We are far from the only ones who love the iconic leather jacket in the UK. However as much as we’d like to take credit for its inception, we as a nation cannot factually claim to have had a hand in it. We can however foster a quiet satisfaction over; in the creative and idiosyncratic spirit of the United Kingdom; very much making it our own.
The actual origins of the leather jacket are hazy, and lie somewhere in the battlefields of WW1 where the German military were the first to adopt the material for their uniforms, or with the Russian Bolsheviks; worn by commissars during the Russian civil war, or maybe with American fighter pilots. They can fight that one out. Either way the tough and resilient nature of leather was perfect to protect the military from the harsh conditions they faced. What we can all agree on, is that it was Irving Schott who invented the iconic leather motorcycle jacket as we know it.
Fast forward to where we caught on – we were late to the party on this one – and we can once again thank The Beatles for making us cool, and for knicking the idea and bringing it home. In 1960 on a trip to Hamburg (before Brian Epstein polished them up in tailored suits) the Beatles were heavily influenced by a group of young German Existentialists, who cut their hair with full fringes and wore black leather jackets and coats. The band began to adopt a similar look; each buying cheap leather bomber jackets. Apparently this decision wasn’t made purely in the name of style. In his biography; ‘Beatle!’; Pete Best writes “We had sweated so much into our clothes on stage they were falling apart. We needed something we could play in and walk around in, live in”, and so the hardy leather jacket came to England.
Later on in mid 1970’s London, Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren opened their shop ‘SEX’ on Chelsea’s King’s Road. The shop was a beacon of the antiestablishment spirit that defined the Punk movement; championing the DIY aesthetic of Punk with tough leather biker jackets combined with traditional tartans, bondage wear and pornographic imagery. Sid Vicious, bass guitarist of the McLaren managed Sex Pistols, is credited with popularising the personalised biker jacket; sparking a wave of leather jackets customised with studs, zips, paint, patches, rips, armbands, spikes and political slogans…among other things. This was when the renowned British creative spirit first took hold of our beloved leather jacket, and it’s kept a firm grip ever since…
We love a leather jacket in the UK
A substantial element of our business to this day is our bespoke service. Our clients come to us with an abundance of exciting bespoke commissions; ranging from the perfectly cut cafe-racer jacket with military-specific pocket requirements (we know how it is with men and their pockets…) to a sweeping, full length, woman’s duster coat in burgundy lamb suede, to a navy python skin smoking jacket. We love the initial consultation stage where we and the customer pool our collective creative ideas and discuss all the options available to achieve the perfect design, and how this can evolve through fittings and further consultation. The inspiration we get from our clients day to day is one of our greatest sources of satisfaction, and we feel pretty fortunate to get to include ourselves in such an innovative bunch of leather jacket loving individuals.