And a free bowl of soup to the first reader who notices the upside down woven label on this early sample. Shipping not included.
Mister Freedom® HQ at 7161 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA. (Photo Tadashi Tawarayama 2015)
CDO Jacket, Melton wool x indigo cotton twill combo Saigon Cowboy Fall 2015
Following the recent release of the Mister Freedom® Caban Peacoat, and pushing further up the meanders of our Saigon Cowboy arroyos, here is a new number out of the bush: the ‘CDO Jacket’.
CDO stands for Commando, a respectful reference to Commandos Marine, the famed elite assault troops of the French Navy.
During France’s involvement in the Indochina War, mid-40’s to 1954, several Commandos Marine (Commando François, de Montfort, Jaubert, Tempête and Ouragan) joined forces with South Vietnamese troops on numerous operations from the Gulf of Siam to the Gulf of Tonkin. Whether navigating South China Sea waters, maneuvering Tonkin and Cochinchina waterways, or joining riverine operations around Annam deltas with the Divisons Navales d’Assaut (DINASSAUT), the Fusiliers Marins et Commandos (FUSCO) played a very active role from the early stages of the conflict. These commandos were composed of both supplétifs (enrolled pro-French Indochinese nationals) and CEFEO troops from continental France.
For units assigned to Fleuve (Brown-water Navy) or Mer (blue-water Navy), deployments involved all kinds of fun tropical aquatic activities such as exhilarating adventures in leech-infested and mosquito-ridden mangrove. Cruising aboard US-made landing craft vessels recycled from WW2, or rudimentary river patrol Swift Boat-type precursors, many of these French commandos never reached the end of their 18-month tour.
Due to field isolation, some of these units were left to their own fate and judgement, often pictured sporting eclectic outfits more adapted to local conditions and personal preferences than showing concern for strict military regulations.
For those with a yen for vivid military slang, brown-water French sailors, ‘marins en kaki’ in Indochina, were poetically nicknamed ‘chie dans l’eau” by their airborne or infantry counterparts. ‘Dans l’eau’ translates to ‘in the water’. The verb is for you to guess.
In subsequent years, in and about Vietnam’s 12,000 miles of coastal terrain, American soldiers would in turn be instructed to board all kinds of riverine crafts, some actually inherited from the French flotillas, and confront the same Viet Minh (Vietnamese independentists) enemy, relabelled Viet Cong (Vietnamese communists) to better celebrate the pursuit of the Cold War festivities…
Cdo Jaubert 1950 (Courtesy JY Seven)
CDO Montfort (1949-51) Courtesy Musiolik René
CDO Montfort 1951-53 (Courtesy O Walter)
CDO Montfort LEMONNIER Louis (Tonkin 1951) Courtesy Sélo
CDO Montfort MORVAN Joseph (Tonkin 1951-52)
CDO Montfort Sélo 1950-52 Courtesy MISPELAERE André
WW2 era LCVP, Dinassault crew in Indochina
PBR 9th Division My Tho River (1968 AP photo)
LST 97 Heavy Boat Company (1969) Courtesy Tom Poston 154th Transportation Company
Vintage photos courtesy of thisCommandos Marine homage website. Landing Ship Tank photo courtesy of this website.
Back on point.
Our ‘CDO Jacket’ is by no means a replica of 50’s French Indochina military gear, but instead a product of our questionable imagination. It mixes influences from different armies and periods, in order to create a wearable garment suitable for a peaceful 2015 bateau-mouche cruise. This jacket is the result of combining several vintage goodies in the MF® shaker: British Battledress, 1940’s US Army denim utility jacket, 1950’s French tenue de sortie (dress uniform) jackets, outdoor navy CPO-type civvy garments…
If the general pattern of the ‘CDO Jacket’ is adapted from our Spring 2015 denim Utility Jacket, the shell fabric we opted for is new to MFSC. This textured woven woolen fabric is reminiscent of 1960’s-70’s Melton wool CPO navy shirts, the common civilian kind we are all familiar with, featuring the classic black plastic anchor buttons. This fabric is different from the dense Kersey-type wool of early peacoats, or from the wool serge of typical 1940’s battledress/Ike jackets. It is more loosely woven, without the softer brushed finish, and with the woven pattern clearly visible from both sides.
Vintage Melton navy CPO shirt
1970’s wool CPO navy shirt
‘Black’ indigo is an important feature of Vietnam’s indigenous Degar People traditional attire, both men and women, in the form of dark loincloth, sarongs… Seemingly out of left field but as a subtle Montagnard reference , we have combined our navy blue woven wool fabric with the 16 Oz. indigo warp x black weft twill of our Caban Peacoat, in contrasting textures but blending colors. The two chest pockets, underarm gussets, and more importantly the collar top part, are all cut from that indigo cotton twill. The rest of the body is made of Melton-type wool. Those allergic to wool will appreciate the ‘CDO jacket’ collar not rubbing their neck.
To add another layer of historical references, our ‘CDO Jacket’ is fully lined with Buzz Rickson’s 100% cotton twill, printed with TSP (Tadpole Sparse Pattern) gold tiger stripe camouflage, the same fabric featured on the MF® Tiger Board Shorts.
Oh, and because we have way too much time on our hands, we also thought of hand-dyeing corozo wood buttons in our Mickey Mouse indigo vat, creating quite an impression in the neighborhood.
Loiron of Arabia
The fun begins when the strand breaks
The ‘CDO Jacket’ is designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan by Sugar Cane Co.
FABRIC: Shell: Combination 100% wool, Melton-type, textured weave and 100% cotton twill, 16 Oz. indigo warp x black weft with white selvedge ID. Both fabrics are milled in Japan. Lining: Buzz Rickson’s 100% cotton twill, printed with TSP (Tadpole Sparse Pattern) gold tiger stripe camouflage. Made in Japan.
* Revisited general pattern of the classic US Army M1941 HBT Utility jacket.
* Contrasting fabric texture combination, melton wool and indigo cotton twill.
* Battledress-type waist length.
* Side cinch straps, mil-specs metal sliders.
* Concealed inner chest pocket.
* Indigo cotton twill top collar for neck confort.
* Indigo twill selvedge visible on inside pocket fold.
* ‘Bat sleeve’ pattern with indigo twill gusset for arm hole comfort.
* Expanding box pleat chest pockets, indigo cotton twill.
* Indigo-dyed corozo wood buttons.
* Adjustable wrist cuffs.
* ‘Oxidized’ black 100% cotton thread stitching.
* MFSC ‘tailleur‘ woven label on the inside waistband.
* Made in Japan.
SIZING/FIT: Our ‘CDO Jacket’ comes unwashed, is true to size, and meant to be professionally dry-cleaned.
However, for the adventurous few who like a bit of ‘torquing and roping’ in their fabrics, the jacket can be initially soaked in cold water for 20-30 mn, briefly hand agitated, and spun dry. Shape it a bit to your body by wearing it briefly before hanging and letting fully dry overnight. This process is not intended to shrink the jacket, but instead to ‘tone down’ the off-the-shelf look inherent to raw garments in general. The necessity of this step is left to everyone judgement and is merely a subjective suggestion.
Unlike its denim Utility Jacket predecessor I had opted to size down with, I wear a medium (38) in the CDO jacket.
Please refer to sizing chart for measurements.
CARE: Professional dry-cleaning or hand-wash and hang-dry. Do NOT use hot water or throw the jacket in a dryer.
Available RAW/unwashed SIZES:
Indigo Melton “DROVER” Blouse “Viva la Revolución” mfsc Fall 2013
Looks like some of our “Men of the Frontier” cowpokes-turned-filibusterers brought some of their gear along this season…
From the chilly Sierra Nevada trails to the banks of the Rio Grande, here come the Drover Blouse again… Some of you may be familiar with our original issue of this coat , made from recycled military blankets, natural color.
Original Drover Blouse
This time however, our wool coat took a little plunge (or 10 for that matter) in an indigo vat. Following a somewhat successful indigo dye test done some months ago on an off-white drover (only two dips), we decide to include an indigo option for our Fall 2013 line-up, after a tense and tumultuous board meeting that lasted an entire minute.
Drover Indigo early Prototype
The high grade Melton wool we used for this season Drover was milled and indigo dyed in Japan.
I was quite relieved when I realized that this project was not going to require my personal involvement with the dyeing process. Like they say, leave it to the pros.
Our Indigo Melton Drover is not garment dyed. Instead the natural wool was dyed first, then cut & sewn. This way, all the horsehide leather trims/lining keep their contrasting touch.
The body lining consist of a fabric we had milled in Japan, inspired by the unlikely indigo covert fabric liner of an 1890’s pair of trousers. This indigo covert is a recurring textile for our Fall 2013.
The arms lining are a cotton stripe ticking we have been using often for our mfsc products (same fabric originally used as watch pocket on our 7161 utility trousers, sometime in 2006.)
Over time and with normal wear, the Indigo Drover should get some interesting natural patina and I’ll be posting some evolution photos after winter. However, a wool jacket is not a pair of jeans, don’t try to speed up the natural aging process. Results in fading/patina will vary according to your activities.
Designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan as a collaboration with Sugar Cane Co.
PATTERN: An original MFSC pattern, introduced as the “Blouse Chaparral” for Spring 2012. Inspired by 1920′s~30′s sport type jackets and other vintage outdoor coats. FABRIC:
100% Melton wool, soft hand, 31 Oz., selvedge.
Indigo vat dyed, about 10 dips, deep dark tone.
Body: 100% cotton indigo covert twill (aka salt & pepper), 8.5 Oz.
Arm: 100% cotton ticking (white w/ blue stripes).
DETAILS: * 1920′s~30′s type silhouette, high waist.
* Original round collar.
* Back darting and expansion gusset, 1930′s style.
* Side waist adjustable straps.
* Horsehide leather side and cuff cinch straps (with vintage NOS French metal slide buckles)
* Cowhide leather pocket trimming.
* Arrow chest pocket.
* Horsehide leather detachable chin-strap.
* Wool selvedge on front panels button facing.
* Seven button front. Brown Corozo wood buttons (aka Ivory nut).
* Full lining, 100% cotton.
* Tonal 100% cotton stitching.
* No exposed seam, no overlock.
* Limited Edition.
Please do not wash. DRY CLEAN only.
We recommend wearing the jacket as is, and taking it to a professional environmentally friendly dry cleaner when cleaning is needed.
NOTE: Due to the nature of indigo dye, crocking is expected and normal. Some color will rub for a period of time, on car seats, sofas etc…. Indigo is also sun sensitive and will change in color when exposed.
The Indigo Melton Drover is true to size. I usually wear a 38 in mfsc, and a 38 Drover fits me snug. You might want to size up if you are in between two sizes, especially if you will be wearing sweaters or layering this winter.
Please refer to chart below for measurements. Please consider the thickness of the fabric (wool + lining) when figuring out sizing.
The “CAMPUS CARDIGAN”, Sportsman Collection
Mister Freedom® x Ohio Knitting Mills
Walking past a table of folded vintage 1950’s cable knit shirts last year at ‘Inspiration’ in Long Beach, I noticed the “Ohio Knitting Mills, Since 1927″ sign on the booth.
I’ve always loved these shirts, having first seen one in the 80’s on the cover of the ACE Records “Hollywood Rock’n’Roll” LP, featuring that famous photo of two thirsty fellas from the Booze Fighters MC in 1947…
Turns out, “if it was knitted, wool or cotton, it was probably from OKM” said Steven Tatar, now running the show at Ohio Knitting Mills.
Well maybe they made this one too?
I’ll call Sophia later, back on topic…
We spoke regarding a potential future MF® x OKM project… and months later decided to put words into actions. And that’s how the journey of the “Campus Cardigan” started…
Wool, as i was about to learn, is similar to denim. In the sense that not all is created equal.
I also was about to get some tech terms thrown at me. A ‘Milanese stitch having to be attached to a jersey body‘?… Soprano material to me. But not to Mr Tatar.
As for inspiration for the project, I used a cream color vintage 50’s Letterman sweater, found a while back. I liked that it didn’t have the ‘Frankie Lymon & the Teeenager’ vibe, but rather a versatile cardigan for grown-ups vibe with interesting construction and unusual details that still looked ‘simple’ and not overly designed.
I also had attempted to indigo dye that vintage sweater, since when I get going, anything that doesn’t move is a potential candidate for getting thrown in the vat.
Not being sure what to expect with wool, I was happily surprised with the result.
Well all that sounded like a good challenging puzzle for our new collaboration.
And a challenge it was, for all involved.
From sourcing the right unbleached domestic wool, spinning the yarn to specs, milling, cutting, sewing, solving construction challenges, adjusting patterns and machines… to the (fun part for us) indigo dyeing…
We wanted the buttons to remain their original natural color (and not get dyed, as seen on the 1rst prototype shown in some of the photos), so, finally sewing on the corozo buttons and dual labels was quite satisfying.
The natural wool yarn OKM sourced has a beautiful ‘slubby’ texture and subtle color variation. This makes the natural color option as interesting as the second color option… Indigo.
Back in California, we put some long hours into relentlessly dipping the heavy pre-soaked/dye-ready sweaters in our indigo vat. One by one, some 3 or 4 dips depending on the resulting hue, stopping only when we thought the indigo color looked nice. The result of that ordeal is an assortment of various shades of blue that will change overtime, with wear and outside exposure.
Designed by Mister Freedom® in collaboration with Ohio Knitting Mills. All made in USA by OKM. Indigo vat dyed in California.
Thanks Steve, Paula and the OKM team for their expertise and for making this project happen.
PATTERN: Inspired by a vintage 1950’s Letterman wool sweater, cardigan type. ‘Dropped shoulders’ pattern. Single wrap body panel (no side seams). Relaxed silhouette.
FABRIC: unbleached 100% wool knit jersey, American yarn spun and milled in the USA.
* Wool Jersey body and sleeves, ribbed end knit.
* Single piece body wrap knit (no side seam).
* Milanese knit button placket.
* Wide wrist knit cuffs for roll-up.
* Fold over double layer pockets.
* Blind stitched bottom hem, folded end knit.
* Natural Corozo buttons, aka vegetable ivory or coconut wood.
I could go with a Small, but decided to wear a Medium, for layering options with heavier shirts/henleys this winter…
The natural option comes unwashed. The indigo has been rinsed. The loose jersey knit tends to stretch slightly after being rinsed and dried. The sweater will eventually adapt to your body with repeat wear, looking more natural than it did on the first day. This is normal.
Refer to the charts below for measurements.
Size Chart NATURAL
Size Chart INDIGO
When needed, the “Campus Cardigan” can be hand washed in cold water, with minimal mild detergent. NO machine wash, NO boiling. Machine spin dry, then lay the sweater on a towel, flipping it around until dry. NO electrical/gas dryer. The sweater is quite heavy when wet, so do not hang dry on a hanger, as this will result in unattractive stretching…
Your sweater can also be professionally dry cleaned.
Same care for the natural or indigo options, making sure you wash the indigo by itself, as bleeding will occur for some time. DISCLAIMER: Due to the natural of indigo dyeing, some color rub-off will occur on light color shirting worn underneath the indigo cardigan, noticeably in the armpits .
This crocking should eventually stabilize, and also eventually wash off stained garments.
All this comes with Indigo Territory. Available sizes:
Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
a) Natural $399.95
b) Indigo $449.95 (ordering this option may take some time should we run out, as we are not sure when we will be able to do another dye batch.)
Mister Freedom® MFSC ‘DROVER Blouse’
‘Men of the Frontier’ Collection, Fall 2012
All hasn’t been quiet on this Western front lately. Let’s unleash another heavy hitter of our Mister Freedom x Sugar Cane collaboration, the 5th installment of Fall 2012 “Men of the Frontier”: The Drover Blouse.
We used the pattern of our popular “Chaparral Blouse” from Spring 2012. That was the easy part.
The challenge came from sourcing the fabrics. We had to dig deep to find enough undamaged raw yardage of NOS American made selvedge denim for the twill option. We managed, ‘cause we’re kinda stubborn.
For the other option, I wanted to use vintage wool blankets, ideally with woven stripes, and that’s when the trouble began. Old photographs and illustrations of fur traders, boat men and other mountain men show that wearing coats made out of blankets was quite common practice. Those coats were often very primitive in construction, a hooded T shaped capote or watchcoat that did the job to keep you warm during the harsh winter months. In remote trading posts, trappers would barter beaver pelts for manufactured goods such as wool blankets imported by the famous Hudson’s Bay Company.
With buffalos happily slaughtered to extinction by the White Man, a mere few hundred survivors by the 1850’s, wool blankets became a needed (and, as it turned out, cursed) commodity for the Plains Indians as well. Wool coats steadily replaced buffalo robes.
A fascinating brief history of the point blankets, a key element in the fur trade of the 18th Century, can be found here on the official site of the World oldest corporation. To clarify, we did NOT use any of the aforementioned rare and colorful vintage blankets to make our Blanket Drover Blouse. Those belong in museums, and we don’t have a bridge to sell you.
* “Language of the Robe” by Robert W. Kapoun & Charles J. Lohrmann, 1992
* “Chasing Rainbows” by Barry Friedman, 2002
But, revenons à nos moutons. We didn’t have to canoe up the Yukon, fight bears and dodge arrows, but finding enough vintage matching blankets to justify production was no walk in the park either. We thought of giving up as prices were fluctuating, making this venture a financial risk. But after many efforts, we sourced out enough military dead-stock lots in a journey that took us from Nevada to Europe, with a few stops along the way… The 100% wool blankets we used for our Drover Blouse were originally manufactured for the Military, guaranteeing high grade and quality. They are of several 1960’s~70’s original military contracts, with slight variations in manufacturing specs.
They then took an ocean liner to Japan, where they were cut and sewn and turned into this puuurdy cool coat. In 40 years, when you pass it on to your grand children, you’ll have a story to go with it…
Did I also mention we were originally told that this jacket would be impossible to manufacture? Let’s say we made them an offer they couldn’t refuse, not involving a horse head, but a lot of perseverance.
Designed in California by Mister Freedom® and expertly manufactured in very limited quantities by Sugar Cane Co in Japan.
PATTERN: An original MFSC pattern, introduced as the “Blouse Chaparral” in Spring 2012, and inspired by 1920′s~30′s sport type jackets, leather A-1 type coats, early Chimayo jackets… FABRIC:
Two entirely different options, NOS denim and NOS wool blanket. Option a) NOS Denim: Vintage dark indigo new old stock American milled denim, sanforized, white with black line selvedge ID, 3×1 twill, about 12 Oz. Option b) NOS Blanket: Heavy 100 % wool blankets, vintage military NOS, with blue woven stripes pattern. There are three main lots of blankets, each with a slightly different stripe pattern and color background. This is due to three different origins and specifics of the military manufacturers contracts. What you get is what we found. Each jacket will be slightly different, making it unique and collectible. LINING: Both options are fully lined. Option a) The NOS denim option body liner is made of striped “Troy Blanket” (60% re-used wool, 28% cotton, 12% rayon). Soft touch. Woven in Japan. Option b) The NOS Blanket option is lined with an original MFSC 100% cotton plaid, woven turquoise/white/red yarns, milled in Japan exclusively for MFSC.
Both options arm lining is of a vintage NOS 100% cotton stripe denim twill, from Mister Freedom® fabric stock.
DETAILS: * 1920′s~30′s type silhouette.
* Original A-1 type round collar.
* Back darting and expansion gusset, 1930′s style.
* Horsehide leather side and cuff cinch straps (with vintage NOS French metal slide buckles), leather pocket trimming and leather detachable chin-strap.
* Reddish/brown Corozo wood buttons.
* Full lining, wool blend “Troy Blanket” on option a) and cotton woven plaid on option b)
* No exposed seam, no overlock.
* Button facing with selvedge denim on option a) and bias tape edge on option b)
PACKAGING: For your future pro prop 37 grocery shopping experience we have packaged your Drover Blouse in an original MF® made raw selvedge denim draw string bag.
Option a) The NOS denim is raw/unwashed. It is sanforized and should shrink from approx 0.5% to 3%. Some variation in shrinkage is expected and beyond our control, due to the nature of that particular NOS denim lot.
We recommend an original cold soak, no agitation, spin dry cycle and line dry. Further cleaning, if needed, should be handled by your professional environmentally friendly local dry-cleaner. Do NOT boil your Drover. I usually wear 38/medium in MFSC jackets but decided to go with a rinsed 36 for the denim issue Drover. I just won’t eat pasta anymore. Sizing chart below. Option b) Professional DRY CLEAN only, when cleaning needed. DO NOT RINSE/DRY. If this fabric option doesn’t fit you size wise, then it’s not meant to be. DO NOT attempt washing to make it shrink, as this will ruin the jacket.
Those fit SNUG. I wear a 38, with not much room for pasta either. Chart below.
To wrap up the MFSC fall 08 collection, our sailor’s last issue: a navy blue wool/cotton button neck sweater. A warm garment with a very soft hand to be layered with MFSC645 chambray shirt or cotton under shirt.