24 June 2022
The leather jacket manufacturer from Bosnia and Herzegovina, KOTEKS, penned this short essay on the origins of the leather jacket, which began its journey as a functional garment. During World War I, leather jackets with a belt and double-breasted were worn by German military pilots as part of the uniform. They were the inspiration for what happened later. We don’t know if they were an inspiration to the North Korean
president for his famous leather coat, but that’s less important to our story.
Leather jacket from the Koteks Insoire 2022 collection
When Ford launched the Model T in 1913, two sons of Russian immigrants were searching for their American dream. Irving and Jack Schott start sewing raincoats, which they try to sell door to door. Despite the effort, the business is failing, and they are waiting for a new opportunity to realize their dream.
The opportunity arose fifteen years later when Beck Industries, then an agent for Harley-Davidson, hired Irving to design a motorcycle jacket that would withstand extreme weather conditions on the open road and mitigate injuries in the event of a fall from a motorcycle. After many searches for the ideal solution, he found inspiration in the uniform of German war pilots. He shortened it, added a zipper, named it Perfecto after his favorite cigar and – the star was born.
At the beginning of World War II, Irving created a B-3 leather jacket for the US Air Force, an improved version of the jacket worn by pilots, complemented by a sheepskin lining and a collar that could be tightened with a belt to keep warm. The jacket, you guessed it, was a complete hit. For the next few decades, he supplied the U.S. Navy with coats, the Air Force with leather bombers, and the police with motorcycle jackets. He continued to sell his leather biker jacket, but to a very select audience.
And then came 1953. A young outlaw, beautiful as sin, passed through the movie screens on his motorbike. His name is Marlon Brando and he brings to the screens the character of Johnny Stabler in the movie ‘The Wild One’ . Irresistible, fantastically handsome, the dream of every American teenager and the nightmare of their boyfriends, in a motorcycle Perfecto jacket with stars on epaulets and embroidered name on the shoulder, has become a symbol of a new culture that promoted raw masculinity.
Terrified by the wave of rebellion and boyfriends that comes bundled with a defiant attitude towards authority, the system, and motorcycle gangs, schools across the U.S. are banning the wearing of leather jackets. By the way, the North Korean president forbade ordinary citizens to wear leather coats modeled on his own because the Party determines what is appropriate to wear, and in this way the citizens, according to the president, undermine his authority.
A little later, the leather jacket is made immortal by Hollywood favorite James Dean, who died in a horrific car accident. His character remained engraved in the collective consciousness with the Perfecto leather jacket casually slung over his shoulder.
The rock’n’roll movement made the leather jacket its uniform, and so did the punk subculture. Once notorious, the leather jacket becomes mainstream. It certainly owes its popularity to its functionality, but maybe there is a tiny bit of rebellion woven into it that makes it so attractive and sexy.
The leather jacket, as we said at the beginning, with great jeans and an all-time white shirt, has become a “must have” in the wardrobe of every man who sticks to himself. This piece of clothing is so customizable that it fits almost anything. Don’t be afraid to experiment with colors. We are taught that black “goes with everything”, but do not run away from blue, burgundy or gray. You have a large selection of colors in the Koteks collection. Each of them is a great combination – in the daytime version on jeans and a T-shirt, in the evening on linen pants and a shirt instead of a jacket. And you can also put it on your partner’s shoulders, if it’s cold. Don’t run away from the option to wear a hooded sweatshirt under it, it will look great and cool. And it doesn’t matter if you’re driving on two or four wheels.
In a leather jacket every man, with a little effort and, of course, if he makes a good choice, always looks neat and elegant. Their only drawback is, if it is genuine leather, a relatively high price, but since it is not a piece that is bought every year, it is worth the investment.
When buying a leather jacket and getting ready to set aside a little more money for it, pay attention to three things. The first are the seams. If they are not neat and flat, do not buy. It is a low-quality product. The other thing is heat. Real leather is warm under the arm. If it is cold, it is not leather or it is of poor quality. And third and most important – buy from trusted manufacturers and trusted stores.
Finally, one more note. Never, but never, clean a leather jacket with leather shoe polish. These are completely different leather types.