Pelle Pelle, the leather jacket label so good they named it twice

Pelle Pelle, the leather jacket label so good they named it twice

Pelle Pelle, the leather jacket label so good they named it twice

Reaching fame via the backs of the biggest stars of hip-hop in the 1980s, Pelle Pelle was sported by everyone from Grandmaster Flash to 2PAC. After mysteriously disappearing in 2018, could the rappers’ favourite be ready for resurrection?

With bold colours, big logos and an aesthetic that flirted with the rhinestone-studded gaudier side of respectable, there was a time when Pelle Pelle dominated streetwear. Dr Dre, 50 Cent, G Unit, Ludacris, Usher, Dave East, as well as the previously mentioned Flash and 2Pac and countless others all sported the jackets, as the luxurious leather brand went from strength to strength.

Unmistakeable designs

Started by Marc Buchanan in Detroit in 1978, in the early 80s he began to distribute his products in smaller, independent shops including City Blue in Philadelphia and Blue Jeans in New York. Shops that were used by hip-hop stars and their fans were the perfect outlets for his unmistakeable designs. Soon they were snapped up by the hottest stars and their followers. Pelle Pelle, named after the Italian for leather, peaked in 2002, with a turnover of $60 million.

The bold designs were supported by high-quality leather and the very best craftsmanship, and the brand remained strong until 2018. Then, suddenly, it disappeared.

Too mercenary

Marc Buchanan is notoriously shy. Little is known about him and there seems to be only one blurry photograph of him on the internet.

But in a rare interview with Complex Magazine, he said: “You could see it happening in the early 2010s. Different urban stores started disappearing and going bankrupt.”

Buchanan refused to allow department stores to sell Pelle Pelle. He thought they were too mercenary and he preferred his relationship with small independents.

He explained: “I remember when department stores got into the urban business and they began opening up urban departments within their stores. I looked at that and I said ‘That’s the end of it.’ When these people get on like a bandwagon, it’s over because they had no interest in it. They didn’t care or respect the customer. They’re just in it for the dollar.”

“I have a lot of people asking me to bring the line back. It’s very tempting and I will eventually do it.

“The main thing is that the end consumer is asking for Pelle. If I come back into business, it’s going to be for him.”

Who’s ready?

So, when is Pelle Pelle coming back? There are some heavy hints being dropped by Pelle Pelle’s recently reactivated Instagram account. There’s nothing available yet, and the official website is still down, but as the Insta account messaged in May: Fall ’22. Who’s ready?