R.W. Lease, Ltd. was formed to manufacture and retail in a limited fashion, perfect stitch-for-stitch replications of the stage suits made famous by the Beatles. Beatlesuits.com and the project to replicate Paul McCartney’s original “Shea” jacket was born out of a combination of my professional life, 29 years in the men’s clothing industry, and a 25 year passion for collecting one-of-a-kind Beatles artifacts.
The replication of the McCartney jacket was something I had been thinking about doing for a long time. What was mostly holding me back was the lack of free time necessary to do the job correctly. A lot of that changed early this year and in early spring of 2002, I embarked on a project to replicate, as closely as possible and regardless of cost, Paul McCartney’s stage jacket from the Beatles’ famous Shea Stadium show in 1965. The coat has been in my memorabilia collection for a number of years. The final decision to go forward with this undertaking was made when I was able to confirm, while researching this endeavor and talking to the principles involved, that all of the Beatles original stage clothing patterns have long since been lost or destroyed. The few pattern replicas that have been made up to this point have been made by memory and photographs. This project marks the first time an original coat was used to create a pattern using the exact specs.
With my clothing background and contacts, I got to work and the enterprise took six months before reaching the point of production in September, 2002. Those six months were spent examining and incorporating every facet and stitch of the original McCartney jacket into the patterns for this replica. The buttons were cast in Europe from molds made using an original button. Many weeks were spent tracking down the exact shade of worsted wool serge for the outer shell and the inner acetate two-tone lining is, again, an identical match. By most industry opinions, the final outcome is a more finely tailored garment than what the original was when new. It is virtually indistinguishable from the McCartney original in every way.
Down the road, the big picture is to ultimately offer in a similar way, exact stitch-for-stitch reproductions of some of the other well known Beatle stage clothing. R.W. Lease, Ltd. and Beatlesuits.com is a joint venture partnership between myself, Russ Lease, and my collecting partner Ron Wine.