Can a leather jacket make you cool? Let’s dive deep into this.
We all know the history of the leather jacket and if you’re short on your history lessons – here’s a very brief leather timeline. Leather jackets arrived as military-wear and carried over into post-world war fashion as a work wear staple. They kept you warm. They kept you safe when you crashed your motorcycle. They held your stuff. Irvin Schott’s foresight thrust the jacket into motorcycle culture by selling his jackets in Harley Davidson dealerships. Leather designs evolved over the years – 1930’s jacket cuts are recognizable as are the 1950’s, 60s, 70s, 80s etc. Many leather designers actually started out making shoes and boots and were able to capitalize on the huge market boom for leather jackets.
We will argue that the leather jacket is the single most importantly appropriated garment that the fashion world has ever seen. No other piece of wearable anything has been given so much attention, veneration, fame and exposure as the simple leather jacket. Everyone – movie stars, musicians, sports personalities, models, politicians and activists all wear them. And they’re all cool.
Herbert Huncke? Very Cool. (Oh, Google him!)
Muhammed Ali? Cool.
Debbie Harry? Cool.
Kate Moss? Cool.
Calvin Klein? Cool.
Alexander Wang? Cool.
Bill Clinton? Well…. Leather jacket/saxophone cool.
(Barack and Hillary wear them, too.)
Etc. Etc. Etc.
You see, the leather jacket is multiple things. While there certainly is no magical leather coat that provides super hero like protection or invisibility, there is however an edge, a degree of protection that comes with that stitched and zippered jacket that will however, give you a cool attitude.
Undoubtedly, the jacket is insulation. Leather jackets imply protection from danger, from the harshness of fast life. After all, they were introduced to keep soldiers safe in battle and evolved to protect battles on stage and screen and the streets. So while the piece itself is just a jacket, what it embodies and represents with it’s history and exposure is without a doubt, very, very cool.