History of a trend: Leather


Few people know that the humble leather jacket was born in the First World War. First worn by the aviators as flight jackets, the tough and durable qualities of leather were perfect to protect the pilots from the harsh conditions that they inevitably faced.

Just over ten years later, the ‘Perfecto’ jacket was created in thick cut leather and worn by motorcyclists to protect them from serious accidents. The decades that followed saw the leather jacket being used as a sign of rebellion: groups such as the ‘Greasers’ from the late 1950s used it as a way to distance themselves from mainstream society and to show that they prided themselves on disagreeing with everyone and everything.

The ladies amongst you have Yves Saint Laurent to thank for the leather jacket that you’re undoubtedly wearing or buying today, as the ‘Perfecto’ jacket was adapted and showcased by the designer in a runway show which transformed the wardrobe essential from a tough, masculine style into a sleek silhouette which could be worn by girls too. By the 1980s the jackets were oversized and cropped, and in the later eras the style staple was adapted countless times.

However, leather didn’t just stop there. The 1980s and 1990s saw the rise of leather trousers, and today leather is being worn in the form of skirts, shorts, t-shirts, and even pinafores and dungarees. When the leather trend reappeared on the runway in the Dior, Topshop, Unique, Vivienne Westwood and Mulberry (to name but a few) AW13 shows, bloggers and critiques were far from surprised.

But what do the students think? With the help of a couple of friends, I’ve gathered some opinions on AW13’s hottest trend to see if it’s as popular on the runway as it is off.

Annie: ‘I love leather jackets at the moment, I think that they suit everyone and they look really hot on guys! I also absolutely adore leather dresses, especially pinafore dresses; I think they’re so easy to wear day or night with the use of different accessories. Leather can so easily toughen up any outfit and give an edgy and masculine look.’

Chris: ‘I think leather is quite hard for a girl to get right – if a girl gets it wrong then she can end up looking like she’s just stepped out of Ann Summers. For us guys I think that leather jackets are cool, they could be worn with lots of different things – but I think that’s as far as it goes! Leather trousers for a guy are a definite no.’

So, that’s what two of our students think – but what do you think? Is leather the best thing to happen this autumn, or should it only be worn by tough bikers on a road trip? For now it looks like the leather trend is here to stay, so toughen up and get your rebellious side out for this season!

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