The Motorcycle Jacket Throughout History

From its original beginnings as a biker’s necessity, to its position now as “city cool,” the motorcycle jacket is a closet staple that has been around for over 100 years. Here are some milestones for this world famous style.

The leather jacket can be traced back to one brand that started the look. Schott NYC was founded in 1913 by the Brothers Schott, Irving and Jack, the sons of Russian immigrants. It was in 1928 that the brand released the world’s first motorcycle jacket – named the Perfecto that they sold to Harley Davidson. This was the first motorcycle jacket that had functioning zippers, making putting it on and taking it off much easier than before.

The motorcycle jacket gained popularity in 1953 thanks to actor Marlon Brando, who wore Schott’s Perfecto in the film “The Wild One”, where he played a gang leader. This added to the jacket’s rebellious connotations. School systems throughout the U.S. actually banned leather jackets, fearful of the rebel teen stereotype associated with them. This only made them more popular!

During the “Swinging Sixties” fashion, style and political turmoil mixed together. The motorcycle jacket became a staple of the carefree youth, with musicians such as The Beatles wearing motorcycle jackets as a symbol of counterculture. Punk followed rock ‘n’ roll in the 1980s, and the motorcycle jacket had its biggest transformation of all. High fashion designers put their own interpretations on it and bands such as the Sex Pistols made the motorcycle jacket an anti-government symbol throughout the 1980s. It was often worn oversized with metal spikes and studs.

The jacket and its symbolism was softened a bit by Hollywood in the 1990s after many A-Listers started to wear them. The rise of the supermodel during this decade ushered in the era of model-off-duty style with many of them wearing motorcycle jackets for fun. The once harsh, edgy leather jacket got variations that were more streamlined, fitted, and feminized. Walter Baker created his brand in the early 90’s and took on the new wave of fashion motorcycle jackets.

Now high fashion and fast fashion have their own takes on this popular jacket, making it a versatile item that is worn by many. We offers styles in floral, pastel, and of course the classic. Today the leather jacket can pass in any situation, casual or formal so grab one today if you haven't already.

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