As a fan of all things leather, I feel one of the best jackets to hit the market in many, many years is the Mister Freedom® "Campus" Jacket. This amazing piece is essentially a blank canvas in the form of the highly desired Cossack style jacket. I'll be updating this page to document every "brushstroke."
Start of the first tanning day (16 December 2013).
Fit pic following the second day of tanning. I'm wearing a medium weight John Lofgren & Co. flannel and a long sleeved USMC skivvie shirt with plenty of comfortable room to spare, so it's definitely a great layering jacket. Just a t-shirt or layered, this is a must have MF piece.
The end of tanning day 3 shows some great progress - I took two days off and had a day of rain since purchase. I've worn it every day except for the two vacation days and am just loving it more and more.
Notice the indigo on the left sleeve from my Lot. 64 jeans.
Any type of raw, natural leather is susceptible to developing water spots during daily wear and such is the case with this jacket. When this happens, simply take a damp wash cloth and wipe every leather part of the jacket one section at a time. The leather becomes virtually resistant to light spotting after performing this phase.
Rather than soaking the jacket to simply blend the water spots, I used a microfiber towel that doesn't hold much water to help prevent me from oversaturating the leather. Up to this point, the jacket went through six days of tanning and five days of normal wear with noticeable darkening of the hide. Wiping the jacket down helped to darken it up another shade.
Here's the jacket post wipe down and at the beginning of tanning day seven. This will probably be the last full tanning day I give it before I take the project to the next phase.
Notice the set-in sleeve creases from a simple wipe down rather than a full soak. A full soaking gives the whole jacket a wrinkled look after sitting in the dryer for some time after a completed cycle. I tan my natural leather pieces, but would never consider a soaking prior to sending it to a customer.
Today marks the 9th day of sun tanning and 8th day of wearing my jacket and the results thus far exceed my expectations. There's no doubt that Christophe set the bar with his personally owned jacket, so all I can do is hope for something close to his.
Notice the amazing prominent grain. This is indicative of Christophe's attention-to-detail during his hand selection process of each and every hide.
Be mindful of the areas that may be overlooked during the suntanning process, such as the underneath the collar and cuff flaps and the pits.
Patience is key!
I've refrained from conditioning the jacket as I'm going to test different conditioning products and finishes, but the rich, deep tone pictured above is quite spectacular - this is a combination of suntanning, conditioning and patience.
I've narrowed my products down to just a few and hope to put conditioner to leather very soon.
I've chose to move forward with Pecard Antique Leather Dressing, because it's a product I've used on previous personal items, to include my "Road Champ" Engineer Boots, with very positive results.
I've learned that the best way to apply the dressing is with your fingers in order to ensure the best coverage. The entire jacket took thirty minutes. I tried my best not to get any of the product on the corduroy cuffs and collar as well as the inside of the jacket.
All done and ready to dry at room temperature. The leather will soak up most of the leather. The jacket has taken on a rich caramel color and will get darker with the next step.
The next day. Allowing the late afternoon sun to dry up some of the dressing. The remaining will be brushed off prior to moving forward.
Disneyland at the end of February 2014.
12 May 2014: The OpTempo is pretty high at work, so I'm in uniform almost all the time and haven't had much of a chance to enjoy the great pieces I own. Whenever possible, I like to don my Campus jacket and am reminded each time how amazing this piece is. Since it hasn't had the attention I believe it deserves, I think I'll continue to tan it a bit more especially in this hot SoCal weather.
This will require some more conditioner sooner than later, which excites me to no end since it will have a positive effect on the color. More to follow ...
3 March 2015: I've been making it a point to wear this amazing jacket as much as possible in recent months. I even took it with me on my last six-month deployment, but only had one chance to wear it while in Sasebo, Japan. Here she is in Joshua Tree just a few days after a wipe down in preparation for another application of Pecards.
28 July 2015 - Indigo badge of honor!
19 January 2016
23 October 2016
16 December 2016 (exactly 3 years since the first tanning day)