Today it is difficult to see a biker not clothed in leather from head to foot. Why do bikers love this material so much? How did one of the most important symbols of the biker movement, a leather jacket, come about? We will try t answer these and some other questions in this article.
The History of a Biker Jacket
The inventor of a leather jacket of a familiar to us style was Irving Schott who in the 1920’s came up with a concept of clothes for motorcyclists. However, such design gained greater popularity only two decades later. During World War II, a leather jacket was the only pilots’ protection from the cold and wind since the aircraft building was not so advanced. At high speeds cockpit was greatly blown. Thick leather with lining did not let the wind penetrate and a loose design of the jacket’s back gave freedom of movement. Aviators’ jackets also had a narrowed waist, adjustable sizing, and a skew zipper. Today, such jackets are known as bombers.
After the war veterans settled in quiet towns, bought motorcycles (especially popular at that time were Harleys) and began to create biker clubs. The coolness of leather, comfort, and a militaristic look allowed a leather jacket to become a symbol of bikers.
The Rock Influence
Further, a leather jacket migrated from the world of bikers to the world of music. Thanks to musician this piece of clothing received tremendous popularity throughout the world. The first person to wear this outfit on stage was the King of Rock’n’Roll Elvis Presley. It is even said that sometimes he embellished his jackets with rivets made of precious stones.
In 1970-80 epic rock-monsters adopted leather outfits for their wardrobes. The first punks such as Ramones and Sex Pistols couldn’t pass by badass jackets either. Of course, they modified a bomber jacket to blend into their style better. Since then chains, rivets, spikes and other embellishments became indispensable elements of rockers’ image. Meanwhile, the popularity of leather grew like a snowball and heavy-metal rockers like Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeath, Accept, etc. began flaunting in leather outfits. Even the new wave bands such as Depeche Mode couldn’t resist the appeal of leather clothes.
A leather jacket gave impetus to the occurrence of other elements inherent in the biker culture. Leather vests have become very popular as well. Their appearance and distribution is attributed to the Hell Angels Motorcycle club who preferred to plaster their colors on vests instead of jackets. Further, this practice has spread out among other biker clubs and individual bikers.
Along with outerwear, leather is widely used for making pants. In terms of popularity, biker leather pants can compete with jeans. However, the former are much more practical, they do not get wet, do not absorb machine oil or gasoline, leather stretches and it is breathable. In addition, it looks manlier so to say.
Finally, leather has become an integral material for crafting biker accessories. What a cool biker can do without an equally cool biker wallet? Made with all the needs of these tough men in mind, biker wallets are not just another container for the money; they are rather a thing that can tell the story of its owner. Often such products bear the symbols inherent in biker culture, as well as various decorations such as rivets, embossing, embroidery, clasps, etc.
None of the biker pants can be imagined without a proper belt. Made very durable, they are able to serve their owner for many years. And massive silver buckles are capable of bringing a touch of individuality.
Finally, many pieces of biker jewelry are made of leather. In general, leather and metal are materials number one for manufacturing ornaments for badass men on motorcycles. Bracelets, necklace straps, wallet leather chains – all this biker jewelry is traditionally made of leather.