Vintage History
MOTORCYCLE JACKETS

Motorcycle Jackets came about in the early 1900’s. Jackets used for motorcycle riding in the 1920’s and 30’s carried a design more similar to aviator or military style jackets with a button front closure and short mandarin style collars. Brown goatskin styles were very popular with a short styling and fitted waist. Many of these styles emulated the characteristics of the A-1 Military Jacket worn by the Army Air Corps. Another style with a button front coat were constructed with thick horsehide. Horsehides in the 1920’s and 30’s were abundantly available as they were extensively used by both the military and farmers during this period.

The initial development of the motorcycle jacket began with Companies like Schott which opened in 1913 and began producing motorcycle jackets during the 1920’s. Harley Davidson also was an early manufacturer of fielded quality leathers starting business in 1910. In the 1940’s the “Cycle Champ” for men and the “Cycle Queen” for ladies were the epitome of style and function during that era. The D-Pocket shaped design on the Harley Davidson jackets was also used by other manufacturers such a Buco, Hercules, Langlitz Leathers and Lewis Leather. This was a popular 1940’s design element that carried over in the 1960’s with the Sears Oakbrook Model. Another old style design incorporated a storage pocket in the back accessed by a zipper opening on the left side. However this design element was eventually eliminated because of cost considerations due to the need to mass produce this increasingly popular product.

Further design changes were made in order to mass produce these jackets for non motorcyclists who bought them in the early days of rock and roll in the 1950’s and 60’s.

Influencing some of these design changes during this era were things like the Seminal influence of Marlon Brando’s motorcycle jacket in the movie “The Wild Ones” in which his double breasted “one star” Schott Jacket became the norm for these jackets at that time. Many other manufacturers followed suit and added another star to the epaulet.

Over the last few decades Motorcycle Jackets have taken on a wide variety of fashion details both for motorcycle enthusiasts as well as those simply interested in trendy streetwear.