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STYLE AND CULTURE

CULT ITEM: LEATHER JACKET

By Style Feed Staff, 16 March 2019

There's nothing quite like a classic black leather jacket. Synonymous with motorbikes and musicians, it's no surprise it's been the favourite of cool kids for decades. Here are a few reasons why now is the time to get your hands on one of these cult classics, if you haven't already (that is, apart from the obvious – AKA wanting to look like you're in a band or a biker gang).
A picture of Charlie Hunnam in Sons Of Anarchy.

Picture: Rex

In 1928, Manhattan-based raincoat designer Irving Schott created the first leather biker jacket for Harley Davidson. The ‘Perfecto’, inspired by leather flight jackets worn by military men in the early 1900s, was the first example of the refined silhouette that has become such a style staple. Its robustness saw it keep ties with fans of two-wheelers, with so-called outlaw motorcycle clubs adopting the jacket in various forms as uniform, adorning it with their gang's emblems.
A picture of The Ramones wearing black biker jackets.

Picture: Rex

By the 50s, the biker jacket was a prime piece in the tough-guy aesthetic. Hollywood embraced the silhouette and the big screen was filled with the likes of Marlon Brando and James Dean clad in slick leather, taking on the role of the enigmatic rebel. But its uniform qualities remained and rock bands like The Ramones used it less for its hard-wearing qualities and more as a signature bit of kit that emitted a general bad-boy vibe.
A picture of a runway model from Marni's FW19 collection.

Picture: IMAXtree

There it stayed, a key component of musical identity, with frontmen of countless rock bands donning worn-in, rough-and-ready leather with aviators, slicked-back hair and the odd smouldering glance at adoring fans. It proved a favourite with the Britpop lot, too, worn with jeans, relaxed T-shirts and minimal trainers. For AW19, the leather jacket got a rework in length, ranging from Matrix-flavoured trench-coat styles to a 70s three-quarter cut – just like the piece above from Marni's AW19 show.

A picture of a street styler wearing a brown leather jacket.

Picture: Imax Tree

The black biker jacket might be the OG of leather-clad options but, with all the fresh, new colour schemes making up the menswear fashionscape this year, it might be worth tapping into another hue for a look that’s simultaneously on-trend and timeless. Take some inspiration from the chap above and cop a tonal brown piece. The tie-dyed T-shirt underneath is optional, although we can’t help but applaud the effort, as he’s nailing two of 2019’s biggest colour schemes in a look that shouldn’t work but really does. Serious skills.

Man in a leather jacket

Picture: Imax Tree

For the most part, the jacket’s form hasn’t shifted drastically. The archetypal construction – thick texture, buttoned lapels and chunky zips – remains the classic cut but, recently, more minimal, fuss-free iterations have entered the fray. At the same time, punk influence from the 70s has made a comeback, with members of the stylish set representing the studded embellishment adopted by first-gen punks at the height of the anarchic music's reign.

A picture of a street styler wearing a black biker jacket.

Picture: Imax Tree

Now, the original black biker may be a symbol of rebellious biker and punk crews but, in 2019, the jacket's renegade image lends itself just as well to your smarter looks, too. Take this guy’s getup above. It’s tailored, it’s tonal and it’s most definitely smart. And what’s that item pulling this whole look together? The classic biker. Who’d have thought the maverick appeal of the biker jacket could flex so hard with an office-worthy fit like the one above? And there’s the proof – it's the ultimate wardrobe staple.

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