An Interview with Stuart Clurman from Lost Worlds Inc.


July 23, 2020 by Ville Raivio

VR: Your age and occupation?

Products from Pukimo Raivio

Kiton, grey sports jacket, size 50EU
Ralph Lauren, Black Label suit, size 52EU

SC: 69, Leather Outerwear Manufacturer.

VR: Your educational background?

SC: B.A., English.  4 years Ph.D. Program, English, No degree. Published two articles on film and literature: Postif and Journal of Modern Literature (1973).


VR: Have you any children or spouse (and how do they relate to your clothing enthusiasm)?

SC: Divorced, one son, no interest in leatherwear business.

A custom California Highway Patrol model in horsehide

VR: …and your parent’s and siblings’ reactions when you first chose leather clothes as your trade?

SC: No reaction other than parental supportiveness.


VR: What other hobbies or passions do you have besides apparel?

SC: I collect US Militaria, Vintage Guitars and Amps. Like film, good cars, Americana, books, women, genuine late ’60s rock and roll.

The Fairfield model in sheepskin

VR: How did you first become interested in clothing, and when did you turn your eyes towards leather jackets?

SC: Growing up in the 1950s, I was drawn to WWII movies and the flight jackets therein (virtually all incorrect!) as well as the rugged jackets in ’30s – ’50s melodrama. And vintage western wear in the pre-polyester decades. In the ’60s, British rock and roll garb fired my imagination and wannabeism.

The A-2 in horsehide

VR: How have you gathered your knowledge of the topic  — from books, in-house training, workshops or somewhere else?

SC: From collecting original jackets, beginning in the early ’80s, through a disappointing learning curve period selling a longtime mfg.’s apparel, then learning to source and develop correct materials, such as our proprietary horsehide, then to pattern, produce and refine vintage styles to high levels of craftsmanship. Everything by trial and error, there were no road maps.

The Courier peacoat in deerskin

VR: How would you describe your own style?

SC: My personal style? Utter non-conformity! I rarely dress in other than Wrangler 13MWZs but own plenty of American and English shoes, boots, jackets, coats. Example of my “eccentricity”, or is it just Cool, i.e. epater le bourgeoisie? In NY in winter, I wear an old West German Loden duffle with USA Chippewa snake boots tucked inside Brit moleskin trousers, of course!

My professional style? Doing things correctly, thinking outside the box. Loading my ears with wax like Odysseus.

The Leathertogs A model

VR: Who or what inspires you?

SC: My inspiration is a personal demon: a thirst for excellence, uniqueness, consistency. Jackets beyond mere clothing, unrelated to ephemeral trends. Clothing that endures.

An external raison d’ etre – I hope these French droppings are impressing the reader — cited on our web site. Borges’s short fiction Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote in which the title character decides to re-imagine Cervantes’s Don Quixote completely – every word, comma, sentence … Everything — not from memory but from pure inspiration and imagination because, as the character Menard “writes,” such will create a ‘Quixote beyond Cervantes’. A fable of creativity, what I try to do in our modest way. Reimagine original examples from the past from the inside out rather than from the outside in as hobbyists do. To afford a glimpse into the soul of the past, not a gravestone rubbing.

The Buco J23

Does this mean taking apart an original jacket? Absolutely not. I’ll address that inanity below. Rather, understanding proportion, nuance, intention, spirit, gleaned from forty years of immersion in this truly lost world, forty years in the wilderness, using my academic background to seek (and speak) uncontaminated truth, not produce a one-dimensional Xerox-like jacket replica of some relic found on eBay or in some vintage scrounger’s closet. The jacket should be a portal, not mere postcard.


VR: What’s your definition of style?

SC: Craft united with function to produce beauty, individuality. Traditional masculinity. The criterion of Cool in an uncool world.

The Ryder in horsehide

VR: If what I’ve read is true, you’ve ripped apart vintage jackets to see their inner workings. Is this done for faithful reproductions or do you believe leather jackets were just made better before?

SC: A ridiculous internet myth. I’ve never ripped apart a vintage jacket. Whichever self-appointed internet expert – and there are plenty – came up with that one! A jacket can only be made one way and has been since Neanderthals or earlier went from one-piece pelts to attached sleeves and pieces. Looking at a jacket tells the professional, as opposed to the hobbyist, everything. Ripping apart a jacket to see the backside of the leather panels? Well, some modern repro jackets should be worn inside-out, because the exteriors leave so much to be desired, namely truth and cojones. Honestly, how could a 70+ year old leather jacket, evidencing wear, shrinkage, stretching, etc. provide anything other than inaccuracy if some neophyte tears it apart as if it were a machine to view the cogs? Lost Worlds sees the forest, then the trees. It’s deductive, arising from pre-knowledge gleaned from wide experience of the correct relations between elements across the tradition. It’s having the eye.

The Easy Ryder in horsehide

VR: To add to the previous question, how were leather jackets different before our times?

SC: Materials, functionality, fit, image, workmanship, Style. Clothing expresses the age in which it’s made. Compare the 1930s, say, to the 1970s. Double-knit, anyone?


VR: When did you set up Lost Worlds and what was the motivation?

SC: I began Lost Worlds in 1986 selling the Willis & Geiger Outfitters line through a retail mail order catalog I designed and printed. W&G was undergoing consistent management, quality and market problems at that time and my valid efforts at popularizing the brand and expanding sales were ignored by the company. I also suggested their hiring me to source genuine Horsehide rather than the substandard stuff they were being supplied. They ignored me there too! Seeking quality, I was perceived as a threat by the new management. This was my first business contact with replicas, however flawed, of some of the classic and vintage jackets I had begun collecting earlier.  By 1992, I decided to follow the entrepreneurial path to make notable leather jackets to my criteria of quality and authenticity.

The Buco J100 in horsehide

VR: How is LW different from other leather jacket makers?

SC: We don’t preach to the choir. I don’t make flavor-of-the-month jackets. We make jackets I perceive as historically interesting, stylish, technically challenging, ultra-cool and high performance. What I like. All our gear is or can be used on motorcycles or in challenging environments and always rain and snow. None is fashion clothing, for posing, faux hipster boulevardier wear for Tokyo, Manhattan or London dive bars and the like. Making fewer but benchmark styles is our mandate and we eschew every tiresome minor vintage variation through boredom, not inability.


VR: How would you describe the House Style of your designs?

SC: Heirloom grade classic American rugged wear devoid of fakery, i.e. prêt-à-porter antiquing, overdrumming, flimsiness, gimmick tanning with tea (or is it urine?) to simulate top finish fading from black to brown in a vintage jacket after decades of dry storage, wear or exposure, etc. Our signature American Horsehide from our own tannery is peerless, famous, natural full grain, unduplicated and better than vintage examples. Period. Every hide – deer, sheepskin, goatskin – is tanned to our specs. Nothing off the shelf, everything from USA.

No pandering to fashionistas and those who find necessary ego completion in Internet blogs, forums, chat groups, etc. where the fundamentalist dispersion of ignorance and bias laden with ulterior commercial motive quickly converts those so inclined.


VR: Do you have a favourite leather and jacket model? (If you do, why these?)

SC: I started with the A-2, own many flight jacket originals, then the Trojan and (real) Beck motorcycle jackets because these were the first that showed me that true classic jackets so differed from the punk rock and also-rans worn then and now.

The A-2 in goatskin

VR: Finally, why should Keikari’s readers try you instead of others leather specialists?

SC: Your readers should buy what they believe is best or appeals to their tastes. We never compare ourselves to other ‘specialists.’ The opposite, however, cannot be said. Much of our web site and many of the styles we made first have found their way, shall we say, elsewhere? Myself, I wouldn’t “borrow” someone else’s ideas if a gun was put to my head but that’s why we’re LOST WORLDS. Edgy enough?

Photos: Lost Worlds Inc.


  1. NICK LAGREGA says:

    I own a bunch of LW jackets–2 A2’s 1-G1 1-B-3 and 1-ANJ4 and a few vests-all awesome and gorgeous-When people are very into a particular topic-some seem to call it frayed–but it’s really passion and should be perceived as sort of frayed-If you don’t encounter that passion you are probably dealing with a phony. Not discriminating-just being honest.Showing or speaking what you believe in is part of the passion. Nick

  2. Yosarian says:

    Have had an LW A-2 for 15 years.
    It is the most uncomfortable jacket I own.
    Clurman defines anyone who seeks comfort in a genuine jacket as less “manly”.
    Well after 15 years of wear the shoulders are still straight as a board like a 1980’s woman’s blazer. The collar stand still rides very high on the neck and the horsehide never did “Break-in”. A pocket and collar snap failed and the arm movement is still restrictive due the poor angle of the armpits. I am most disappointed in myself for believing that it only takes time to get comfortable. This jacket arrived ill-fitting and never improved.

    I still have my father’s G-1 from the 60’s and my USAF issued A-2 from 1989 and both are far superior in cut and comfort.

  3. George says:

    Lost worlds make excellent jackets. I think their A-2 and their G-1 are ok. There are so many companies that specialized in WW2 reproductions the bar is very steep. Personally, I like all of their jackets. I own military and non military from them. My personal favorites are my Buco and Trojan replicas. Honestly, I believe they make an excellent leathertogs. Hopefully, I will order their model B in a tan and the Peterson. I have been collecting since 1979. In my collection of originals and reproductions, lost worlds is my collection is the most often used jacket for riding and traveling.

  4. Dave Rogers says:

    I have been researching and collecting leather motorcycle jackets since I was 15 yrs. old I am now 68. When I was 5 yrs. old my Dad (rest His soul) came home with a new winter jacket for me. It just happened to be a copy of a WWII B10 flight jacket with genuine mouton collar. He told me a story of His war years with the 101st Airborne Division and how the pilots that flew Him into the drop zone wore these jackets. He and His comrades trusted these Men with their lives and this jacket was just like theirs. I loved this jacket for years and this started my infatuation with Flight jackets and leather jackets as a whole. As I grew up I developed an interest in motorcycles and motorcycle jackets as such. Through the years I have experienced and owned probably every make and design of flight and or motorcycle jacket ever made. (dozens probably hundreds) and had considered myself an expert. I ran across a very small add in the back of a Smithsonian magazine in 1987 selling a “Trojan Leather” motorcycle jacket. I had run across an original “Trojan” through the years and even though it was in terrible condition, it was magnificent. I immediately placed an order for one of these Trojans and the seller turned out to be Stuart Clurman. This was the beginning of “Lost Worlds”. He actually called me on the phone to insure that my measurements were correct and then proceeded to ma a “mock up” in cotton material of my jacket and sent it to me to insure that it fit correctly. Of course the jacket was magnificent when I finally received it and I still have it to this day. I cannot count the times that people have tried to buy this jacket right off of my back. Don’t think so. In short, Stuart Clurman is the worlds foremost authority on both Flight and Motorcycle jacket design. And that’s not all. He puts as much emphasis on quality as He does authentic designs. His materials, craftsmanship and attention to detail are the finest that can be had in the world today. So there you have it. No ifs, ands, or buts. Dave Rogers

  5. Stuart says:

    Thanks, Kristopher. The truth will out. Unsurprisingly, the low smear to which you responded concerns a 2nd quality, sale, mid-1990s A-2 purchased on the cheap on ebay and positive-feedbacked at the time. It’s taken 20 years for this “expert” to rise to the fore. I wonder why. No, I don’t.

  6. Jeffrey Thurston says:

    Funny- after that blizzard of fancy words you can still overtly see the flaws in his A-2 jacket! See the folds all gathering at the neck? Both photos show it- the one of him and the one of the A-2 alone. Those are there because not understanding pattern making LW has tried to square the shoulders of the jacket by raising the shoulder top line. All LW A-2s have this because of a poor pattern- forest for the trees indeed! Also- pocket 12 inches apart as are present on the LW A-2 in larger sizes only emphasizes pot bellies- not accurate historically and not flattering to anyone.
    Finally- the leather on LW A-2s may look good in some photos but what you will receive is thick stiff stuff which when it ages reveals a lighter tone spray painted over almost black leather- not appealing at all and again not accurate.

  7. Kristopher Bush says:

    I own 3 LW jackets and 1 LW vest and these are best made, most durable, style correct leather garments made! The attention to detail, craftsmanship, and materials are second to none. I ride a motorcycle 6/7 days a week so I’ve owned plenty name brand leather jackets mostly made in China and when I found Lost Worlds, I bought the Easy Ryder and loved it. Within months I sold 7 leather jackets I had in my collection and bought another LW, and another, and another. Now I only wear LW jackets.

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