Iron Heart is the most popular flannel according to my Instagram polls. Yeah, I know; I’m supposed to do some sort of vague introduction, but I can’t be bothered because of just how predictable this outcome was. While I had a few people predicting a 3Sixteen win due to their popularity and a few more calling Flat Head to win, myself and my friend Paul AKA Partial2denim knew all along that Iron Heart would absolutely destroy the field in this contest and that they did.
I think this is the most beautiful flannel Iron Heart has ever made
|Iron Heart 99|
|Portuguese Flannel 15|
|Rogue Territory 74|
|Naked and Famous 32|
|Freenote Cloth 31|
|The Real McCoy’s 66|
|Sugar Cane 61|
|The Flat Head 77|
|Studio D’Artisan 57|
|Iron Heart 99|
|Rogue Territory 14|
|The Real McCoy’s 58|
|Studio D’Artisan 43|
|Sugar Cane 52|
|The Flat Head 85|
|Iron Heart 63|
|The Real McCoy’s 34|
|Sugar Cane 19|
|The Flat Head 71|
|Iron Heart 63|
|The Flat Head 39|
The results show the least amount of surprises out of all the battles so far. The only exceptions are Jelado losing to 3Sixteen and how well The Real McCoy’s did. As much as I love this brand, I do not think their flannels are on the same level as most of their other pieces, especially when compared to their leather jackets. Their weaves are certainly not as impressive as Samurai’s who they somehow defeated and while their construction may be superior to Freenote Cloth, I feel that the Southern California brand has superior fabrics to the Japanese giant. Yet, RMC beat both of these brands quite handily. It seems that their name has really carried across Instagram by this point. In fairness, Freenote does get their fabrics from Japan. In fact, I think nearly every brand on this list uses Japanese fabrics except for perhaps Portuguese Flannel. Either way, I was surprised to RMC do so well in a flannel poll.
This fabric from Freenote Cloth is gorgeous
Otherwise, the results are extremely predictable and actually largely have the higher quality brands garnering more votes, with the exception of Samurai not making it into the top 4. It was an all Japanese final for the second time in a row, also marking the second consecutive poll in which The Flat Head made it to the finals, but fell short in spectacular fashion at the end. They are fast becoming the Jim Kelly Buffalo Bills of my Instagram polls, but without any infamous missed field goals by dudes with single bar face masks.*Astute readers may also have noticed that this is the third time in a row that a Japanese brand has won the polls. This demonstrates not only the high reputation that Japanese brands have, but also the obvious Japanese leanings of myself and my general audience.
None of the other brands have made a flannel as complex as this Flat Head piece
What is most unique about these results, however, is the fact that the brand that I believe is the best actually won. Make no mistake, John Lofgren and The Real McCoy’s make some of the best products available in the categories that they won and I happily own several items from both brands, but neither was the best in their respective categories. I can say without a shadow of doubt that in terms of reproduction perfection, Good Wear Leather is superior to RMC while in terms of construction quality, Freewheelers is the very best in our reproduction/heritage world (more on this in a future article). In terms of boots, White Kloud is the best in the reproduction and work wear market.
In terms of flannels, however, Iron Heart is probably the best. I much prefer The Flat Head, Freewheelers, and The Real McCoy’s overall, but in terms of flannels, Iron Heart is at the top of the food chain. While it is undeniable that the very best Flat Head patterns are more intricate than even the wildest Iron Heart pattern, The Flat Head’s flannels have not been as beautiful or fresh in the past couple of years. More importantly, however, the fact of the matter is that no flannel does the job of actually being a flannel as well as an Iron Heart flannel does.
Freewheelers flannels are often plain, but still beautiful nonetheless
They are the thickest, warmest, sturdiest, and softest that I have ever owned. Their patterns are generally quite nice and their best ones are a sight to behold, though this is a far more subjective point. In terms of objectively being a warm, comfortable, rugged shirt, Iron Heart is superior to all others I have owned or handled. Most of the time, the larger, more recognizable brands do not make the best products, but it seems that in this case, they do.
I am surprised that flannels such as this one did not catapult Samurai into the top four
Iron Heart has become legendary for their flannels. Their heavyweight jeans are quite popular and their 21oz fabric is supposedly their signature, but their flannels may be even more of a signature item for them at this point. Anyone who has tried one on knows just how incredible they feel and while the Iron Heart fandom is a little cultish at times, I can honestly understand why. It was no surprise to me at all that they swept this competition and their victory is well deserved.
The next contest will be the denim jacket contest. The winner is not quite as obvious as this one was, but I am pretty confident that I already know which brand will take it. This contest will likely start within the next week on my Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/almostvintagestyle/ .
*Seriously, how did even a kicker still have a single bar face mask in the late 1980s?!