The first time the MA-1 bomber jacket appeared on the shoulders of fighter pilots was in 1950. In that same year, Stevie Wonder was born, TV sets became affordable for the masses, and James Dean got his big break from appearing in a Pepsi ad. The Converse MA-1 Zip 'Quilted' Suede Pack directly references that iconic era, building on what the label's Military Zip Collection first started with its release this summer and paying homage to the menswear style staple that is the MA-1 jacket and the military tradition.
Foot Locker and Converse have teamed up to for the Converse MA-1 Zip 'Quilted' Suede Pack's exclusive European release. Arriving in two full blocked colorways of Wheat or Surplus Green, it features premium weather-ready suede on the upper and patch, and a statement zip fastening on the tongue. Pushing the rugged military aesthetic further, the tapered collar for the ankle is replaced with a premium quilted fabric, using military-standard Cordura material for insulation and authenticity. To finish, round hiking laces give a nod to the functionality of mid-20th century military footwear.
Back then, air force pilots ensured that even their planes had attitude. In an era of painted B-52 nose-tips, pilots and ground staff were unknowingly being kitted out in garments that, through either the black market or legitimate army surplus sales, ended up becoming style classics. From the MA-1 jacket to the M-51 fishtail parka, they became sartorial staples of the 20th century that carried through past the millennium.
Converse takes that heritage and works with military design principles, such as a preference for pared-down design, to produce a sneaker with a distinct silhouette. It is both streamlined and functional; an eye-catching statement as much as it is a hardy piece of kit ready for the elements. Take a look at our exclusive editorial shots, shot using 35mm film, above.
The Converse MA-1 Zip 'Quilted' Suede Pack in Wheat or Surplus Green drops exclusively at Foot Locker stores in Europe this week.