Thoughts on the J59-GT
Haven’t seen anything about this jacket, so wanted to share my experience with it (since there are a few left, I think). I posted this on reddit as well, so more of a “I hope this helps those on the fence“ kinda post. I’ve really enjoyed this jacket.
Just got it today in medium. I’m 182cm/78kg, athletic. It’s a big and boxy fit, but by manipulating the zipper and the pull cord, you actually have a lot of control over the silhouette, which is the main thing I want to hit on. All the specs and similar are online and the product imagery is pretty spot on to reality.
It’s modeled after the MA-1, which is what originally drew me to it. I’ve wanted an MA-1 forever, and have a few other jackets in that family like the Buzz Rickson Gibson B15, and a Rickson A2. But I’ve resisted getting an MA-1. I hadn’t found an option that felt quite right and there a something about the details on that kinda flight jacket that feel foreign to me. I get the same sense when I wear the B15, with its vestigial arm pocket and detailing that’s plenty useful as a pilot, a bit less so as a pedestrian.
Anyway, seeing the J59-GT, I felt like I was seeing the thing I didn’t quite know I was looking for. A weather shield that looked like an MA-1 if you squint, but also feels like something distinct.
When it arrived, I was initially a bit unhappy. The frame felt somehow bigger than I expected, especially as someone who usually wears more fitted clothes. But after walking around a bit and seeing how the jacket settled and moved, I think what I had interpreted as bagginess was actually the structure of the fabric and the internal volume mimicking the shapes and contours of a nylon and wool constructed MA-1. With the lines of the pockets and the manipulation made possible with the draw cord, it took on the shape of the MA-1 and (insofar as that shape is structure) actually creates a very structured overall look.
This jacket presents an interesting opportunity to explore alternatives to (what I had understood as) the streamlined tech wear silhouette. Especially as someone who has been drawn to military surplus and workwear, there is something to the material efficiency of a lot of tech wear (and the way it almost diminishes the wearer) that I’ve never loved. Conversely, military and workwear have a lot of form-follows-function staples that present that function efficiently from an economic perspective, but not a material one. Just have the wearer do more squats if they complain. Anyway, my frustration is that often with tech wear I feel like the individual disappears behind the clothes, maybe as a protest to the commodification of identity and information in our current age. This jacket doesn’t do that, and it feels a bit less like it’s wearing you. It also feels a bit less “tech wear” perhaps, though I think my definition there is a bit limited.
Anyway, my intent with this jacket is to wear it heavily, casually, and across a bunch of needs. So will report back on how it survives. Big points of concern are the zipper and the Goretex stretching ribbing. It seems pretty solid, but especially around the hands I imagine that level of contact with that kind of material will lead to sweat and potentially material degradation. But hopefully this’ll be a key piece for years. Hope this helps,
Also a thought: https://www.heddels.com/2015/03/william-gibson-interview-buzz-rickson-line-tech-wear-limits-authenticity/
One month in, I love this thing.
Some big things:
- Silhouette is very flexible thanks to the draw string and dual zipper. I’ve found the sweet spot for me, but have actually manipulated it from time to time depending on what I’m looking for that day. Definitely a more casual look.
- The pockets are huge and useful, but zip them closed. Somewhere in Copenhagen, there is an outlier beanie that slipped out. I wish there was a bit of a well under the zipped area to catch such things.
- The hood is awesome. I’ve also swapped it on and off again depending on what I’m looking for.
- The chest snap is key. It basically lets the j59 semi-structured silhouette work without being zipped shut.
- The 2L at the cuffs seems to work fine and has been nice in the incredibly windy Denmark. Still slightly worried about a sweat and oil collection there but haven’t noticed anything yet.
- I’m a backpack person primarily, and sadly it looks kind of sloppy with a backpack. I usually wear a messenger bag with it now.
- I have an 8mo old who I often cart around in an ergobaby chest harness, and this thing somehow makes that look okay layered over the harness and open at the front. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Anyway, all told a big purchase that I was nervous about, but I’ve been super happy. I think I will get a more structured acronym jacket as well, but down the road and likely not in GT.
Let me know if you have any questions, as there still seem to be one or two on the site.