You don’t hear much about biker culture as an influence on modern day designers, partly because the references are hard to name. John Varvatos usually gets a few references to The Wild One, but that’s like tracking British suiting back to James Bond. The look had to come from somewhere…
Rin Tanaka’s Harley-Davidson Book of Fashions gives a pretty good explanation of where. Covering the 1910-1950, Tanaka tracks the evolution of the bike from a useful novelty to a badge of outsider status, along with 40 years worth of bike helmets, any one of which would be enough to get a fledgling designer noticed.
With gas prices showing no signs of slowing, we may be on the cusp of a scooter renaissance, so the book couldn’t have come at a better time. It may not have our favorite biker jacket, but it’s got more inspiration than anything we’ve seen on the racks lately.