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Clothing October, 16 2013

Trend Report Fall/Winter 2013: Bomber Jackets

As with all the trends covered in this series, we’re not here to bring you the most cutting edge trends before they’ve barely reached the horizon; worn by that one person at New York Fashion Week and captured by a million street style photographers. No, we’re just here to explore the depth of certain trends that have been particularly prevalent in Fall/Winter 2013 collections and show no signs of leaving any time soon.

The bomber jacket is the perfect example of this. Although it may have been with us for a minute – the history of which we charted thoroughly in our Back to School feature – its evolution has seen it arrive at a silhouette which has quickly become a ubiquitous wardrobe staple, arriving in every fabric and print possible, from high-end to high street and from gender to gender. It’s made a departure from its origins as an item of military uniform, where it was commonly known as the “flight jacket,” and is now probably more strongly associated with streetwear brands.

Brands like BAPE, Stussy and Supreme have all produced recent collaborations with the heritage American outerwear brand Schott NYC, creating their take on the MA-1 bomber jacket. It’s a smart move for a garment that has quickly been eroded of its original design concept – partnering up with a heritage brand like Schott NYC gives the brand a solid platform to play around with. And naturally fashion houses have joined in, applying luxury fabrics, prints and techniques to a jacket that’s worlds apart from its practical beginnings.

Of course, the bomber jacket isn’t a trend that has suddenly appeared on the rails overnight, but its trajectory has brought it from the U.S. Air Force, onto the backs of skinhead subcultures, to the wardrobes of many. Where its appropriation by skinheads and the U.S. Air Force signaled particular values, ethics and expectations of behavior, it’s now an indicator of nothing more than style, taste, and perhaps an especially full wallet. When a garment has shed its original, historical connotations and become just another classic silhouette, it’s a sign that its been fully subsumed by the fashion industry – and it’s here to stay.

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