Fusing fashion & function
Leather jackets are more than a style choice - they also protect the wearer
Yes, wearing a leather jacket in humid and sunny Singapore can be a recipe for heatstroke.
But a leather jacket may not be a bad idea after all on cooler nights.
It is hard to ignore leather's flexibility and superior anti-abrasive qualities.
There are video clips on the Internet showing motorcycle leather jackets - those with a thickness of 1 to 2mm - surviving better than lighter, textile jackets in simulated crashes.
When dragged, leather surfaces get scuffed while textile surfaces, which are not lined with aramid fibres, will simply disintegrate. It takes a lot to destroy leather.
Now, if you're eyeing that "second skin", here are three current leather jackets available in Singapore.
DAINESE SUPER RIDER PERFORATED LEATHER JACKET
Italian apparel maker Dainese has taken its experience in motorcycle racing - where crashes are spectacular and common - and adapted it to safety wear for street riders.
The design and colour scheme for the Super Rider are naturally loud.
You will first notice the external armour like the aluminium inserts on the shoulder and elbow.
There's also a replaceable plastic elbow slider.
Internal protection comes in the form of the usual CE-certified elbow and chest guards.
To keep you cool, the upper and lower torso of the jacket is heavily perforated.
Flexibility is achieved by using bi-elastic fabric on the front portion and along the inner arms of the jacket.
$1,299. Available at JR Pte Ltd.
HARLEY-DAVIDSON VINTAGE LEATHER BIKER JACKET
They have been worn by greats like James Dean, Marlon Brando and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The classic leather jacket is making a comeback, say observers.
You can attribute its return to the rise of lifestyle-type motorcycles rather than performance-driven bikes.
Here, timeless style is valued over technical prowess. Zips and buttons help break the black monotony.
Inside, there are compartments for shoulder and elbow pads.
Harley-Davidson's take on the biker jacket has unique features like padded elbow and shoulder regions, reminiscent of jackets commonly used by British riders in the 1960s.
The leather is distressed to look old, but it is all new and supple to the touch.
An embroidered Harley-Davidson logo on the right sleeve lets the wearer show their allegiance.
$849. Available at Harley-Davidson Singapore.
ALPINESTARS PHANTOM LEATHER JACKET
This is for riders who demand full protection and subtlety.
The Alpinestars Phantom leather jacket retains the technical solutions found on most racing suits but its colour offerings are muted with choices in black and tan.
A complete host of body armour, both externally and internally, feature on this jacket, including an aerodynamic hump at the rear of the jacket.
To add flexibility, Alpinestars uses elastic fabric along the inner arms and the area near the waist.
Elasticated leather panels around the elbows and the rear of the shoulders reduces "stiffness" when a rider crouches behind a motorcycle's windscreen.
Reflective strips are located on the jacket's shoulders and back. Padded panels on the lower torso and lower back are fully ventilated.
$942.24 after a 30 per cent discount. Available at Racing World.
Taking care of leather jackets
Occasionally use mink oil to keep the leather soft and to retain its water-resistant qualities.
If you are caught in a heavy downpour, dab the leather jacket with cloth.
It is best to air dry it. Do not expose a wet leather jacket to direct sunlight or a hair dryer. Doing so will stiffen the leather and make it prone to cracking.