We at Mister Freedom® do not believe in factory-distressed garments (sandpaper/laser/hard-wash/chemicals/etc), and recommend a more DIY “organic” approach to kick-start a cool natural patina.
The whole process of tanning your brand new MF® natural veg-tan leather jacket is a bit more involved than just sticking it on a hanger in the sun, and watch it magically morph into a golden beauty…
The desirable warm orange tones characteristic of old vintage “cossack” type jackets, like our classic Campus Jacket, are usually the result of 90 years of wear, neglect, exposure to the elements, and not just suntanning. Additionally, while exposure is key, if the garment is left too long outside, the sun is more likely to bleach out the golden tones than to darken them. Timing is important, and none of the process is an exact science.
Our friend John VEB V has documented his journey with his own Campus early on, and with outstanding results. We recommend a similar procedure:
1) Set the veg-tanned Campus outside, on a bust form. Stuff the arms and body to avoid un-natural tan lines and fold marks. Let the jacket sit in the sun for several days, rotating it around, exposing all covered areas (under collar, arm pits, side gussets, etc…) From its initial natural pale pink color, a ‘copper pink’ will gradually develop, aka suntan.
2) After some time (1-3 weeks) — depending on local weather and according to visible results — generously wipe the entire jacket with a clean, damp cloth. This tends to bring the skin side of the leather “to life”, somewhat sealing it from future water spots. Each leather panel will react differently to water, some slightly shrinking, some slightly stretching, creating natural torquing and subtle seam puckering.
Briefly trying the jacket on to set some natural creases is an option at this stage, but stuffing/shaping it again is a key step.
3) Let the sun do its thing again for several days, occasionally moving the jacket around.
4) When the leather has taken a darker tone and looks ‘thirsty’, condition the entire jacket by hand-rubbing every panel and seams with a combination of Pecard Leather Dressing, saddle conditioner, and our own secret sauce. Rub, rub, rub… making sure to not apply conditioner to the corduroy facing nor to the flesh side.
5) Let the sun dry-up the leather again, and the conditioner soak in, then, if needed, repeat the steps above according to the results and desired effect…
Note that each leather jacket will react differently to this entire “Sunshine” suntanning process. Results are according to the specifics of the hides used in the construction, which part of a hide each panel is cut from, the leather grain, the amount of conditioning and rubbing, length of exposure, UV levels, etc. Some hides tan much faster than others, some develop warmer tones than others, giving each jacket its own character.
The above process can take months, but the outcome is always rewarding. And don’t forget to wear your MF® leather jacket without moderation!
Thank you for your support.
The MF® Team