Early Leather Design and the Automobile

In the early days of motorcycle jacket design principals were embedded that affected both the shape and construction of leather jackets. Fashion while a componant of design was not the paramount influencing factor. Utility and quality often trumped design and flourish, which is clearly the opposite of the current trends of offshore manufacture. The best jackets often culminated in the perfect blend of practical design and flamboyant personal expression, like the agressive fierce explosion of a mating mandrill or the bright coloured dance of the peacock! This sort of colourful expression would be an example of early threatening fashion which down the line would culminate with the baggy colourful explosions of hiphop fashion and other modern trends.

The early designers often drew from what they knew. The industrial age of the plane and the motorcycle displaced the earlier cavalry of the military. The earliest protective gear made for motorcyclists and tankers parroted the practical designs of the Cavalry. Compare these early 1935 Jodphurs fashioned from wool and leather to these 1940s European motorcycle riding pants. The distinction between horseback riding and motorcycle riding was indistinguishable


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