Leather Biker Jacket : The History and Symbolism

1) The History of Motorcycle Jacket

Emblematic and iconic in men's clothing, it is the leather motorcycle jacket.

He shares the pantheon of men's fashion with a t-shirt and blue jeans 👖. Any man's wardrobe would not be complete without a good biker jacket. When we think "leather jacket," we think directly of a specific style of coat worn by a particular type of man.

From perfecto Schott to today we will reveal you all on this iconic piece!

 Motorcycle Jacket


2) The Early 20th Century: The Biker Jacket Origin

A. Initially a Military use

Initially worn on the battlefield during the Second World War, this famous leather jacket came from afar to become what it embodies today.

 WW2 Bomber Jacket

The warmth and quality as an advantage was the perfect military uniform. Also known as the "Bomber jacket" the leather jacket was chosen for the protection and strength it gives to the army and airmen ✈️. Created in brown and then in the iconic black color that we all know, this garment has known how to cross the ages and borders to become famous.

B. Qualities and advantages

With most men's uniforms, the biker jacket spread quickly off the battlefield ⚔️. Like other timeless garments of today, the jacket has been chosen for its durability and longevity, a blend of undeniable qualities (not to mention style).

C. Irving Schott and the Perfecto

Originally Irving Schott made raincoats with his brother, but Irving had the idea of using a jacket that no other brand would make. He named it after his favorite cigar, which gave birth to the most emblematic, the NYC Perfecto leather jacket.

NYC Perfecto Leather Jacket 

A masculine silhouette and neat construction, Schott's famous Perfecto jacket quickly became a must-have for men, especially in the motorcycle community.

Irving Schott then brought his designs to the iconic Harley Davidson store. In New York City were able to get a Schott NYC Perfecto at $5.50, and yes it was cheap at the time 🤯.

Schott NYC Store

Thus the jacket has become an essential part for men and especially the spark of rebellion 💪.

3) The 1950s: The Popularity

A. Marlon Brando

It was in 1953 that the biker jacket became famous thanks to actor Marlon Brando.

In the hit movie The Wild One, he played a gang leader wearing a Schott Perfecto. The rebellious connotation of the jacket has been reinforced by this film 🎬.

Marlon Brando Leather Jacket

At that time several schools banned the wearing of this jacket because it was thought that it symbolized the culture of rebellious and harsh young people.

It was stronger than that; this jacket gives an effortlessly fresh and debonair attitude for the whole generation of young people.

B. James Dean

It was two years later in 1955 that James Jean contributed to the rebellious side of the motorcycle jacket.

This black leather jacket has become like this second skin, inseparable from the actor (Yet he never wore it in his role in the cinema)!

James Dean Black Leather Jacket

His untimely death following an accident in a Porsche 550 Spider 🏎created the immortal image of a young and rebellious style in a leather jacket.

C. Saint Laurent

The 1950s were strongly influenced by this iconic jacket, but it was in 1960 that the great fashion designers became interested. 

Yves Saint Laurent, who is in charge of design at Dior, has created a unique style of women's leather jacket in short sleeve alligator leather and fur 🐊

At the time the collection was very criticized, while now creations of this type are widely acclaimed.

Yves Saint Laurent Leather Jacket 

4) The 1960s-1970s: A symbol of Counter-Culture

A. Iconic appearances

In 1960 the biker jacket became the trademark of young and carefree people. With the Sixties scene of The Beatles and Elvis Presley or Steve McQueen's cell in another universe, the whole generation wears the jacket as the flagship of counter-culture.

Elvis Presley Leather Jacket 

B. Rock and Punk Culture

In the 1970s, rock became the music of a whole generation, with bands with grey hair, tight clothing, and guitar playing 🎸, which quickly adopted the motorcycle jacket. They were practically a mandatory uniform for all known groups and clients of the clubs where they played at the time 🎤.

Ramones Leather Jacket

People began to like the rebellious and raw style, so they turned to DIY design. Sid Vicious, the bassist of the band Sex Pistols, has contributed significantly to the popularity of the custom biker jacket. The punks had to be handymen; from a simple leather jacket, he added all kinds of spades, patch, and paint nails or even a political slogan 🇺🇸.

 Sid Vicious Leather Jacket

From Sex Pistols to Ramones and Blondie, the feeling of the free rebel in a leather jacket is becoming popular as the fresh and steady trend of the moment.

5) 1980 to Present Day

A. 80s: Top Gun

Since the 1950s, the leather biker jacket has come a long way and in 1980 became two pieces of choice and taste in wardrobes.

The design of the jackets has become more sophisticated and demanding, like the curved jacket. The Schott brand then launched its Scott NYC Bomber, which will be simplified thanks to the cinema.

In 1986 in the movie Top Gun, we see the charismatic Maverick played by Tom Cruise wearing the Schott NYC Pilot 👨‍✈️.

Top Gun Leather Jacket

B. 90s: The Fashion Industry

In the 1990s, the top model multiplied, and the majority were far from the rock and alternative style. A new wave of casual-chic fashion with models like Kate Moss has taken over the leather jacket with original and refined versions 💋.

C. Hollywood Icon

Hollywood has further democratized the leather jacket with popular actors such as Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt or DiCaprio.

Johnny Depp Leather Jacket

6) The Leather Jacket in popular culture

A. Movie & TV: An envied style

Hollywood cinemas and TV series 📺from the 1970s to the 1990s have undeniably democratized and made the leather jacket cool.

Happy Days Fonzie Leather Jacket

In the series Happy Days from the 70s-80s, we could see the Fonzi character always wearing a brown leather jacket. At the same time, there was John Travolta in a beautiful black coat, a real rock n roll look... On the movie side, the leather jacket first appeared as the accessory of the charismatic and intrepid adventurer; like Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones movies 🎞.

Indiana Jones Leather Jacket

Later on the big screens, the leather jacket created the "badass" look with, for example, Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator 🤖or the leather jackets of Neo and Trinity in Matrix with Keanu Reeves.

 Terminator Leather Jacket

Not to be forgotten are the beautiful red leather jackets worn by Tyler Durden in the excellent Fight Club 👊. 

More recently, it is in the Guardians of the Galaxy that the character of Star-Lord, played by Chris Pratt, wears a red jacket in a retro vintage style.

Star Lord Leather Jacket

B. Music: The vast Sub-Culture

The popular and still current (although old) image that a person wearing a leather jacket gives himself a rebellious or violent but above all intimidating appearance. This image came mainly from the vision of people with a classical style when punk style arrived. A lot of musical styles and sub-style has defined very particular and recognizable looks for the uninitiated 👀.

For example, a jacket with paint, nails, and spikes comes from the punk movement.

Punk Leather Jacket 

It is thanks to Rob Halford, singer of the group Judas Priest (British heavy metal 🤘), that we owe the popularization of jackets in metal. All dressed in black leather, he even borrowed the cap and whip of the sadomasochistic look in his concerts.

Judas Priest Rob Halford with Leather Jacket 

Metal players often adorn the patches of their favorite band on their leather jackets, as well as on their battle jackets. 

You can also recognize the subtype of metal represented by the accessories ⛓ or the cut of the jacket.

For example, if it comes with a bullet belt, there is a good chance, it is a Black Metal fan

 Black Metal Leather Jacket

If it is a rather long leather jacket or even a trench coat style, it is the Gothic style 🔮.

Gothic Leather Jacket

C. Rider: A Biker thing after all

We have seen and talked a lot about leather jackets created for fashion use, but it is mainly for practical application that they are adopted by motorcyclists. It is the perfect protective equipment for the road.

Biker Motorcycle 

It can be large, thick, and reinforced at specific parts of the body to ensure comfort and safety for the wearer. A fashion jacket would not protect against a fall or possible damage from a motorcycle accident. Motorcycle jackets often have practical pockets such as the famous "gun pocket" which offers discreet interior storage 🔫. There are also many zippers to allow the jacket to be adjusted comfortably. 

It protects from the cold, from injuries from falls and gives a badass look, it's definitely the best thing to buy after your bike 🏍!

Leather Biker Jacket

D. Politic and War

We have seen that leather jackets are used as a symbol of rebellion by 1970s youth and punks. But it should be noted that political action groups and some soldiers also wear them 🗡. 

In the 1960s and 1970s, members of the Black Panther Party (a violent armed African-American liberation movement) were known to wear black leather jackets and berets.

 Black Panther Party Leather Jacket

In entirely different and distant ideas, German soldiers of the Second World War wore leather jackets as a symbol of power. It was especially among officers of the Panzer Division (Tank) or the Gestapo (political police) that a black leather uniform with a medal and title was found 🇩🇪.

7) Leather Biker Jackets (Unholy Skull)

Whether you are a manly biker, a metalhead, a punk, a gothic, or just looking for Sarah Connor or the lost ark, you are in the right places! Our skeletons have found for you the best leather jackets with skulls 💀! A unique style and exceptional quality.

Our jackets are designed with a thick and solid buffalo leather. Carefully crafted to ensure a charismatic look and safety on the road during your long escapes.

The Unholy Skull team will answer all your questions, we put an importance on ensuring a customer service that meets your expectations, dear young human ☠️.

Skull Leather Jacket

Skull Leather Jacket

We have all kinds of quality leather jackets, from the iconic Skull Leather Jacket to the beautiful Indian Motorcycle Leather Jacket, this is the place to find the best. We also offer Skull Biker Vests.

Not to mention our superb jackets in vintage style 😎. 

Made with buffalo, comfortable, and practical, it is the perfect element to add to your look! 🔥

Vintage Leather Jacket

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