Atelir Binal Lambskin Leather Jacket Review

Indonesian boots are still rising in popularity around the world for amekaji and footwear enthusiasts. This is because several of the brands seem to offer pretty solid construction quality with a fairly low price. My pair of Onderhouds are certainly one of my better made pairs of boots from what I can tell, being hand welted and quite cleanly constructed. I also have a pair of Sagara boots on the way and am hoping those will be similar in terms of quality. 

I love my Onderhoud boots from Indonesia

Indonesia also has been producing quite a few pairs of jeans which if you read Indigo Shrimp’s blog, are pretty good as well. Unsurprisingly, some of the brands making jeans also make cotton jackets. I have tried a couple of them myself and while one was certainly better than the other, the one that was good is quite nice and I wear it fairly often. The only clothing item that I had not seen much coming out of Indonesia was the leather jacket. 

Here is the first leather jacket maker that I am aware of from Indonesia: Atelir Binal. I would assume that others exist, but this is the first one that I have learned of personally. Perhaps it is not a surprise that I met the owner of the brand through an Indonesian bootmaker. As of right now, the owner of the brand creates the designs and sources the materials while having a single leather jacket craftsman put the jackets together. This small operation is certainly the kind that I can get behind if I like the product.

Right away, you will notice a couple of major differences that set this jacket apart from all of the leather jackets that I have ever owned. In the first place, you will notice that the styling is nowhere near as classic or vintage-inspired as my other jackets. The majority of leather jackets in my current collection are based on or similar to jackets from the 1930s and 40s. This one looks like it is more out of the 21st century. It is certainly more fashion-oriented. This is not a mistake, however. The owner of the brand has told me that he wants to go for a balance of classic and fashion-forward aesthetics. Secondly, you may notice that the leather is different than expected.

Personally, I do not find this jacket to be all that appealing visually. How could I? Most of the clothing that I wear is based on 1940s and earlier styles. I even have a Levi’s triple pleat repro that is based off of a jacket from the 19th century. Something this modern is just not my jam at all. For some people, this may be fantastic. For me, however, it is not my preference. Please keep in mind that this jacket was provided to me for free from the brand, so this is not something that I would normally buy myself. I am not saying this to disparage the brand at all, but instead to let you know about my biases. If you are into a more modern aesthetic, then this jacket may be better for you.

To my eyes, there are some issues that I do think should be improved even if the brand does want to stick to a modern aesthetic. In the first place, the design just looks a little incongruous to me. The zipper layout in the front, the lack of a belt/belt loops, and the short front length makes it look more sleek and modern, but there are still epaulets. If I was going for a modern look, I would remove the epaulets as well. One other issue is that the jacket doesn’t zip up very high when the lapels are open. Personally, I really do not like this. I even had some friends that I shared the photos with say that this aspect looked like it was designed for a women’s jacket. Whatever the case, I really don’t like this about the jacket.

Another major issue to me is that the jacket is shorter in the front than it is in the back. Most jackets have a longer front measurement than back measurement and you can see on my well designed Cooper 30’s sports jacket from The Real McCoys that the jacket gets shorter on the side of the jacket, but the length increases in the back and front. This gives the jacket some more mobility while still looking visually balanced. This Atelir Binal jacket just slopes straight up from the back to the front. I do not understand this design choice at all and I strongly dislike how it looks. It makes the jacket appear as though it is unfinished, especially when you look at it from the side. It also makes the back look weirdly long even though it’s not a long jacket overall. Some people could definitely have a problem with the back of the jacket being long enough while the front of the jacket might be too short for them. 

The overall cut of the jacket is slightly off as well. The arms fit fairly well on me, but they need to taper a bit more toward the bottom in my view. The jacket looks OK when unzipped, but does not look good at all when zipped up. The jacket does not taper enough from the armpit to the waist and bottom opening. This means that the jacket looks rather blousy and billowy on me when zipped up and makes me look heavier than I am, which is not an effect that I think anyone really wants unless perhaps you have no drop from your chest to waist.. 

The second aspect of this jacket that makes it different from any of the other jackets that I have owned, and every non-mall jacket that I have ever tried on is the fact that this jacket is made out of lambskin. To be fair, there are vintage jackets that are made out of lighter hides, but most Amekaji nerds such as myself tend to prefer horsehide, cowhide, and goatskin. My softest jacket is deerskin and even that is thicker and more durable than lambskin. 

With that said, the leather is actually my favorite aspect of this jacket by far. To be brutally honest, my experience with Indonesian leather has been quite poor so far. In my opinion, the Indonesian leather used for boots is not even close to the level of higher end leathers from Japan, Italy, America, Great Britain, etc. This is why the leather was the most surprising aspect of the jacket in a positive way. It being lambskin means it is quite soft and supple, but it is thicker and feels more durable than other lambskin jackets that I have tried on. According to the brand, it is 1.3-1.5mm lambskin and is vegetable tanned which is more in line with the horsehide jackets that I have owned. In fact, it’s actually a bit thicker than some jackets I have had. It is also creasing very nicely in the arms even after I only just put it on, which is something that I really like as well.

The other lambskin jackets that I have tried on were fashion jackets, but this is a sort of fashion-oriented jacket so it is still impressive to me that the leather feels so soft, yet so substantial. The grain looks nice as well, being quite visible, but not obnoxiously so and actually has a good amount of variety in it as well. The color is a nice chocolate brown tone that is neither matte nor shiny. I am not as impressed with this as I was by the deerskin on my Freewheelers Sunset, but it is vastly nicer than what I was expecting. Don’t expect it to be as tough as horsehide, cowhide, or goatskin, but it does feel like something that I could wear daily without actually worrying about it at all.

The hardware is also pretty good quality with all of it being made in Italy. The zippers are Lampo zippers with a two way zipper on the front. The buttons are Cobrax. I don’t love two way zippers and the zipper is on the opposite side that I am used to, but the hardware does feel like it is good quality. Lining is 100% cupro from Japan and feels pretty nice. Personally, I am not a fan of cotton drill lining as it feels stiff so I prefer something silkier feeling like this.

Construction is not all that great by my standards on this jacket. There are some areas where the stitching is nice and straight, but there are quite a few problems. In the first place, the stitches per inch (SPI) varies a lot throughout this jacket which is visually distracting to me. There are also quite a few places where the stitches get quite wonky which is definitely a shame. If it were just in one spot like with my Aero, I could give it a pass, but unfortunately it happens in several places. Additionally, the hard angles are not as neat as they could be. Another minor, but weird issue is that the brand tag on the inside of the jacket arrived smudged or dirty, which certainly was not a great first impression. This is a shame because the overall packaging was pretty nice. 

Seams could be done a little more neatly, but I have definitely seen much worse than with this jacket. One other issue is that there are some areas where you can see the stitching pulling, especially on the upper back of the jacket. As someone who loves beautifully constructed garments, this is a let down for me. I pointed out issues to the maker and they said that they have made some changes to their production in order to fix some of these issues, especially in regard to the stitching. They replaced the thread from France that they were using with a locally made 100% cotton thread. They showed me how the new stitching looks and I have to say that at least from the picture they showed me, it looks like an improvement. Hopefully this is noticeable with the new jackets. 

Overall, I cannot recommend this jacket for anyone like myself. I was told that the price that  a customer would be would be around $1,000 which is not something that I would be willing to pay for the jacket. You can get a Vanson jacket starting below $600 that I would vastly prefer. There is potential here and I do think the leather is nice as is the hardware and overall materials. However, the construction quality, design, pattern, fit, and price make this jacket something that I would not recommend and I will not be wearing at all in the future. 

In my opinion, the maker is going for a completely different type of buyer than what I am. Amekaji nerds such as myself would never be interested in a jacket like this. However, if the construction is improved and the pattern is fixed, I could possibly see a different market liking this jacket. Hopefully those improvements are made. I believe they will be. Maybe then, I could recommend this to people wanting something better than a standard fast fashion jacket.

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