With expertise in creating leather garments to be worn for racing, the company’s signature design brings a finesse and poise to the quintessential motorcycle grunge.
More than a century ago, Matchless, Britain’s oldest motorcycle brand unwittingly established the earliest iteration of biker chic with a line of leather garments meant for racing. Next season [Spring/Summer 2014], Matchless releases its first fashion collection, with Kate Moss as its face.
A father and son team—Henry, Charlie, and Harry Collier—founded Matchless in 1899 and produced its first motorcycle by 1901; on its tank, a soon-to-be recognizable, winged “M.” Along with the bikes, the Colliers created garments that offered protection to riders. By the roaring ’20s, the brand developed premiere leather to don during races and distributed its Matchless Wear Catalogue to devotees. The silhouettes nodded to trends and provided a dress code for the open road.
Marlon Brando, intoxicated by the freedom of his twin cylinder, flipped the logo upside-down in the ’50s; for spring, the “M” is right-side-up and stitched onto Moss’s sleeve. The Soho side-zip, slim-waisted Kensington, and legendary Notting Hill jackets are expertly executed in black, white, green, burgundy, and beige. Once slipped on, a rebellious attitude is sure to rub off on riders, or merely wearers in-the-know.
This feature originally appeared in Document’s Fall/Winter 2013 issue.