In the early 1900s, brown leather flight jackets were worn by aviator members of the military. During the second world war, they became known as “bomber jackets” and were heavily insulated and prized for their warmth. The jacket was often part of an overall uniform ensemble meant to protect bomber pilots from exposure to the extreme climate conditions found at high altitude, and sometimes incorporated sheepskin, using the intact fleece on the inside for warmth.
Leather jackets were also commonly worn by Russian Bolsheviks and were nearly a uniform for the Commissars during the Russian civil war, and later for the members of the Checka. This practice is said to have been initiated by Yakov
Antelope, buckskin, lambskin,sheepskin, and cowhide are the hides most commonly used to make leather jackets. As soon as the skin is removed from the animal at the meat processing plant, it is refrigerated, salted, or packed in barrels of brine. It is then sent to the tannery where the skins undergo a series of processes designed to preserve and soften the hides. Sewing materials such as threads,lining,seam tape,buttons,snaps and zippers are generally bought from outside vendors and stored in the garment factory.
In the later-half of the 20th century, the leather jacket—in many forms—achieved iconic status and general acceptance through an inextricable link to Hollywood. Such jackets were popularized by numerous stars in the 1940s and 1950s, including actor Jimmy Stewart who had actually commanded a U.S. Bomber squarden during World war 2 The brown leather jacket has become a fashion part of wardrobe for the Hollywood adventurer, from Garry cooper to Harrison ford in the Indiana Jones film series.
There are many more examples of iconic leather jackets worn in popular culture, such as the one worn by the T- 800 character of The Terminator films and the longer ¾ length trench coat style worn by action heroes such as Hugh Jackmon in the X-men series, and Clark kent in the superman movie series
Another example is the leather jackets worn by Brad Pitt in Flight Club, where the antagonist Tyler constantly appears with different variations of his ‘red’ leather jacket.
In most pop culture examples, the jackets are worn by people cultivating an intimidating and potentially violent or rebellious image. The tan leather jacket in particular has become very popular with the Brit pop and Indie music image and culture and is famously worn by people such as Kelly of the Stereophonic. The Punk culture also “rocks” the leather jacket with accessories such as chains, studs, cuts, and sketch designs. Many “Metal Heads” go with the Judas Priest look (black leather jacket, black leather pants, chains, and lots of metal studs)