Brown's Beach Jacket History

Motorcycle Jacket History




Motorcycle Jackets came into the world in the early 1900s. Jackets used for motorcycle riding in the 1920s and 30’s carried a design more similar to aviator or military-style jackets with a button front closure and short mandarin style collars. Brown goatskin styles were very popular with a short styling and fitted waist. Another style with a button front coat was constructed with thick horsehide. Horsehides in the 1920s and ’30s were abundantly available as they were extensively used by both the military and farmers during this period.

The initial development of the motorcycle jacket began with Companies like Schott which opened in 1913 and began producing motorcycle jackets during the 1920s. 

Schott Perfecto Jacket



Schott NYC, an apparel company began by second-generation Russian immigrants Irving and Jack Schott. They made raincoats then, working out of a basement factory in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and selling the finished products door to door. After fifteen years, Irving created a new type of coat intended for warmth, protection, and comfort for motorcycle riding. And so in 1928, the Schott Perfecto—named after Irving's preferred type of cigar—was first introduced.

Harley Davidson Cycle Champ Jacket



Harley Davidson also was an early manufacturer of fielded quality leathers starting a business in 1910. In the 1940’s the “Cycle Champ” for men and the “Cycle Queen” for ladies were the epitome of style and function during that era. The D-Pocket shaped design on the Harley Davidson jackets was also used by other manufacturers such a Buco, Hercules, Langlitz Leathers and Lewis Leather.

Sears Oakbrook Jacket



This was a popular 1940’s design element that carried over in the 1960s with the Sears Oakbrook model. Another old-style design incorporated a storage pocket in the back accessed by a zipper opening on the left side. However, this design element was eventually eliminated because of cost considerations due to the need to mass-produce this increasingly popular product.
Further design changes were made to mass-produce these jackets for non-motorcyclists who bought them in the early days of rock and roll in the 1950s and ’60s.


Leather jackets had been around before this, but never in the modern motorcycle style, we think of today. In terms of predecessors, heavy-duty leather flight jackets with wraparound collars, wind flaps, snug cuffs and waistbands saw use in WWI, when pilots needed exceptionally thick and durable outerwear while flying at rapid speeds and at high altitudes in open cockpits. Many of these styles emulated the characteristics of the A-1 Military Jacket worn by the Army Air Corps.

Influencing some of these design changes during this era were things like the Seminal influence of Marlon Brando’s motorcycle jacket in the movie “The Wild Ones” in which his double-breasted “one star” Schott Jacket became the norm for these jackets at that time. Many other manufacturers followed suit and added another star to the epaulette.

Over the last few decades, Motorcycle Jackets have taken on a wide variety of fashion details both for motorcycle enthusiasts as well as those simply interested in trendy streetwear.


Bosozoku Biker Gang, Japan