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The Origin of the Motorcycle Jacket
Designer leather jackets originated in 1928 as a means of blending function and fashion. Designer Irving Schott created the first motorcycle jacket for Harley Davidson, and he took inspiration from the bomber silhouettes characterized by military pilots during World War I. As such, designer military jackets combine the best of functional characteristics with trendsetting looks that fit in on any modern runway.
Up until the point when Irving Schott created the motorcycle jacket, there wasn't any piece of outerwear available that was durable enough to stand up to motorcycle riding. Naturally, motorcyclists required extra protection from the elements and high-speed winds, and leather proved to be the perfect fabric of choice. The first motorcycle jackets also featured zippered pockets to protect items from being blown out while driving down the road.
An Icon of the 20th Century
Fans of "Grease" and James Dean can attest to the fact that leather motorcycle jackets were popularized in the 1950s as the tough-guy jacket, an icon of rebel culture. During the '60s, The Beatles embraced the look and made it popular among rock and roll fans, bringing the jacket into the mainstream.
Finally, during the 1970s and '80s, feminists embraced the look on a widespread scale, using the motorcycle jacket to assert equality. By the 1990s, supermodels sported the iconic look in their off-duty outfits, encouraging a new generation of young women to make the outerwear their own. As such, the motorcycle jacket spawned similar looks, including designer denim jackets resembling military wear.
It was at this point that high-fashion supermodels like Kate Moss opted for a more streamlined version of the once-harsh leather jacket, which influenced designers to scale back the ornate studs and excessive zippers for a more feminine appeal.
The Motorcycle Jacket Today
Despite being an oddity in those early days, the motorcycle jacket has become a mainstay among top designer collections, including Bernardo and Marc New York. No longer stuck with the rebel stereotype, leather jackets are worn in a variety of situations, both casual and formal. For anyone embracing street style and trendsetting looks, it's easy to make the leather jacket your own.
Unfortunately for rabid fashion fans, designer leather jackets are often out of reach. Leather is a high-quality, expensive material, so these looks don't come cheap. If you've been craving a designer leather jacket for ages but haven't been able to shell out the cash, thredUP is the answer you've been looking for.
Our curated selection of previously loved, like-new outerwear gives you the fashionable looks you want at a fraction of the cost. Save up to 90% off retail simply by shopping our online catalog. New looks are added weekly, so check back often! You'll wonder how you ever lived without our money-saving bargains.