Sons Of Anarchy: Biker Jackets are Back

Roaring Into View: How Sons Of Anarchy Brought Back The Biker Jacket

Sons Of Anarchy: Biker Jackets are Back

23rd August 2019


A sunset. A chain of hungry motors. The wind in your hair and your life on the line. As Sons of Anarchy proved, the classic American badass is still on the road. For seven seasons, Kurt Sutter’s drama made us want to make a bandana out of the nearest washcloth and jump on a Harley, waving goodbye to regular bathing.

And sure, the biker jacket has never really gone away. But SoA brought it back into the mainstream, with scene after scene of cool posturing in the headlights of a chopper. Five years after the series came to an end, we want to celebrate what Jax, Clay, Opie and the gang did for such a style staple.


Where the biker jacket was in 2008

By the time SoA premiered, there was a lot of biker fashion in the rearview mirror.

We only need to look at the golden days of the 1960s West Coast – the easy ridin’ leather era, when these jackets became the equivalent of a cowboy suit for people who wanted to be free and reckless.

Then there was the heavy rocker takeover in the 1970s. As bands like Led Zeppelin, The Ramones and Blondie took the leather look for themselves, we saw another kind of outlaw.

A decade later, leather exploded into the fashion world. But biker jackets had found their niche audience and stuck to it – either loud (usually male) music fans, or actual bikers. When metal or punk bands did manage to break into the charts, the biker jacket was back on style watch for the masses.

In the 2000s, the biker jacket was unfortunately – whisper it – a little antiquated. People weren’t as inspired by it. Then, on September 3rd, 2008, FX debuted a show that would go on to hit a peak viewership of 4.9 million. SoA had arrived, and it wasn’t going to let this jacket bite the dust.


“I promise, always, to cherish and protect you… and treat you as good as my leather”


As soon as Ron Perlman and Charlie Hunnam swaggered on to our screens, we knew this was a world on a knife’s edge – the kind of TV universe where anything can happen, and thinking too much gets you killed.

And the outfits were just as captivating. Remember Jax chasing Opie in the hearse? When Ryan Hurst is soaring down the highway, his hair streaming like a firework trail? The jacket couldn’t make him look like more of an avenging angel. You’ve got the Sons logo. The double stitched backing. Zipped sleeves. In other words, he dressed like someone you just wouldn’t screw with.

Whenever the leather was on, you knew something serious was going down. Take the cartel raid from season four, for example. Clay, Bobby, Trig and Jax looking killer in the glare of full sunlight, with leather vests paired with white and black shirts.

The patches add personality too. SoA taught us that ranks are sown into the clothes worn by each gang member, making them more like a military statement than a buffer against high winds on the road.


Biker jackets aren’t just for show. They’re a suit of armour and a source of pride. Representing American tradition, on Memorial day you will find tens of thousands of bikers descend on Washington DC to recognise military men and women.

This style is still breaking expectations across the US, both for men and women.  We doubt this fashion piece will ever be stuck in first gear again. They’re also a key element of so many awesome moments of the TV series.



Photo by Vanessa Serpas on Unsplash