Music and the Leather Jacket .pdf
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Music and the Leather Jacket
The relationship between the music industry and the classic leather jacket is a historic and detailed one.
Both have complimented one another over the years, setting each other’s cultural representation and
aiding in their popularity. From a local garage band performing at a small-time club or community
center, all the way to a high-end international fashion icon, everyone loves to wear leather jackets
because everyone wants to make a fashion statement. Here is a little history and insight into the world
of leather jackets and music:
The leather jacket we are talking about is the 1928 ‘Perfecto’ mens leather biker jacket created by the
Schott Brothers in collaboration with Harley Davidson, which was initially designed for aviators of WWI.
Music, however, is not where the leather jacket got mainstream attention from, neither did nay music
icon dawn the jacket first. In fact it was the legendary actor Marlin Brando who brought the tough
looking motorcycle jackets for men to the limelight with his hit movie ‘The Wild One’s’ all the way back
in 1953. Sales of jackets for men skyrocketed after the film was released. This boom in popularity
resulted in music legends such as Gene Vincent, Jim Morrison and Elvis Presley dawning the classic
jacket. Elvis, in particular, famously wore an all leather costume, including the pants, in his 1968
The Beatles also joined the leather jacket craze before their sophisticated mania days. Recently, in 2012,
George Harrison leather jacket was sold for £110,450. During the 1970’s, rock and leather jackets were
synonymous with each other. The Ramones constantly wore Perfecto in not only their live concerts but
also music videos such as the smash hit ‘I Wanna be sedated.’ The late great David Bowie often wore a
leather jacket but was also seen in a full length leather trench. It was also during the 70’s that women,
especially in music, started adopting the leather jacket and some much needed female representation in
leather’s history was finally seen. From Patti Smith and Joan Jett to Debbie Harry and Suzi Quatro. The
latter especially personified a female in the leather jacket so much so that her character in Happy Days
was given the name Leather Tuscadero.
The lather switched from the bad-attitude and bleak 1970’s to the vibrant, still bad and stylish design of
the 1980’s. Michael Jackson changed the game with his red jacket in ‘Thriller’, one of the greatest music
videos of all time! Jackson also donned leather jackets in chart shattering hits such as ‘Bad’ and ‘Beat it.’
The studded leather La Rocka look made fans go crazy all over the world when George Michael was seen
wearing it in his solo song ‘Faith.’ Llyod Johnson, the designer for historic icons such as Bob Dylan to
Keith Richards, was the one who came up with this new La Rocka look a leather jacket solely created for
rock and roll!
Music and leather jackets have evolved side by side throughout the 20th century and that is why jackets
today are considered a rock phenomenon.