Introducing: A History of Belstaff

Written by Robert | 20/01/2014

From equestrian to aviation, Belstaff has established itself as an elite brand through its sporting past.  The classic Belstaff jacket has become popular with celebs and fashionistas alike, but the intricate textile innovations in its design were created with motorbikes in mind.

The company has gone from strength to strength since its formation in the 1920’s and now boasts a worldwide customer base, eager to get their hands on the latest Belstaff jackets. The name is synonymous with motorcyclists in accordance with their aim of producing outerwear which is wind and rain proof but also very tough wearing. This association is perhaps taken from the early 1930’s when champion motorcycle racer’s Sammy Miller and Phil Reid were known to wear jackets which now inspire models such as the popular Belstaff Trialmaster jacket.

The essence of the brand is captured acutely in the following portrayal given by Vogue Magazine: “Infused with a spirit of adventure, Belstaff’s history is more Steve McQueen on a BSA motorbike than English gent in a trench coat and bowler hat.”

Diversity Through the Generations

Formed in 1924,  by the 40’s the brand had hit Hollywood, with the late great Steve McQueen a known admirer and proud owner of Belstaff outerwear. The famous Prince Jacket was associated with this period of time, and McQueen can be seen sporting such a jacket in “The Great Escape”- a film in which he plays the starring role.

Rich in tradition and quality, Belstaff have shown like any lasting and great designers of clothes that they are diverse and always strive to better themselves. The iconic Roadmaster jacket was created in the 70’s and is another jacket which still sells out today in its latest incarnation.

In the Modern Day

Belstaff’s Harry Slatkin, and the Labelux group planned to transform the brand whilst maintaining its great heritage and opened new flagship stores, namely Belstaff London on New Bond Street followed with New York and Milan to front this initiative.

Harry Slatkin said: “Our vision is clear: we look forward to taking this great British brand and establishing it as a global lifestyle leader”.

The Labelux brand are a luxury goods group who boast associates such as Tommy Hilfiger- famous for his own brand- as well as Mr Slatkin who is known for his global home fragrance company. The edition of Belstaff to the family is sure to increase its profile and the plans were summarised by CEO, Reinhard Mieck: “I am delighted to welcome Belstaff into the LABELUX Group. I am particularly honoured that such recognized industry leaders as Harry Slatkin and Tommy Hilfiger will be working with Belstaff. Their wealth of industry knowledge, as well as direct experience in developing leading international luxury goods brands, will be invaluable as we realise Belstaff’s considerable potential.”

The recent launch event for the aforementioned London store provided a snapshot of the company in the present era, with David Beckham himself there to draw in the crowds.

David Beckham epitomises the clientele Belstaff design their clothes for, saying: “I began wearing a lot of Belstaff a few years back when I started riding bikes. I actually found my first [Belstaff jacket] when I was shopping in a vintage store, funnily enough, about six or seven years ago and I still wear that when I’m riding”.

Adding: “I love being able to work with great brands with a lot of history and when they are British brands it’s even better.”

Shop the latest range of Belstaff jackets and coats available on Mainline Menswear here.

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