Leather fashion through the ages

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When it comes to luxury fashion staples, few garments are quite as timeless as the trusty leather jacket. A symbol and status the world over, it has been around for many decades already – and shows no signs of falling out of favour anytime soon.

The history of this fashionable material dates back to pre-historic times, where it was used for protection and warmth by Cro-Magnon Man some 50,000 years ago. Primitive man hunted animals for food and then used their skins or hides for clothing and footwear, as well as making crude tents. Leather has been embraced by the fashion world and stylish consumers alike since the early 1900s, and remains beloved of some of the industry’s most stylish icons today.

One thing is for certain; it’s been on quite a journey since then, and from colourful makeovers to unusual garments we’d rather consign to the history books forever, it’s weathered quite a few storms to retain its style status. Let’s dive a little deeper into the history of this luxury fashion must-have and find out just why this sartorial wardrobe staple remains so beloved of fashionistas and designers alike.

hen it comes to luxury fashion staples, few garments are quite as timeless as the trusty leather jacket

Military leather crept into fashion

The military and aviators wore brown leather flight jackets and subsequently set the tone for multiple generations to come. This trend moved onto the heavily insulated garment that became known as the “bomber jacket” during the Second World War, where they were worn to protect bomber pilots from the extreme, and often fatally cold, climates.

During the last half of the 20th century, these historically important garments gained unbelievable traction in the world of fashion and achieved truly iconic status through celebrities and stars in Hollywood, USA. From the late 1940s through to the 1950s, the brown leather jacket had earned itself must-have status for any film adventurer, and fast became symbolic of the very essence of cool.

Mainstream fashion

Multiple pop-cultures have made leatherwear an extension of their personal taste and style since, with icons ranging from Kate Moss to Amy Winehouse, Hugh Jackman to Vin Diesel donning versions adorned with studs and chains for a rock and roll feel – or just simply pairing their jackets with an ultra-chic pair of jeans and a crisp white shirt.

Lakeland Leather jackets are cemented in fashion-forward history as the perfect example of a timeless and practical addition to any wardrobe. Lakeland Leather has a unique and interesting origin story and it is wonderfully rare to find a company that lives by the same ethos now as it did right in the beginning. From a small, family-owned business, it has grown into a thriving company which is still owned by the same family today – and from statement pieces for the ladies to rugged jackets for the men, continues to offer a wide variety of premium leather items to suit any wardrobe.

leather jacket
A symbol and status the world over, the leather jacket has been around for many decades already – and shows no signs of falling out of favour anytime soon

Short-term leather fads in pop-culture

The 1990s saw some fashion fads involving leather which haven’t dated so well. The trend for men’s leather trousers, for example, is one we’d no doubt all rather forget!

Going back a little further, colourful leather jackets were considered one of the hottest trends of the moment. An eccentric but potent example would be Michael Jackson’s red leather jacket, which he sported both in real life appearances and in the music video for Thriller. Although not a fad that has repeated itself in the men’s fashion world, it has, however, made a reappearance in the women’s, and regularly recurs in the springtime every few years.

For the most part, however, the trend for leatherwear has gone full circle, with a return to the classic tones and simple designs that won it a legion of fashion-conscious fans in the first place.

The future of leather fashion?

It’s tricky to predict what could be next for leather, and no doubt, there are a variety of new trends yet to come. But one thing is for certain; it seems that the original and timeless leather jacket designs will be an ever-present part of fashion, albeit varying slightly to fit current tastes.

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