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Introducing: Belstaff

1st January 2015 | Posted in Menswear by Ryan Gray

Heritage, passion and eclectic design; Belstaff have stood at the helm of heritage inspired outerwear for the best part of a century, with their jackets becoming a thing of fashion legend, adored in all corners of the globe for their functional, individual styling.

Tradition dictates Belstaff as a motorcycle brand- and its designs certainly depict just that.

Founded in 1924 by Harry Grosberg, Belstaff was created with the vision of providing waterproofed outerwear both men and women. Originally depicted by the ‘Phoenix Logo’, which signified the brands ability to come back time and time again with new ideas, Belstaff was first made in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, giving it an instant connection with the heartstrings of British design on British soil.

It was Grosberg’s obsession with waterproofing his designs that saw Belstaff create what is possibly one of fashion’s greatest achievements. As the very first company in the world to use what would later be commonly known as waxed cotton, Belstaff made their jackets using this material-which proved to be breathable and totally waterproof.
Made of a very fine Egyptian cotton and treated with natural oils, waxed cotton was at the very height of garment technology at the time, making Belstaff an instant innovator.

The 1930’s saw Belstaff take another applaud as fabric innovators, despite their relatively young age. By producing technical garments that were water, wind and friction proof, Belstaff supplied new markets- with their jackets being worn on the back of pilots, soldiers, horse riders and huntsmen; whilst the labels affiliation with motorcyclists was firmly kept in pristine order.

It was this intimate relationship that Belstaff had with motorcyclists around the world that to the brand gaining such a huge reputation. Perhaps the most famous style, the Trialmaster  jacket was a huge hit for Belstaff riders.
Throughout its history it has undergone a number of alterations and face-lifts, but the basic recipe of a belted waist, four-pocket design with adjustable neck and cuffs has stuck.
Worn by the great King of Cool Steve McQueen, and famous competition riders Sammy Miller and Bud Ekins, the Trailmaster has become a legend of the outerwear scene, with 50’s and 60’s version become highly collectable.

The success of the Trialmaster is still ongoing, but was closely followed in 1943 by the Belstaff Black Prince Motorcycle Jacket, which still stands as the best selling waterproof jacket of all time, after being in production for almost 40 years.

The 1990’s saw a time of great struggle for Belstaff. Recession hit and the UK textile industry instantly suffered. The site where Belstaff had been making it’s jackets from since 1924 closed, and it seemed to all that the brand had died- however, a few people loyal to the brand refused to see its legacy slip into history.
Production was shifted to Wellimborough, and the creative design aspects of the brand were given to Franco Malenotti- a motorcycle inspired designer who had a deep understanding and passion for the label.

Production was cut down, and the brand rescaled. Belstaff lived on, but was producing in limited numbers, instantly boosting their already considerable exclusivity.
Production marched on, and Belstaff continued to innovate, launching a whole host of new materials and designs as production gradually grew and the brand returned to its former position as a stalwart of British style.

With a production that is still largely based around 100% natural materials, the quality behind a Belstaff jacket has not changed since its early days, helping the iconic brand to maintain its huge and fiercely loyal army of fans.

From small beginnings in Stoke-on-Trent, to the backs of some of the world’s most famous motorcycle enthusiasts and into the wardrobes of some true A-list stars, Belstaff has taken then journey to the top in its stride.

From brand ambassador David Beckham, to Brad Pitt and George Clooney, Belstaff has the heritage, quality and timeless heritage to inspire looks that carry the same go anywhere attitude that its early counterparts carried.

Notorious as a contributor to much more than fashion, Belstaff even has its own charity- “Belstaff Charity- Not On Our Watch” has furthered Belstaff’s reputation for a truly individual approach to all that life brings- bringing with it a cult style that has hugely historical relevance to the fashionable world and beyond. 

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