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STYLE AND CULTURE
CULT ITEM: LEATHER JACKET
By Style Feed Staff, March 18, 2018
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.
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 piece of gear that emitted a general bad-boy vibe.
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 smoldering glance at adoring fans. It proved a favorite amongst the Britpop world too, worn with jeans, relaxed T-shirts and minimal trainers. In fact, the laid-back aesthetic looks set to make a comeback, if the catwalk at Dior’s FW18 show is anything to go by.
Like many jackets with military history, the leather jacket has been adopted by designers and turned into a high-fashion favorite. As a result, street-stylers everywhere can often be seen donning the silhouette — spotted at LFWM FW18, this guy's chosen to update his classic version with an on-trendsoccer scarf and side-stripe pants.
Today, the jacket has infiltrated a smörgåsbord of subcultures, losing its bad-boy identity and becoming a style staple that crosses seasonal boundaries and defies dress codes. While its practical features are still great when winter comes around, the new generation of stylish guys are picking up the key piece for its effortlessly slick edge. Take a look at how this fella adds some flavor to his subdued ensemble with an oversized leather jacket complete with red piping.