Arguably, no other item of clothing marries the relationship between the fashion world and the music industry quite like the signature black leather motorcycle jacket. From The Ramones to Patti Smith there are few who haven’t donned the uniform of vintage leather, each with its own distinct character. Each jacket stands the test of time, they remain as memories of their owner’s career from humble beginnings in supporting slots to headlining acts as the leather motorcycle jacket reflects the music of each generation.
In Mick Farren’s 1985 book The Black Leather Jacket he describes the transparent jacket as a uniform of rebellion, a view of a generation into art, music, fashion and politics, the jacket is a window into the youth of each era. It seems the black leather motorcycle jacket becomes a symbol for sub-cultures from the evils of the world wars, the rock-a-billy 50’s to the Hell’s Angels the motorcycle jacket continues to be a staple for those that want to be heard. Each jacket holds a story of its owner, each piece encompassing the trends and cultures of its circumstances, a diary if you would of the lives of the sub-cultures that parade the black leather as a reflection of their own context.
Still the black leather jacket continues to appear, but a new set of musicians claim the right to sport the jacket long claimed by the punk and grunge cultures of music’s past and present, now you can see the cropped uniform on everyone from Metronomy’s flamboyant bass player to former From First to Last front man turned dub-electronica extraordinaire Skrillex and rarely will French dance duo Justice be seen without their signature leathers. It seems the leather jacket is a must-have for anyone who wishes to make their mark in music, not only for the band but for the muse and more often than not the fan and music enthusiast alike. Arguably the best reflection of music, art and the muse is the eternal bond between musician and poet Patti Smith and photographer and artist Robert Mapplethorpe, as their continuous cycle of muse and artist between the two, Patti with her Mick Jagger locks paired with her leather jacket and Robert rarely photographed without his signature motorcycle leather from their days at the infamous Chelsea hotel.
Today the girls raise the flag for music’s fashion essential, Alison Mosshart paired with her favourite Sass & Bide jeans owns her black leather especially alongside her Kills partner in crime Jamie Hince. The ultimate display of fashion and music you could say is our generations’ new breed of groupie; Kate Moss whose stellar modeling career and marriage to Hince accompanied by their leather jackets perfectly depict the status the jacket can have at the center of the relationship between two of the greatest expressions of culture; music and fashion.
The black leather motorcycle jacket the diary of the musician, the muse and the fan, fashions contribution of expression that has managed to stick through fads, trends and cultures from those that don’t need an introduction like Alice Cooper to those taking on the fashion industry by force with the likes of Aussie model Bambi Northwood-Blyth. The leather is here to stay, so make it black, vintage if you please and add your own detail, for summer pair the wardrobe essential with a summer dress combining beach days into city nights with more than just a jacket.
Kate Moss For Topshop Leather Jacket - $349.95 US
Vintage Leather jackets From Cream - $ Varied
Rosie Cut Out Combat Boots - $258
Karen Walker Harvest Sunglasses - $349
Noveau Embroidery V Back Shift Dress in Cream - $320
Bassike Slim Fit Shirt - $200
Fox Necklace - From $69.95
Neuw Girls Marilyn Skinny-Sharp-Indigo Jeans - $159.95
Nars Lipstick in Afghan Red - $39