Eastman Leather Company A2 Flight Jacket

Eastman Leather Clothing – Type A 2 Flight Jacket Review

A few weeks ago, we introduced you to the Type A-2 Flight Jacket and its history. Today, we want to familiarize you with Eastman Leather Clothing who is one of the few, who offers the original A-2 jacket from the 1930’s with focus on high quality and utmost authenticity.

Eastman Leather Clothing Company

Eastman Leather Clothing

Eastman Leather Clothing

Eastman Leather clothing has been in business for more than 30 years and has its premises in Ivybridge, England. They have always specialized in flight jackets, especially the ones from WWII and over the years, they have acquired an expertise in this area that is second to none. Due to extensive, persistant research about the original cuts and materials used, the people at Eastman learned how to perfectly reproduce a Type A-2 Flight Jacket under almost the same conditions as in 1931.

A-2 ELC Seal Brown HH zip

A-2 ELC Seal Brown HH zip

Quality, is of greatest importance and so the “Eastman Leather”  undergoes a special vegetable tanning process that emulates the historic tanning processes. Although it is more expensive to do the tanning with natural tannins than with chrome, Eastman Leather Clothing prefers this method of tanning because the leather becomes more durable and authentic.  Interestingly, Maxwell Scott also uses only vegetable tanned leather for its leather goods.

At Eastman, the customer may choose, between the authentic horse hide, the lamb leather used in the 1940’s and cowhide which is not authentic but less expensive. On top of that, Eastman Leather produces certain editions in other leathers as well.

Type A-2 Flight Leather Jackets Variation

Comparison Eastman & Original

Comparison Eastman & Original

As mentioned last week, an A-2 leather jacket consists of just 7 pieces of leather while the one piece back is definitely the highlight of the entire coat. These pieces are sewn together by a special thread that was used in the 1930’s and the stitch density is exactly 10 per inch. Now you may wonder why it is so little because when we talk about shirts, more stitches are generally desirable but with regard to leather, a higher stitch density would weaken the leather and eventually destroy the seam. Both, the collar as well as the flap are kept in place by sturdy snap buttons which are also a reproduction of the original designs.

Of course, also the zippers have to be original and so Eastman Leather Clothing acquired the production rights for CROWN and KWIK which were two of the four companies who provided the zippers back then. For wind protection, the collar can be closed completely, and the tight cuffs are made of wool.

Each A-2 jacket is made by a single person from start to finish and it takes about 8 hours to put all the individual parts together.

USAAF Eastman Leather Jacket

Eastman Leather Clothing offers basically two different Type A-2 Jacket collection. The flagship is called USAAF Eastman Leather Jacket and it retails for £499 or roughly $775.  You may buy it in various leathers in the classic seal brown or the very sophisticated looking havanna brown.  Depening on the kind of leather you use (horsehide, lamb leather or cowhide) the colors are slightly different from one another.

Original Maker Jacket

A-2 ELC Seal Brown Horsehidestamp

A-2 ELC Seal Brown Horsehidestamp

Now, if you are a reenactor or just like authentic gear, the Original Maker Jackets are exact reproductions of the specific jackets which were made from 1931 to 1943. As such, there are a number models that have only miniscule distinctions, like in the shape of their flaps, collars or brown tones. Although their were many A-2 manufacturers back then, Eastman can reproduce jackets from five of them including Cable Raincoat Co,’Rough Wear, Monarh,Star Sportswear, and Weber Leather Coat Co.Of course, they reproduced the exact leather colors but they even went so far, to replicate the color of the yarns. Such attention to authentic detail comes with a slightly higher price tag of £599 – £649 (about $930 -$1000).

Pearl Harbor Edition

On top of that, there are certain models like the Pearl-Harbor Edition, which comes in the so called time-worn look, something Eastman Clothing originally created for the Movie Pearl Harbor.

352nd Fighter Group A-2 Jacket

Another noteworthy jacket  is the 352nd Fighter Group A-2 Jacket which is an exact reproduction of an A-2 made by Monarch, which was made for that very unit with extra pockets on the inside. Interestingly, these so called rigger-mods were added after production.  The name derived from the fact that certain flight apparel had to be modified in order to meet the pilot’s demands and this was done at the parachute hut, where the riggers used to sew and repair equipment. Moreover, it is made from a special WarHorse® horsehide in russet brown, that provides a unique look. Personally, I bought this very model years  ago, and I am still stunned by it every time I wear it. However, with a price tag of £700 ($1090) it is certainly one of the more expensive options.

A-2 23rd Fighter Group back TimeWorn®

A-2 23rd Fighter Group back TimeWorn®

Time Worn Look

Optionally, many Eastman Leather Clothing A-2 jackets can be delivered in the aforementioned “time-worn look” for an upcharge of £80. Apparently, they developed a special treatment that provides the leather with that certain vintage look.

A-2Buying Tips

In case you are now interested in purchasing an A-2 Flight Jacket, you should always bear in mind that it is cut quite slim. Firstly, this means that you shouldn’t be too portly, and secondly you should buy it with care and double check that the size is right for your torso because it only looks well if it fits properly.

A-2 ELC Steerhide

A-2 ELC Steerhide

Eastman Leather Clothing offers them in standard sizes but you can customize the jacket length without an upcharge. Of course you won’t be able to return it if you deviate from the standard length. In order to help you with the sizing, Eastman provides a size calculator on their homepage, which should guide you realiably to your measurements. In case you are in the UK, you should seriously consider to pay them a visit and test all the sizes yourself.

If this is not an option for you, chances are, you will have to return your first jacket. But Eastman Leather Clothing’s service is second to none, which means that the shipping on your first return is free. Since they don’t have all models in stock, you may have to wait for 3-4 weeks if you pick something special.

Apart from the Type A-2 Flight Jacket, Eastman offers an array of flight jackets from various as well as all kinds of accessories. Just check out their website, where you will find top notch quality leather goods.

You can find the website with all the leathergoods at www.eastmanleather.com .

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