LOST WORLDS Classic American Flight Motorcycle Leather Jackets Hunting Safari Gear history information horsehide cowhide leather motorcycle flight jackets history information horsehide cowhide leather vintage flight jackets A-2 G-1 A-1 B-3 ANJ-4 B-2 LOST WORLDS safari bush jackets shirts Willis & Geiger Outfitters Leather Jackets Motorcycle Flight Americana

LOST WORLDS
 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

Horsehide Leather A-2, G-1, B-3 Flight and Motorcycle Jackets
 

 

 WHAT'S LOST WORLDS?

LOST WORLDS is a premier manufacturer of Classic American Flight, Motorcycle and Rugged Outdoors Styles. We recreate vintage designs of particular historic merit and appeal. Things that look great. Things markedly better than anything in the current marketplace. Things that reflect the America that was, not is. A celebration of Americana, wearable artisan-grade gear that defines our history, aspirations and character in a living, vibrant manner.

WHY DO YOU CALL YOURSELF PREMIER?

Our absolute unflinching, uncompromising devotion to Authenticity, Quality and Service. Our honesty, integrity and refusal to kowtow to fad or incorrect suppositions. Our mind-blowing craftsmanship that "spoils" customers for other clothing!

WHERE IS IT MADE?

We make everything we sell AT OUR OWN FACTORY in New York. We donít import, contract or subcontract. From pattern to finished product, everything is made here by us. In fact, until we built this website in 1998 we were best known as exporters to the Trade in Japan and as contractors for other well-known apparel companies. Top designers and fashion houses regularly had us develop their Samples and Patterns because they trusted that we would deliver the best. Who needs the best comes to us, not vice versa. Until now we've been a trade secret. From pattern to packing, we do everything at our factory. We've built and we maintain this website ourselves, too -- for good or bad! Everything, the photos, copy, layouts, you name it. Why? Because we pride ourselves on complete control; no compromises that way. The buck stops here.

 HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN AROUND?

LOST WORLDS was founded in 1986. (10 years before the movie that took our name!) For the first few years we were a catalog business selling products made by other manufacturers. Quickly, though, we grew dissatisfied with the attention to quality and verisimilitude paid by our suppliers, who either couldn’t or wouldn’t upgrade their products based on our feedback. Like many before us we thought we could do a better job ourselves. Like some, we were right.

 WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DID YOU HAVE FOR
     BECOMING MANUFACTURERS?

We started as collectors, historians and restorers of classic American military and rugged wear, with a particular expertise in and love of Leather Flight and Motorcycle Jackets. The LOST WORLDS COLLECTION comprises a comprehensive selection of rare and extraordinary pieces from the 1930s-60s. Accordingly, we have a wide-ranging knowledge of the complexities, variations and eccentricities of this admittedly very esoteric subject. We fixate on the little, obscure details which the average customer may not even be aware of.

To put it simply, we never stop at the surface: when we reproduce a classic style we penetrate to that style’s essence, its spirit, its soul. An article of clothing bound up in history, like a World War II flight jacket, indeed has something of these qualities that we normally -- perhaps foolishly! -- associate with people. In fact we believe that few people but most dogs have souls.

A clue to the secret of LOST WORLDS  -- we love the daunting challenge to get to the essence regardless the difficulties. If another company bettered us we'd close up shop -- we have no interest in being second best. 

WHY IS IT SO HARD TO MAKE THESE JACKETS?

Today’s clothing differs completely from that of the past. Then, clothing was meant to be functional, strong and well made: during and after the Great Depression people lacked the money to change "fashion statements" with the weather! Things were made to last, even to be handed down.

Before the introduction of synthetics (Polar Fleece, Hollofil, Gore-Tex, etc.) sturdy leathers and woolens were used for warmth. The look and feel of these older materials differ wholly from current clothing.

People think, for instance, that fragile, short-lived, non-performing leather like lambskin is the thing to have. We don’t. We call such taxi leather – great if your life consists of getting in and out of taxis. Geez, they make condoms out of lambskin. Maybe that’s the point! You are what you wear? 

Sorry to sound so aggressive, but Fashion doesn’t interest us a bit. Fashion's not for men. Style is. Fashion is fleeting, Style remains forever.  (Coco Chanel said this.) We make clothing with which customers establish emotional bonds. Like a beloved dog, our clothing is always at your side, recalling the best times, ready for the worst. Clothing that becomes a part of one’s memory, not clothing soon forgotten. Clothing a joy to wear, not a necessity, unless a psychic one.

 AUTHENTICITY

The great challenge in recreating great clothing of the past that still speaks to us directly today is that the original materials just aren’t easily available.

For example, we're famous for our Horsehide leather. Until the 1950s, military and high performance leather clothing was predominantly Horsehide for reasons of strength, durability and history. The disappearance of the equine industry during and after WWII made Horsehide progressively scarcer. Environmental laws impacted the tanning process; formaldehyde, for example, now prohibited, was an ingredient. Motorcycle jackets afterwards were made in Cowhide -- easy to get, a good compromise, but lesser in strength, durability, protection and grain. A jacket might superficially look the same, but it most certainly wasn’t the same. 

To produce a jacket like the immortal Army Air Forces A-2, we had to source heavy Horsehide because the A-2 was only produced in this leather (along with much smaller quantities in Goatskin, which we also offer). Those who claim that Cowhide (or Steerhide) was originally used do so only because it's easy to get these hides today! Or perhaps they really can't tell the differences between Horsehide and Cowhide. For us the differences are day and night. Some make Jackets in Cowhide and mislabel it Horsehide to gull the unwary, enlisting allegedly unconnected web sites and chat groups to support their deception.

A little story: back in the mid-1980s when LOST WORLDS began as a mail order business, I approached our main supplier's president, whose company produced a commercially acceptable if hardly correct Horsehide A-2, the quality and availability of hides inconsistent at best. I suggested that he hire me to source obscure materials but was told it was pointless Ė the leather was commercially unavailable in the correct grades. This was certainly discouraging. However, rather than accept as final that great Horsehide was unobtainable, I elected to confirm this independently. The old second opinion diagnosis, in this instance my own.

After an arduous search, first to locate suitable hides, then a tanner with the lost skills to tan them (tanning horse is fully different than cow), I had the right stuff, to the shock of the "experts." It wasn't easy or cheap but it was possible. The moral: listen to so-called experts but only accept the "impossible" after you yourself do the research and legwork. A little philosophy: one's only goal in life should be to be able to look in the mirror without shame. Unquestioningly accepting the advice and expertise of others doesn’t produce this! Being stupid is easy; being smart is a challenge that compels us every moment of our lives, challenging us to challenge ourselves. Acting on the advice of others without doing your own legwork makes one yet another of the countless, dim and dangerous mob. (Listening to so-called experts -- the appeasers -- has also gotten our country in the perilous straits in which we find ourselves today.) Marketing geeks rely upon this innate laziness and desire to conform -- and our blind respect for what seems to be authority -- to leech away what individuality and free thought still remain. 

Beginning with a stubborn reluctance to accept the "impossible," our pursuit of authenticity stretches to every aspect of our manufacturing: linings, hardware, thread, labels. The verisimilitude can be astonishing. Yet don't imagine for a moment that our esteem for the past blinds us to our present task -- making great looking, unique clothing for people today. Which means: LOST WORLDS clothing fits perfectly. We don't duplicate errors in construction or pattern such as occur frequently in clothing done in wartime, n haste, under military contract. Perfection wasn't the goal then. Getting the clothing to the troops was. Perfection, however, is our  goal. For this reason we can say that our products are usually better than the originals. 

 ARE HORSES ACTUALLY KILLED TO MAKE THESE JACKETS?

Absolutely not. We're animal lovers. No horse was ever killed for its hide, thank goodness. It's the cheapest part of the animal. Left over. Processing and tanning the hides is where the money goes. When one wears a Lost Worlds Horsehide jacket you're making good ecological sense, taking advantage of a forgotten, unused but inimitable resource, while paying tribute to the noble horse, keeping it alive in memory as it continues to serve us. In a small way we're contributing to the natural continuum. That's right, wearing horsehide is ethical. It puts one in touch a bit with where we came from. It doesn't participate in fashion slaughtering at all.

 HOW DO I BREAK IN YOUR HORSEHIDE AND COWHIDE JACKETS? IT IS HARD? 

You break in a LOST WORLDS jacket by wearing it. In every kind of weather. Our Horsehide and Cowhide are firm because this is how they were and this is how they're supposed to be. For those afraid of heavy leather -- spare us! -- or desirous of a soft, draping jacket right out of the box, we're not for you. Part of the attraction of a LOST WORLDS jacket is the break-in. Wear it and forget about it. In time and over time the hides conform themselves to your build, the grain follows your movements. In some new, soft, thin joke of a flight or motorcycle jacket, the opposite occurs. Hard seems to frighten most of our New Age "men." They like "limp" leather. Interior decorators of the soul.

Anyhow -- to leave the unpleasant -- it doesn't take long for the initial break-in. A few weeks, a month. As we say, just wear it and forget about it.  If the break-in is more important than the jacket, LOST WORLDS ain't for you. If you buy a car with a Hemi you buy it for the horses. Exactly the same with LOST WORLDS. (A Birkenstock bombardier would only buy a Hemi if it was a four-banger, got 40mpg, was speed limited to 60mph and Ralph Nader peed into the cup holders.)


HOW CAN I BE SURE YOUR PRODUCTS ARE AS GOOD AS YOU SAY?
    EVERYBODY CLAIMS THEIRS ARE.

Sad but true, it's called marketing, one of the most obscene words in the language (because of what it's come to mean). The claims made in the interests of marketing necessarily bear little relation to reality most of the time. Except in our case, of course!  But we're marketing our products here just like the other guys, so what do you do to avoid getting misled?

NOTE: LOST WORLDS does not manipulate/subsidize/sanction web sites/chat groups/internet forums/blogs for shilling, fraudulent advertising or personal attack. This is contemptible but standard operating procedure in the field. We wouldn't be caught dead....

Do as much HOMEWORK as you can. Speak to others, speak to us. Read this, then read others. (Sometimes reading theirs is reading ours, as the often "borrowed" and paraphrased from this site indicate! The English is a bit different, though -- more phonetic.) Phone rates are cheap now. You decide who seems to know the most. You decide whom you think would be best to patronize. If you seek a Trekkie-like e-club of nerdy "basement bombardiers," to perpetuate myths and absurdities of the ignorant and dishonest, it ain't us. If, say, you're in the market for a jacket that needs to fit a certain budget and doesn't need to be a virtual time capsule to the lost worlds of the American past, we won't try to sell you our stuff because it's not what you're looking for. If you're looking, say, for a flight jacket with convenience or insulation features not found in the original design, you must shop elsewhere. Plenty of times we get calls from folks who want an A-2 or motorcycle jacket in something soft, like Lambskin, or even bogus Horsehide (tanned to distress and antique immediately out of the box, unlike originals), or oversized, like everything in every mall. We tell them to go elsewhere, because they won't understand or appreciate what we offer. Ours is specialist, not mass market, clothing. For the few, not the herd. Moreover, customers who might go elsewhere for their initial purchases based on cost or confusion inevitably seem to return to LOST WORLDS at some later time. When they've learned.

DO YOU PUBLISH A CATALOG OF YOUR PRODUCTS YOU CAN SEND ME?

We do not publish a catalog. This website is our electronic catalog.

 I LIVE IN OR AM VISITINGTHE NEW YORK AREA. DO YOU HAVE A SHOWROOM WHERE I CAN SEE YOUR GEAR?

We do not have a Retail Showroom/Store facility. Our Factory is not open to the Retail public. All Sales are via this website.

 WHAT GUARANTEES ARE THERE ON YOUR PRODUCTS?

All LOST WORLDS products, except Sheepskin (because it is inherently less strong than Horsehde), carry a LIFETIME GUARANTEE for stitching, construction and hide quality except in the event of customer accident, abuse or modification.

2-YEAR WARRANTY for Hardware and Materials except in the event of customer accident, abuse or modification. 

For WARRANTY SERVICE customer pays shipping to and from manufacturer.
(Warranty does not apply to SALE merchandise.)

All WARRANTY SERVICE requires confirmation order number from manufacturer before submission.
 

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