Biker style: motocross jackets revving up summer this year

They rule the racing track but now motocross jackets are roaring up the style charts too. Featuring patchworked leather with colourful racing insignia, motocross jackets, more commonly known as biker jackets, have become a surprising summer hit, as likely to be spotted on Lime-biking commuters as on track riders.

Last weekend at Glastonbury, Little Simz took to the Pyramid Stage in a black, red and white biker jacket emblazoned with her name. Over the four-day festival, the crowd was divided between team denim jacket and team biker.

The Austin Butler effect can also be credited with popularising the trend. In his latest film, The Bikeriders, the American actor spends most of his time in a battered motocross jacket revving around Chicago, Illinois with Jodie Comer and his biker crew, the Vandals.

The UK’s slightly changeable summer and June’s below average temperatures here have also meant people have been slow to abandon outerwear. A motocross jacket suddenly feels quite practical, as well as on trend.

Jodie Comer and Austin Butler in The Bikeriders. Photograph: Kyle Kaplan/AP

While the high street has been quick to churn out cheap fake-leather versions made of plastic, those who want an authentic biker jacket rather than one that riffs on moto motifs have been turning to vintage shops and secondhand platforms.

Depop reports a 45% surge in search since January. When the actor Nicola Peltz Beckham was pictured in Paris in February wearing a biker jacket previously worn by her mother-in-law Victoria Beckham in 2001, searches shot up 50% on eBay.

Interest continues to grow in the category while some gen Z-ers are raiding their parents’ wardrobes as they embrace Y2K’s continuing reign.

Victoria Beckham in 2001. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Natalie Hartley, a stylist and co-founder of the vintage store Chillie London, says its authentic styles from the 1990s are in high demand. They are becoming increasingly harder to find.

“We get people in every day asking for them,” Hartley says. “It’s worth spending a bit more for a classic style that has good quality leather and design that will stand the test of time.”

Butler’s on-screen jacket is also a vintage find. The film is based on a photo book by Danny Lyon, who joined the Outlaws Motorcycle Club in the late 1960s and documented the members’ lives.

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The film’s costume designer, Erin Benach, spent months poring over photos of the club before sourcing jackets from vintage markets. To give them a more worn-in look, she scoured them with sandpaper before spray-painting them with road dust.

While Little Simz’s stylist, Luci Ellis, has a collection of vintage biker jackets, for the British rapper’s debut on the Pyramid Stage she worked with the clothing brand Ed Hardy on a custom design.

“I love the different fonts, logos and colours that vintage offers but that type of ‘busyness’ doesn’t read well on stage or camera,” Ellis says. “We thought it would be a powerful look to have her name across the chest in their font.” Little Simz wore hers with a kilt-style skirt.

Hartley says it is this contrast that is key to avoid looking like a full-on biker. “The jacket is the showstopper so keep the rest of the look simple.” Vroom vroom.

The Guardian

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