Marlon Brando from "The Wild One"
Motorcycle’s and Black Leather Jackets are synonymous today, but it wasn’t always that way. A majority of the early leather motorcycle jackets were adapted from the soldiers, pilots and tank corps gear following World War I. During this time, leather jackets were associated with speed and adventure.
The early leather motorcycle jackets, worn in the 1920’s and 1930’s, were a very popular brown goatskin style with short styling, fitted waist. Many of these jackets imitated the style of the A-1 Bomber Jacket used by the Army Air Corp prior to WWII. These early jackets, were aviator or military style jackets with a short mandarin style collar and button front closure.
<span style="font-size: small;">Another popular style made from thick horsehide was a button front coat style. The horse hides were abundant available prior to WWII because the Army Calvary and most farmers used horses and provided hides from their stock to the clothing industry.
Interestingly, it was Hollywood and the movies that gave the motorcycle jacket its enduring mystique.
<span style="font-size: small;">The Leather Motorcycle Jacket reached iconic status when Marlon Brando wore one in his portrayal of Johnny Strabler's character in the 1953 movie "The Wild One", based on a short story by Frank Rooney's entitled "The Cyclist's Raid".</span>
The “Wild One” became a smashing hit due to Brando's excellent portrayal of Johnny Strabler, a juvenile delinquent gang leader who wore a leather jacket and rode a 1950 Triumph Thunderbird 6T.
<span style="font-size: small;">Two years later, “Rebel Without a Cause” staring James Dean, was released. The film and Dean’s subsequent death in an auto accident, sealed the connection, in the public mind, between speed, danger, rebellion, and the black leather motorcycle jacket.</span>
The movie’s success ushered in an era where the motorcycle and the leather jacket began to be identified with the rebellious youth, especially in America.
<span style="font-size: small;">Following the movie, the leather motorcycle jacket evolved into the rocker jacket, popularized by the rockers and greasers of the 1950’s and early 1960’s. The rocker jacket went beyond the realm of motorcycle riders. The black leather motorcycle jacket began to be associated not only with the bikers but also groups like greasers, rockers, punk rockers and metal heads.</span>
In the 1950s and '60s black leather jackets became the uniform of the wild ones -- rebels who defy the rules and conventions of society.
<span style="font-size: small;">Today we mainly see black leather motorcycle jackets as being fashionable, however they serve a much more important and practical purpose, as protective gear for motorcycle riders.</span>
Many leather motorcycle jackets are designed as safety equipment for bikers. These jackets are much thicker and heavier than the fashionable version and are meant to protect the wearer from serious injury.
<span style="font-size: small;">They typically include heavy padding on the elbow, spine and shoulder regions. Often these jackets are equipped with armor making them of immense practical use.</span>
Leather motorcycle jackets have been popular for over 60 years. Because of their classic styling and rugged construction, leather motorcycle jackets will continue to be used as fashionable apparel and protective gear long into the future.</span>
In June 2000, REV’IT! introduced the Engineered skin design concept. This represented a revolutionary new method for three-dimensional product engineering, in which the stitching seams – which represent an area of vulnerability in the event of a crash – were re-allocated to areas at a lower risk of impact. The result of this new construction method was not only a significantly higher level of protection, but also a clearly unique look and feel. With the use of exciting color combinations and different materials, the end product was simply stunning – both visually and functionally. This has made a significant mark on the motorcycle apparel industry. The Engineered skin design is dynamic and alive, and will continue to develop and improve in the years to come.