Trend Talk: The Return of Leather

Leather jackets are currently making a return at Premium Bandai. Since the Hurricaneger (2002) Gouraiger jackets, all “leather-style” jackets at Premium Bandai have been made from synthetic leather/leatherette except Kamen Rider W’s Ryuu Terui set (jacket: 29,829 yen; pants: 23,657 yen). As we discuss on our care page, pleather is cheaper but has issues with peeling and care, with an average lifespan of 3-5 years. Problems have been commonly reported for Abaranger, Go-Onger, and Geki Violet jackets.

Last year we saw a collaboration casual wear Kamen Rider Drive Type Wild jacket (162,000 yen) released in genuine leather (shown below) and a Tridoron design. There has also been a collaboration jacket for Kamen Rider Skull in lamb leather (69,120 yen). In addition, this year Kamen Rider Specter’s cosplay jacket (66,960 yen) and pants (60,480 yen) come exclusively in genuine leather.

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What do our contributors think about this trend?

I think this is a mixed bag. On one had, the quality problems with the pleather jackets are a major issue. At that price, people want a jacket that will last forever, and the pleather ones just don’t. The leather ones are a lifetime purchase. However, the leather ones price people out of major cosplays, like Specter. I’d hate to see genuine leather become the only option for secondary riders. I’d rather leather and pleather options at different price points for major character cosplays.

 

Ah, Ryuu’s jacket (29,829 yen) and pants (23,657 yen) were also real leather. The jacket, at least, is fantastic, and if further leather products were at similar price points I’d be all for it. It provides a much longer lifespan and a much better feel all around than the pleather. However, it prevents them from doing too much with the jackets – Ian’s jacket, for instance, would probably be impossible in genuine leather due to its variety of pleather patterns without being outrageously expensive, and odd colors like Chase’s or Joe’s would also be difficult.
Price as a whole for PB products has been rising, true, but I still think that the latest set of leather is just simply too steep. It’s pricing people out of getting them and while I understand Bandai is trying to balance quality and price, it’s just too much. I’d agree that if they would offer pleather and leather at different price points I’d be all for it, but I don’t know that that’ll ever happen – they don’t usually like making more than one version of PB stuff (recolors aside). Personally, I’ve never had any quality issues with the pleather jackets, and I’d prefer that if they chose one they stayed on the pleather side. It’s cheaper, gives them more options, and overall I don’t think the quality increase is worth the price increase.


Ah, I thought those were pleather! Good catch! I don’t see us ever returning to that, especially since PB proved they can repeatedly sell out pleater jackets at as high a price (or higher) than Ryuu’s set. Aren’t they doing a re-issue of Type Wild after it sold out? As for pricing on those, I think Type Wild is excessive, but Specter’s jacket is reasonable(ish). Bandai Fashion is trying to establish itself as a designer brand, and 66,960 yen is a reasonable price for a designer leather jacket and not much higher than the Gouraiger jackets. The pants are hands down too much in my opinion.


Yeah, I doubt we’ll ever see genuine leather as cheap as Ryuu’s again. It really makes a difference in the jacket, though. Specter’s is maybe like $100 too expensive for me, but it /is/ designer leather, it’s true. They do seem to be re-issuing Type Wild’s, but I’ll add this argument here: that is a whole other tier of wear, as it’s not cosplay or show-accurate at all. Shinnosuke never wears anything like that, and neither do any of the other characters. It’s a branded jacket, but not a cosplay jacket. I’d argue those should be held to different standards, as they are meant first and foremost to be durable, usable items, and not meant purely for the look. They’re popular for reasons beyond cosplay – or even /because/ they’re not cosplay. (It’s the same kind of reason it’s usually impossible to find PB ties – they might be cosplay, but they’re not that obvious, and they’re something normal people can wear everyday.) Those items should (and do) have a much more flexible price point. Similarly, I’m still angry about Kaito’s enormously expensive designer bracelet, and really any cosplay item that strays outside the normal realm of expense. I think it’s better for everybody if those items stay in the branded-but-not-cosplay realm.


 

In a way, I feel like I have no room to talk because I bought Utchy’s jacket, which is pleather and like 80000 yen. And I don’t regret it.


 

Yes, but that is actually exactly my point. I’d rather be paying that money for something as crazily detailed and impossible to make personally as Utchy’s jacket whereas Specter’s is just black and blue patches – patterned, yes, hard to make especially out of leather, yes, but not nearly as distinct or eye-catching as Utchy’s. Besides, Bandai, PLEASE STOP MAKING LEATHER PANTS. No one actually wants to wear them. I promise.

 

Royal

I like the move/return to leather. Using long lasting materials instills confidence in consumers. If we pick up leather pieces in the future we won’t have to be as cautious when it comes to things like wear and tear or damage. I’m not too concerned about prices since Premium Bandai already has no issues with asking rather high prices for synthetic leather products, like the Sanada Yukimura design, so I think it would be better just to move to genuine leather. Another factor to consider is that even though they had moved away from leather for the main jackets, the accessories such as bracelets and belts were often still leather.  It’s not a big deal, but I do prefer that all pieces in a particular outfit match. The fact that they did make so many items, seriously go count the number of wallets, does make the synthetic leather jackets stick out even more.

Now that you have heard from us, we would love to hear from you! Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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