The history of leather jackets, as we know them, dates back to over a century ago, intertwined with aviation, military and fashion history.

Whilst leather has been used for clothing and protection for thousands of years, the more modern iteration of the leather jacket emerged in the early 1900s.  During World War I, leather jackets were introduced to provide warmth and protection for pilots flying open-cockpit planes.

The iconic A-2 leather jacket was introduced by the US Army Air Corps in the 1930s.  Originally made of horse hide with snug cuffs and waistband to keep the cold out at high altitudes.

During World War II, leather jackets became emblematic of military aviation, and were worn by pilots from various countries.  The G-1 jacket, introduced by the U.S. Navy, and the iconic shearling-lined B-3 bomber jacket were among the styles popularised during this time.  The B-3 became iconic for its association with aviation and wartime heroism.

The B-3 bomber jacket, also known as the “sheepskin bomber,” was worn by Allied pilots during World War II. It features a sheepskin-lined collar and interior for warmth, with a leather exterior.

After World War II, surplus military jackets became widely available, leading to the civilian adoption of leather jackets. They became associated with ruggedness, adventure, and rebellion, thanks in part to their association with military heroes and Hollywood films featuring actors like Marlon Brando and James Dean.

In the 1950s, leather jackets gained further popularity among motorcycle enthusiasts and rebellious youth, thanks to films like “The Wild One” starring Marlon Brando. Biker jackets, characterized by their asymmetrical zippers, studs, and patches, became a symbol of motorcycle culture and countercultural rebellion.

Leather jackets continued to evolve in the following decades, becoming a staple of casual and streetwear fashion. Designers and brands experimented with different styles, colours, and materials, leading to a wide variety of leather jacket designs to suit different tastes and trends.

Leather jackets have been worn by musicians, artists, and cultural icons, further cementing their status as a fashion staple, and essential part of many people’s wardrobes.

Browse our Collection of leather jackets and sheepskin coats, including our take on the A2, Cromford Leather’s Redford jacket.