at 03:44 PM
You guys are the best! It's really great to see everything that you contribute to this board. I often wish we had more time to share information with you. As it stands, I'm sitting in the airport waiting to fly down to Bike Week in Daytona Beach, so I'll spend some time answering your question.
Unfortunately, we don't have any grand collection of old jackets. I am not sure whatever happened to the jacket that Brando wore, but I will try to follow up with his estate when I get back from Bike Week.
I do know what happened with James Dean's jacket though. James Dean wore a jacket of our very similar to a style you will see from our upcoming 2005 collection (style 651). About 20 years ago when we got the license to produce "James Dean" branded jackets, we borrowed the jacket from Dean's cousin in order to replicate it. The original jacket was a Schott jacket complete with fur collar from the factory that Dean "accessorized" with his own custom belt.
This isn't a good excuse, but we've never been very good about holding onto our old jackets. Most of you have already heard the story, but when my great grandfather Irving started this business he didn't have the option of keeping jackets. In fact the first 15 years were spent producing fur-lined raincoats that he sold door-to-door with the help of some street peddlers. (In those days they sold more than just vacuums and encyclopedias door to door). Irving didn't have the luxury of holding onto the old styles. He needed the money (and space) to put back into the business.
This is a work ethic that remained with Irving his entire life. I am too young to remember this part, but I'm told once he was able to open a factory, he used to stand outside the bathroom door making sure that people didn't spend too much time in there. This might sound cruel, but it was a difficult time, and Irving was accustomed to working hard. He used to wear a suit every day, with a tie clip with the acronym YCMMSOYA. (You Can't Make Money Sitting On Your Ass). I guess this focus on success through difficult times didn't allow for much time reflecting on what he had accomplished, nor the time to hold onto old classics.
Once the jackets have been distributed, it's pretty difficult to age them (as Gail can tell you from the many inquiries that she gets). There are certain things to look for, and certain experts out there like Rin Tinaka (author of "A Century of Motorcycle Jacket Design") but just like baseball cards, I'm sure a great number of our old jackets have been "donated" away because people didn't know what they had.
We did recently get one jacket from the 1940's back, and we've taken it on the road with us to the latest trade shows in Las Vegas and Indianapolis. And we have some of our more recent developments holding in our stock room waiting to become classics. But while items like guitars and even classic motorcycles are to be worn, played or ridden with delicacy and care, motorcycle jackets are meant to be broken in, worn and abused with a bit of reckless abandon. Not preserved in the back of a warehouse waiting to become a classic.
OK, I know that some of this is a self-serving argument to justify why we haven't done enough to create a museum, and the fact is, I agree with you. We haven't done enough to create a museum. We really owe it to ourselves and our die-hard fans a quality museum; and when we are ready for it, we will let you know.
In the mean time, you can catch our jackets living on in the Broadway show about Elvis, "All Shook Up". Since we're on the subject, I'll have to ask them for one of the jackets back after the show is over so we can be one more jacket closer to our museum.
I'm off to my flight. Thanks again!!
at 03:48 PM
Thanks for theupdate on the studio that produced the movie, if I ever get caught up here between the emails, message board, website orders and then my regular job I will try to do a little detective work. It is not that I don't want to help you I just always to not have enough time, but Iwill try at some point. At this time we have just moved our large manufacturing facility to a new location and we are a little busy setting up everthing. We do want to Thank you for all the interest you show in our items. Gail