Thursday, June 19, 2008

Why American Styles dominate Euro Styles: Metrosexuality

A Frenchman friend of mine got mad at me today and complained "what about European vintage clothing?" I had to explain to him that in my opinion there was no such thing!!! He was quite offended...what about Chanel, Dior etc....I replied this is not clothing. Clothing of the street or the basic designs we all wear were not created by Dior or Chanel. Modern work and street wear produced in the modern industrial age were in fact developed in America. The great brands of the 20th century flourished in the New World while Europe was embroiled in WW1 and WW2. North America rose as an industrial superpower, untouched by the wars there was time to develop the new styles synchronous to the new needs of a new age, and with new machines to produce them. My thesis that the best tailors of Europe, mostly of Jewish backgrounds fled to North America and built the modern clothing of today. While Dior et al may have created fashion haute, the major impact of modern clothing was worn and designed for the street. That being said, there are distinct differences between European styling and North American. Compare this Nazi jacket to the American A-2. While menacing, the Nazi jacket is somewhat ornate and fussy, starkly contrasting the simple functionality of the a-2. Shall I say metrosexual vs masculine. While quite scary, this fussiness exists in European styles today, and the masculinity that built the American clothing industry is sadly disappearing.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bomber Command and Motorcycling: Two Gangs One Story

Check out the Wolf Sportswear two tone motorcycle jacket! Does something seem familiar. The amazing effect of the end of World War Two was a mass return of thrill shocked dissillusioned men who returned from the terrifying dangerous missions of Europe, Asia and Africa to relatively dull living in America, despair and unemployment. These young men became the modern day rebels of the late 40s and 50s. With the action of the war over they found themselves with out the comradeship of their sqaudrons often swapping the seat in a bomber command or fighter, for a motorcycle and buddies who knew them in action. These men took the paintings of their bomber groups which were influenced by the carefree and often cynical characters of animation. Animations that often acknowledged and entertained more real themes then the news of the day. This customization carried over to club jackets of the forties and fifties. This white and black jacket is a classic example of this kind of theme and expresses absolute rebellion. The loud colors and threatening studs served a dual purpose; to make one visible on the bike, and like modern day punkers, to say fuck you to everyday fashion by being as noticeable and dangerous looking as possible!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Chills, Thrills and Rare Jackets

Ok, so every once and a while I don't actually feel like posting. I'm down in the dumps after a hard week of not selling enough, and not having my phone calls returned. So just when I'm feeling about as low as I can...I jump on Ebay and BAM!!!!! My heart flutters as I view some of the holy grail of leather jackets. In front of my eyes an incredibly rare Leathertogs 1930s size 46 brown motorcycle jacket of the type worn in the movie serial Buck Rogers!!! If you ever want to see beauty in leather, this mint condition jacket still has the patina of its newish state, and on top of that, a sweet 50s Buco riding shirt and a 1950s Grais casual wear jacket....I had chills, now if I only had 4700 dollars to buy the leathertogs that would make one very happy schamta boy in Toronto!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Grais Leather a Chicago Landmark

Rubin Grais, an immigrant Jew from Russia came to the United States to start a new life. His skills as a shoe maker created a foundation from which sprung forth Grais Leathers, one of the iconic leather jacket manufacturers of the 1940s and 1950s. Mr. Grais transformed his skills in shoes and vests into a wartime contract maker. Grais produced every type of jacket, this beauty was a classic horsehide from the forties. Sportswear with Grace!!! I will post more of the history of Grais through the coming months.