About two years ago, Jeff Cafone made the switch from rock music to leather. After being in a rock band for a number of years, Cafone wanted to go down a different career path, but definitely wanted to retain a level of creativity in his day-to-day life.
“I did welding and woodworking and guitars, but in New York there’s no garage and no tools,” Cafone said in an interview with Mic. “I was looking for something I could do in a small Greenwich Village apartment that wasn’t going to kill my neighbors. I came across some leather, and it’s much different to work with than fabric, and I just loved it.”
For over a year, Cafone had his own custom leather jacket business in New York, for men and women of different shapes and sizes. But as more and more plus-size women started to relay to him just how difficult it was to find a cool, quality leather jacket that fit them, a lightbulb went off.
“When I was fitting women of larger sizes, I was getting feedback from women telling me this was above and beyond anything they’ve ever had access to,” Cafone said. “I am not a plus-size women, so I did not know. I was like, OK, let’s pause, and I went out and bought every plus size moto-style jacket I could find. I did a ton of research and digging around and saw what other companies were doing, and I was really surprised at the options that were out there and how poor they were.”
Women described having access only to options that were cheap, ill-fitting, not built to last, uncool, largely not real leather and simply not special.
“It was 99% faux and floppy and poorly constructed,” Cafone said. “Cheap price points for cheap quality. In straight-sized clothing, it’s the exact opposite. If you were going out as a size four, you could spend $100 or $600 or $1,000 and be taken care of.”
To address this problem, Cafone in November launched All 67, a leather jacket business devoted to plus-size women in sizes 12 to 30, with custom sizing options also available. The name comes from 67%, a number that has been widely quoted as the percentage of the American female population that’s plus sized.
Starting with a size 18 model, Cafone addressed a number of issues his would-be clients faced with their current leather jacket options.
“The biceps and upper arms were consistently tight,” Cafone said. “Also the range of motion across the center back was an issue. The ability to zip it up comfortably without taking away the shape of it. That was the most fundamental change.”
Cafone augmented his jackets to comfortably fit a wider group of people, with an arch of fabric over the back that allows for a wider range of motion and a crop that allows for a range of hip widths.
As for why Cafone thinks this gap in the leather jacket market even existed, he goes back to the many stereotypes attributed to plus-sized people.
“There’s a lot of misconceptions that die hard,” Cafone said. “I think there is still some perception within a boardroom somewhere that women who wear larger sizes are not willing to invest in themselves, or there’s a perception that this body is transitional so, OK, I’m not going to invest in a higher value. Like oh, I’ll be a size smaller next spring.”
Although All 67 is still incredibly new, Cafone said he’s gotten the kind of reactions from women that make him feel like he’s making a real difference.
“It’s not just clothing. It’s two things. It’s clothing versus fashion,” Cafone said. “Clothing is always available, but for plus, fashion is not always available. For something as iconic as a leather moto jacket, if you haven’t been a certain size and shape then you have not been able to get one for yourself.
“It’s 2017 and body positivity is of the moment,” he added. “It’s mainstream. People are ready.”