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The Evolution of the Leather Jacket

3 Feb 2011

The desire for leather apparel has been prevalent throughout time and will continue for many decades yet. Although craftsmen's techniques have transformed over time certainly what have not changed are the unique and exceedingly appealing qualities that this indigenous material gives us such a, warm, soft, comfortable, malleable and durable article.

Today there is much iconic and cultural status surrounding the leather jacket which has descended from 20th century idols like World War aviators who modeled bomber jackets for protection and warmth to movie and film stars who to epitomize 'cool'.

There's no question that film has played its part in creating a buzz increasing our desire for leather, the earliest most well known actor and film that have contributed to the stylization of the classic is Marlon Brando in the film The Wild One in 1953. Closely followed by James Dean in the film Rebel Without a Cause in 1955. One could say that the cool enigmatic male with strength and ‘je ne sai quoi’ image was iconicised. However it was not considered the apparel of a gentlemen. The 70’s our tv's were lit up with the creation of Starsky & Hutch, their semi-glazed or shinny finishes epitomizing a cool and sexy look symbolized from that era. The Indiana Jones character extended another dimension with the classic Harrington design that pushed towards a more sturdy and dependable hero characterization. More recent films such as Blade and Matrix (Wesley Snipes and Keanu Reeves) have brought the concept of a men’s full length coat into greater acceptance as the attire for a cool and enigmatic man that is selfless in his agenda to restore social balance and security.

It is evident that the leather has increased in popularity from the 70”s onwards, and even more so over the last few years in particular. A number of celebrities have been seen sporting gorgeous designer styles from the likes of Mulberry, Gucci, Dolce & Gabana and Versace and all the top designers have integrated leather as part of their fashion collections. Interestingly, black is still the most favored colour followed by subdued tans, browns, greens, stone and also eye-catching reds. The good news is, that a stylish and top quality jackets are also available from more affordable manufacturers and suppliers and the quality invariably can differ dramatically.