Leather Jacket Definition: Definitions for the Clothing & Fabric Industry
 

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A
leather jacket is a type of clothing, a jacket made of leather. The jacket has usually a brown, dark grey or black color. Leather jackets can be styled in variety ways and different versions have been associated with different subcultures in places and times. For instance, the leather jacket have often been associated with bikers, military aviators, punks, and police, which have worn versions designed for protective purposes and often for their potentially intimidating appearance.

In the 20th century the leather jacket achieved iconic status. Marlon Brando's Johnny Strabler character in The Wild One (1953), James Dean as Jim Stark in 1955's Rebel Without A Cause as well as Michael Pare in the Eddie And The Cruisers film duo made leather jackets popular in United States and British youth from the "greaser" subculture in the 1950s and early 1960s. A later depiction of this style of jacket and time was "The Fonz" in the television series "Happy Days" which was produced in the 1970s but depicted life in the 1950s. The Fonz's leather jacket is now housed in the Smithsonian Institution, and the Grease movie duo has also since popularized leather jackets with their T-Birds male clique.

The leather jackets worn by aviators and members of the military were brown in color and frequently called "Bomber jackets" as seen on numerous stars in the 1940s and 1950s such as Jimmy Stewart in the 1957 film, Night Passage. While the black leather jacket fad ended in the early 1960s, bomber jackets, often with sheepskin collars, have remained popular to this day. They can be seen in the 1986 film, Top Gun.

There are many more examples of iconic leather jackets worn in popular cultue, such as the one worn by the T-800 character of The Terminator movies, in which became the main trademark of the Terminator cyborg, former WWE Wrestler Bret Hart's trademark leather jacket, leather jackets worn by members of the Black Panthers in the 1960s and 1970s, punk rock groups such as the Ramones, members of heavy metal subcultures, etc. It is notable that in most examples the jackets have been worn by people cultivating an intimidating and potentially violent or rebellious image.

There is a substantial difference between leather jackets made for fashionable purposes and for protective purposes (for activities like motorcycle riding). Leather jackets designed for protective use are safety equipment designed to protect the wearer from serious injury and are heavier, thicker, and often equipped with armor, thus becoming a very practical item of clothing regardless of the symbolism invested in them by popular culture. A leather jacket primarily designed for fashion purposes is not likely to be much use in a motorcycle accident.

The above article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leather_jacket).  1/6/06

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