Which one wins in the ultimate battle of the jacket?
The biker jacket is an article with a huge personality, often associated with rebellion and living young, wild and free. It first appeared in the 1900s as a jacket worn by motorcyclists (hence the name) after they had spent years wearing the early military jackets that were plentiful after the war. A decade later, they finally had a jacket they could call their own when Jack and Irving Schott took notice and started a clothing manufacturing business. By 1928, they had produced their first true biker jacket, called the ‘double pattern’. It provided much more protection than earlier types and was much more structured. Harley Davidson also fuelled the biker jacket craze from 1910 until the 1940s when they introduced their biker jackets that became the epitome of the style. The jacket received a huge popularity boost in the 1950s due to Marlon Brando’s (ask your mum, she’ll know him) role in The Wild One and his ‘one star’ leather jacket. After this, the biker jacket became a symbol of fun and excitement and still is – what a ride!
Marlon Brando. Photo: © Sunset Boulevard/Corbis
A biker jacket is guaranteed to be something that all of the greatest in the fashion world have designed – from Yves Saint Laurent to Acne. It is the oldest trick in the book! Wear it with a floral dress to get the perfect soft-to-edgy ratio, or with jeans and a t-shirt to vamp up a boring outfit. Fashion designers know how versatile the biker jacket is – the fashion world has eaten up the biker jacket of the 1900s and spat it out (in the most elegant way possible) as a new version, adorned with studs and available in a whole spectrum of different colours. It truly is something that will last a lifetime.
The bomber jacket made its first appearance in the 1900s during World War I. The pilots of bomber planes in Belgium and France were the first to be issued with the initial jacket in 1915: a long leather flying-coat worn primarily for warmth. Two years later, America took notice and the American forces established the ‘U.S. aviation clothing brand’ and began issuing their own altered versions of the flying jackets to their fighter pilots; this is when the term ‘Bomber Jacket’ was born. In 1931, it received a well-deserved makeover and the U.S issued the standard waist-length A2 jacket to the U.S. military. The jacket had many new features such as a zip in the front, tight cuffs and a snug waist, which later became the elements that built it into the jacket we know today.
Fashionistas take note
When fashion heavyweights such as Chanel and Givenchy seize a trend, it’s time to take note. When Chanel’s beautiful, silky bomber jacket printed with a chained pattern made its debut in the 1980s, the fashion world was all ears… or eyes, in this case. The bomber jacket was everywhere, in every style, and so it remains now! It has always represented the tough-guy look, but this season it has received a feminine twist with everything from embroidery and pretty prints to fur collars.
Handcrafted in America since 1913: It’s been over a 100 years since the original designers, Schott. set up their factory in NYC. They were the first company to put zips in jackets!!