazz opus, the mfsc “Gypsy Blues” 2017 collection, a venture into the world of ‘swing manouche‘, wraps-up with a Fall iteration of the Liquette Tzigane. The pattern of this garment is inspired by several vintage 1920’s-30’s fancy shirt specimen, twisted à-la MF®.
Liquette is an old French argot (slang) term designating a man’s shirt, as-in the recently released Liquette Manouche. The word Tzigane (or Tsigane) can be used to designate a person of Eastern European Romani ancestry, although the term hints at a specific culture within the Gypsy world (often with a musical connotation) rather than a geographic origin. Sounds of lamenting violins playing “Les Yeux Noirs” around the campfire, with a string of caravans in the background, come to mind.
Initially released in a fine indigo calico discharge-printed cotton popeline, our Spring 2017 take on the vintage Hungarian folk textile family called Kékfestés, the colder-months’ counterpart of the Liquette Tzigane comes in a 9.5 Oz. indigo yarn-dyed cotton-wool blend. With the 70% cotton content, this handsome fabric feels quite ‘dry’ to the touch, without any itchiness. It has a very dark navy blue tone, anecdotally reminiscent of vintage US Navy wool CPO shirts.
The Liquette Tzigane indigo HBT is designed in California by Mister Freedom®, and manufactured in Japan by Sugar cane Co.
Musical Note: I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Samy Daussat this summer, during the 2017 Los Angeles Django Festival. A knowledgeable Gypsy Jazz aficionado and talented guitar player, Samy is also blessed with teaching skills. Attendees to his master class held during the two-day event attested to that.
For those interested in this traditional Gypsy Swing style of playing guitar, Samy does a great job at deciphering and making sense of some of the specifics of Django Reinhardt’s improvising genius. His YouTube tutorials are in French, but any international guitar slinger with a Hot Club de France inclination will get the point. And classes are free!
The 2017 LA Django Festival was organized by Mr. Tommy Davy, himself expert on everything manouche guitar-related and a skilled musician. For vintage Selmer-Maccaferri-type guitar urges, browse through Tommy’s inventory of Django-style goodness, and listen to his own recorded musical prowess. Tommy also draws on traditional gypsy folk music to fuel his Trio Dinicu slavic and Tzigane-flavored repertoire.
And, to dismiss the cliche that all that jazz is just a dude thing, do check out what Christelle Caillot is bringing to the manouche guitar table.
SPECS: FABRIC: 9.5 Oz. cotton-wool blend, indigo yarn-dyed herringbone twill weave. Milled in Japan.
DETAILS: * Inspired by 1920’s-1930’s fancy shirting. * Versatile collar pattern with double button tab, fashionable as a classic open collar, cutaway style or high-buttoned. * Original MF® pocketing (from the 2012 MF® Prairie Shirt). * Indigo poplin button placket facing. * Early shirting curvy tails. * Side gussets. * Corozo wood buttons, indigo blue color. * Shirred back yoke and cuffs. * High-count stitching, early shirting narrow chainstitch construction. * Original mfsc Gypsy Blues woven rayon label. * Made in Japan.
SIZING/FIT: The MF® Liquette Tzigane indigo HBT comes raw/unwashed. Follow the usual initial method before wearing: cold soak for 30mn, spin dry and line dry. Unlike its Spring 2017 Kékfestés version for which we advised to size-up, the Liquette Tzigane indigo cotton-wool HBT is pretty much true to size, and actually features a rather generous fit allowing winter layering. I opted for a size Medium in this shirt, with a comfortable fit when worn with a classic chambray shirt, Saint-Malo jersey etc…
Please refer to chart to figure out which size works for you. “Rinsed” means soaked for 30mn in cold water, spin dry and hang dry. When in doubt, email firstname.lastname@example.org for sizing advice.
CARE: This garment is made from is a cotton-wool blend fabric. Do not wash in hot water or boil to avoid excessive shrinkage and damage to the fabric. Machine wash on delicate when needed, cold water, eco-friendly detergent. Hang dry.
Available raw/unwashed. Sizes Small Medium Large X-Large XX-Large Retail: $349.95
The pattern of the Liquette Manouche was inspired by a vintage 1930’s-40’s French pull-over garment from the MF® archives. This shirt features a col requin (shark-fin-shaped open collar, later to be associated with casual 1950’s European sportswear style shirting), a two-button front half placket, shirred back yoke, and classic early EU tailoring arrowhead-shaped side gussets, precursor of the now-common ‘heritage’ workwear design gimmick.
Liquette is an old French argot (slang) term simply designating a man’s shirt. A Manouche is a person of Western European Romani ancestry. Belgium-born Django Reinhardt, mastermind of the world-renowned musical style Jazz Manouche in the 1930’s, is one of the most illustrious French Manouche. Etymologically, the term “Gypsy” finds its roots in the word “Egyptian”, as the mysterious nomads were originally believed to have migrated from Egypt. It is commonly accepted today that their journey originated from India, sometime in the 14th century. These West-bound Romani travelers hauled along traditions, lifestyle and costumes. Their India-rooted Bohemian style tends to be associated today with flamboyant garb and vibrant indiennes prints.
Anecdotally, authentic India-designed prints could be considered as precursors of the quintessentially-British Liberty London style, as they were originally available from Arthur Liberty’s first retail venture in London (England), a bazar he had appropriately named ‘East India House’ in 1875, specializing in imported Oriental goods. He went on to opt for local production and designs, with great success.
For Fall 2017, we figured we’d chalenge our friends at Toyo Enterprises with a new puzzling favor: a double discharge-printed calico fabric! Inspired by a rare French 1930’s vintage garment, we had been contemplating the idea for some years, and thought it was time to mail an R&D package across the Pacific, attention Toyo’s Textile Lab. We then resumed our daily tasks and assignments, mostly consisting of chasing Pokémon around the office. We opted for a black, crisp cotton twill as the base fabric, and painstakingly selected two distinctive traditional calico patterns from antique textiles and swatches collected over the years. For production, the two subtlety-contrasting calico patterns are discharge-printed, on both the face and reverse of the fabric (i.e. “bleached-out” with low bleed-through), and then printed with actual indigo ink.
How this technically works is actually still quite puzzling to us savvy experts of the MF® HQ Team of Pikachu Specialists, but the resulting double-sided fabric is quite outstanding. We can thank and congratulate our Sugar Cane friends for delivering such a beautiful and original textile.
Please note that, although attractive both inside and out, this garment is not reversible, therefore not optimal for the French shower.
The MF® Liquette Manouche is designed in California by Mister Freedom®, and manufactured in Japan by Sugar cane Co.
SPECS: FABRIC: A crisp 5 Oz. 100% cotton twill, double-printed in indigo with two specific calico patterns on face and reverse, using a discharge-print technique.
Milled and printed in Japan exclusively for mfsc.
DETAILS: * Inspired by 1930’s French shirting and vintage bohemian style. * Pull-over style, two button placket. * ‘Col Requin’ style open collar. * Corozo wood buttons. * Shirred back yoke and cuffs. * Early-type arrowhead side gussets. * Contrasting front/back shirt tail. * Original mfsc Gypsy Blues woven rayon label. * Made in Japan.
SIZING/FIT: The MF® Liquette Manouche in double calico comes raw/unwashed. Follow the usual recommended initial method before wearing: cold soak for 30mn, spin dry and line dry. This shirt is true-to-size and we recommend getting your normal mfsc size. I often wear a Medium in mfsc shirts and i opted for a comfortable Medium in the Liquette Manouche. Please refer to chart to figure which size works for you. If still confused, email email@example.com
CARE: Machine wash on delicate when needed, cold water, eco-friendly detergent. Hang dry.
Available raw/unwashed. Sizes Small Medium Large X-Large XX-Large
Mister Freedom® NIXON Shirt, printed corduroy. “Surplus” catalog mfsc FW 2017. Made in Japan.
This is the fourth addition to our MF® “SURPLUS” Fall 2017 line-up, an on-going concept consisting of timeless classics given a twist à-la MF®, expertly manufactured in Japan by our long-time friends and partners at Toyo Enterprises. The MF® “SURPLUS” collection is the ethically-made-overseas companion of our popular all-made-in-USA “Sportsman” catalog.
For the office anecdote-inclined, we used to refer to this pattern as the ‘Dick Shirt’ during R&D, but eventually settled on ‘Nixon’ for the official release, for obvious reasons.
The pattern of our ‘Nixon’ shirt is largely inspired by an original 1950’s vintage “Roomy Richard” chambray work shirt, a now-defunct American workwear label established in the late 1920’s. The main appeal of that vintage piece was for us the tricky double-layer ‘cigarette’ chest pocket pattern, somewhat reminiscent of the famous Big Yank pocket, familiar to all vintage clothing aficionados. That pocket was designed to keep the worker’s cigarette pack dry.
Original 1940’s vintage “Roomy Richard” work shirt packaging.
If most of us today know better than to donate towards the cause of tobacco companies by purchasing their wares, the practical little pocket can still be used as double storage for, say, both an iPhone and a public transportation ticket/smart card. Beside this fancy characteristic, our Nixon shirt features a chin-strap, triple stitch construction and side gussets, all classic attributes of old-school vintage work shirts.
The fabric we opted for is a 16 wale all-cotton corduroy, discharge-printed with a traditional plaid pattern typical of 1940’s-1950’s vintage outdoor gear, mimicking the appearance of woven checks. Because of the limited bleed-through printing, the reverse of the fabric displays the solid color of the base fabric, not unlike our Sportsman printed Camp Flannel Shirt from 2013. This printed corduroy was exclusively milled for mfsc in Japan, and is released for Fall 2017 in two color options, red plaid and blue plaid.
The Nixon Shirt is designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan by Sugar Cane Co.
SPECS: FABRIC: A 16 wale all-cotton corduroy, discharge-printed with a traditional plaid pattern. Milled and printed in Japan.
Two color options, blue and red.
DETAILS: * A pattern inspired by a 1950’s “Roomy Richard” chambray, and other vintage work shirts. * Trim silhouette. * Fancy double-layer left chest pocket, known as “cigarette pocket”. * Corozo wood buttons. * Chin strap, featuring vintage-style mfsc-embossed metal buttons. * Triple stitch construction. * Side gussets. * Tonal stitching. * Mister Freedom® mfsc “Surplus” woven label. * Made in Japan.
SIZING/FIT: The Mister Freedom® printed corduroy Nixon Shirt comes raw/unwashed. We recommend an initial cold soak/rinse and line dry. The shirt will shrink to tagged size. This garment is true-to-size. I wear a Medium, my usual size in mfsc shirting. The fit is quite trim, with a tapered waist for a slim silhouette. Refer to sizing chart for approximate measurements, post cold soak/line dry.
CARE: Launder when needed. Machine-wash on delicate cycle, cold water, minimal eco-friendly detergent, line dry.
Available raw (un-washed) Sizes Small Medium Large X-Large XX-Large