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“I've always loved leather,” Andrew Pollard, a veteran fashion entrepreneur who has worked with and launched brands like Diesel, Miss Sixty, and Kiki de Montparnasse, told me by phone a few weeks ago. “The problem was, I could never find something simple enough that wasn't super expensive.”
Pollard didn’t want to fork over several grand for one made by a brand like Saint Laurent. He also didn’t want to settle for a mid-range, trend-driven version trying to differentiate itself in the overcrowded market with too many bells and whistles. He could get the right look from lower-end and fast fashion labels, but the quality wasn’t there. So designed his ideal leather jacket and launched a brand earlier this June to fill that void.
Called LTH JKT (and no, I’m not really sure how to pronounce it), Pollard’s latest brand makes several styles of leather jackets priced between $450 and $650, with most hovering at just under $500. The cuts are simple and classic, rendered in buttery soft lambskin and suede. Where there are embellishments, they’re sleek and exactly what the silhouette calls for: a belt closure on a cropped biker jacket; slightly padded epaulets on a moto jacket; shiny nickel zippers on all of them.
LTH JKT is able to keep the prices so low without skimping on quality because the brand has partnered with its manufacturer; the factory owns a stake in the business and has direct access to all kinds of consumer data, which helps to reduce waste and cut costs pretty significantly. It also means that the brand is selling these jackets at cost. “The basic model is that we make the jackets, and we only mark up the raw price once to the consumer,” explains Pollard. “The jackets that we sell for $400 to $700 would cost $1,200 to $2,000 in a traditional retail store.”
You can almost think of it as extra-direct-to-consumer: Where a DTC brand like Everlane eliminates the retail markup, LTH JKT also eliminates the factory markup. Pollard calls this a “maker-to-market” model. “I'd been thinking about our business model for many, many years, and this was the perfect product to test the hypothesis,” he explained.
“I found this manufacturer who’s got 17 factories in India and 35 years of expertise in the industry, and they’ve made leather jackets for everyone in the luxury business down to the fast fashion brands like Zara. They have some of the strictest compliances from a social-environmental perspective in the world because of the level of brands that they do work with. It was a slam-dunk in terms of the quality that they output, the way they operate ethically, and also their willingness to go into business with me.”
While the label plans to introduce new styles each month (Pollard also mentioned that it’s working on pieces like stretch leather leggings for women), right now the offerings are pretty tight. There are six different styles of jacket — the Mya Cropped Biker ($495), the Ana Suede Biker ($450), the Gia Moto ($550), the Cam Cafe Racer ($475), the Min Bomber ($650), and the very classic Kas Biker ($695) — with each available in a few different colors (black, navy, red, cognac, and beige all make appearances) for women. For men, there are just three styles — the Nic Cafe Racer ($550), the Joe Bomber ($695), and the Tye Biker ($550) — available in black or navy.
If you’re nervous about ordering a jacket online without the possibility of trying it on first, don’t be — just make sure you return it within the 15-day window if it doesn’t work out. Or, if you live in the LA area, you could wait until the new Fred Segal opens up on Sunset Boulevard on September 26th; the retailer will feature a LTH JKT store-within-a-store. (Additional US retail partnerships are in the works but haven’t yet been announced.)
At any rate, the hassle of buying online and waiting for it in the mail is absolutely worth the deal you’re getting. It’s pretty much the platonic Ideal of a leather jacket: all about the mood and bravado without any of the unnecessary extras — including, apparently, dollars and vowels.