View Full Version : Indiana Jones KoTCS jacket: Nowak(OEM) vs Belstaff(licensed)

11-04-2011, 05:28 PM
So as most here know Tony Nowak created and built the Indy jackets for the movie, and Belstaff got the high dollar license to sell the extremely high dollar replicas to the public.
I have never been a fan of licensed replica products, as typically they are shoddy work just chugged out to make a buck for people/companies who already have too many bucks, and they are not made for the actual enthusiast/fan who wants a good accurate reproduction of what they saw on screen.
That said, anyone asking me who I would choose to get a jacket from I would hands down say from the original maker, Tony Nowak...as not only did he make the originals but he also makes a damn good jacket, and in this instance custom fit to the individual for a fraction of the cost of the licensed replica jacket made by Belstaff. I know Tony's work, being that I have owned and still own three versions of his Indy jackets, and actually spoke with him a couple times briefly about his jackets, my acquiring his product for myself, and the business/community in general. For not building these for myself yet, I feel Tony's were THE Indy jacket to get, and I measure all others against what he has produced.

Like many other Indy jacket enthusiasts I saw the Belstaff offering initially as a slim cut of their own doing with just some Indy styling and wrote them off as not even offering a decent replica, much less at the ~$2000ish price level they were daring to ask for these.
Then I actually saw some Belstaff fans and forum members actually acquire some of these Belstaff Indy jackets, take some decent pictures showing their jackets, and thought they didn't look too bad actually... giving the opportunity I wouldn't mind getting one made by the Nowak OEM and the Belstaff replica together for a comparo. So over time all the needed pieces have fallen into place, as I now have together a Nowak made KoTCS jacket made to accurate screen specs and also Belstaff's offering in the hero sized XL.

As many know I actually prefer showing more than telling so lets start with some good ol pics:

Nowak Screen accurate LE
Belstaff replica


Belstaff on left, Nowak on right

Collar difference

So after thoroughly going over both jackets I have some things to share of course... First off, I have changed my position on shooting down the Belstaff, as I can now confirm they had to have had one of the screen used jackets in hand to replicate the Indy jacket this thoroughly. I can almost match up the hero XL Belstaff details to a certain hero jacket seen on screen... and looking at the Nowak jacket in person and knowing what tiny bits he improved for the public consumption Belstaff even replicated exactly how the screen jackets were put together.
Now there are slight differences between the Nowak and Belstaff: I will start with the Nowak as a screen accurate LE... this is true, but there were many different flavors of the jacket provided for the movie, as Tony built them in a variety of fits and finishes/colors for the production as requested for the various shoots and action done in the movie by Harrison and the stunt doubles. The Nowak standard pattern is probably the last pattern he used for the greater amount of jackets provided to the film, but this is not something I was able to ask him before his passing so that theory is not confirmed yet.
So from what I can see the details of this jacket match up to traits of a slightly different jacket in the movie than the one the Belstaff matches up to, which also goes to the confirmation Belstaff was given a particular screen used jacket of Tony's to use for their replica.
This is a wonderful thing for the enthusiasts/fans looking at licensed product and unusual in the licensed replica market for jackets typically.
From the Belstaff example I have here you can even see that slightly bigger collar size and 1/2 inch extra length past the pockets matches up to the promo pic I started with. The Belstaff also carries a 1 inch raised armhole over the standard Nowak SA LE jacket, which also seems to show in the cut of the promo pic jacket... while the larger arm holed Nowak shows up elsewhere such as some on-set pics like this http://i190.photobucket.com/albums/z287/filmjackets/Indy4_jacket.jpg and in this one the collar and arm holeness match up more closely to the Nowak I have here as well. http://www.filmjackets.com/FILM_JACKETS/INDIANAJONES4/Indy4-010.jpg
But, all the other details match very closely, pockets, side strap position and specs, hardware(zippers,snaps,d-rings), even internal pocket lining construction is the same between the two makers. Belstaff even did a very good job of replicating the leather down to the grain...although Belstaff's leather is a bit lighter, thinner, and not as supple as Nowak's. Nowak's stitch-work is also a tad better and stronger, as I have found a couple stitches that have come loose on the in new condition Belstaff where as the Nowaks have gone strong under clearly more stress.
Belstaff looks to also have produced their XL for the public as an exact 1:1 of the hero film jacket it was based on, as every measurement matches exactly to what Tony provided to folks as the Harrison size.
So I will say now I do believe Belstaff makes a valid replica, for me still not a $2000 worthy, but if you find one for a reasonable price it is definitely a well done replica of a screen seen hero jacket.

11-04-2011, 06:06 PM
Good to see you Dan. Great post.
I've never doubted that the Belstaff jackets were good. The thing that bothered me, and I know bothered Tony, was their claim that they made and supplied both the HF jacket for the movie and the Mutt jacket.
I spoke to Tony about this a few times, it wasn't something he spoke about that freely in his usual fashion, he became quieter when discussing it and you could tell it bothered him. The fact that Belstaff had the license didn't bother Tony, their claim did. He actually wished them success with it though, that was Tony. I will say what Tony said to me, that he discovered Belstaff had been sent one each off his jackets, so in your guess you are not wrong. That was the other thing that bothered Tony, his jackets having been sent to Belstaff in a sort of sneaky way, and them being allowed to get away with the claim that they had been the maker and supplier of jackets for the movie.
You probably know that Tony had never originally intended to make the jackets for fans. He actually thought no one would be interested. It was Bernie Pollack who encouraged him and told Tony he had to make these jackets available.

Making the jackets for fans and contact with the fans reinvigorated Tony. He very much enjoyed the people. Tony started out in his business making custom jackets and still did but his business had become largely making special jackets for government agencies, corporations, etc etc, particularly with embroidered logos, designs et al. Interesting but hum drum. With making the I_J4 jackets for people Tony was back in doing what he started with, and began again working with his tanneries to produce special leathers, which was another interest of his.

11-04-2011, 06:38 PM
Good to finally have some easier access and a minute to post RC...

I wasn't guessing on Belstaff being given jackets, just stating that after having the Belstaff in hand I can now confirm which particular jackets were most likely handed over to Belstaff. And I can totally see why anyone being the OEM would not like how the licensing went, but there really is not much sneaky about it. The Belstaff rep that used to handle the movie and replica stuff was good at his job and solicited for the license, George's group looks at the production capability, name brand, and pricepoint Belstaff brings to the license table and says, "here's your two jackets, produce these and pay us."
Tony built jackets for the likes of you and me, not a mass produced operation for world consumption at the best dollar.

11-04-2011, 06:49 PM
I understand Dan.
Tony saw it as a sneaky way, in that it was not forthright in telling him they did that. That and the claim of Belstaff, with them being able to outright make the statement under the license.
He really didn't want the license himself, it would have been a losing situation, and he wasn't making money with the I-J 4 jackets as it was.
We are fortunate he made them for us, and made them custom.

11-04-2011, 07:07 PM
Yeah, Belstaff has passed down plenty of false information to its own retailers to tell the public...much of the time that is just due to ignorance and assumptions of certain folks within the company.

On a brighter note, here's a few more shots for folks.



11-04-2011, 07:21 PM
Belstaff did a nice job of it. Is that Belstaff your personal jacket ?

they probably do pass false info to their dealers, in the case of the Indy and Mutt jackets they included it right on their web site. that may not have just been ignorance. Oh well it's over now, they don't offer the jackets any more form what I can tell.

11-04-2011, 08:41 PM
Yep, both are... someone turned me onto the belstaff for a killer price and I couldn't pass up the chance to get it for the comparo.

11-04-2011, 09:17 PM
I don't blame you for getting it.

You say the Belstaff has none of the internal reinforcements Tony put in the fan offering jackets. Does the Belstaff also have the lighter gauge zipper and lighter weight lining?

The jacket that was sent to Belstaff may well have been the one in the promo pic. I believe the promo pic jacket is one of the early versions Tony made before final tweeks were decided on by Bernie Pollack for the actual production jackets. As you say though none were exactly identical, especially in colour. Tony said this as well.

11-05-2011, 07:20 AM
Great post, Dan. Really good job of comparing the two.

Being a "friend" of Tony (really more a friendly customer, I would say) it does bug me about how Belstaff made their claims and were sent a jacket. I realize that is just business though (and a reminder of why I don't need to be in business! ;).

On the other hand, I'm surprised and happy for those that bought one that Belstaff went to that much trouble to get it right. Like you, I figured they had just slapped a "close-enough" together and charged 2 grand for it.

11-07-2011, 12:35 PM
RC - Yes, it looks like the extra inside facing Tony put around the side vents and also that extra little reinforcement stitch at the bottom point of the hand-warmers on his public SA offering is not present on the Belstaff... but the zippers are identical between the two jackets, that very small #5.

thanks Crismans - and yeah I totally agree Belstaff falsely claiming/implying to have made the originals is utter crap if they did so... I guess I never really was interested in the Belstaff version enough to look at how they were advertising it when these first came out.

11-22-2011, 02:55 PM
Great insight into these jackets The Man. People hAVE discussed in the past how they think the CS jacket looks like a baggier or bigger jacket than the Raiders jacket. But, in looking at these photos of you wearing the CS jacket compared to your earlier TN ROTLA jacket, I'm not seeing that so much. Maybe the sleeves or waist? But, there are quite a few ROTLA screengrabs that show the jacket looks kinda baggy on HF. I think you said both of these are pretty close to the specs of the screen jackets so I was wondering what you are seeing with the fit differences between the two.