10/2/09

Lewis Leathers since 1892

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Britain oldest motor cycle clothing company, began life in 1892 as a Clothier and outfitter named :D Lewis run by three brothers, Nathan, David and Michael. The company made formal clothing for the Gentlemen of London. Early in the century D Lewis began to receive requests for protecive clothing for the growing outsuits of motoring, flying and Motor-cycling, the brothers were quick to respond and duly set-up a factory for the production of leathergoods primarily, leather coats, helmets, glove and boots, and by the mid 1920s were making purpose-built racing suits for the prominent TT racers of the day. In 1929 the company was incorporated as D.Lewis LTD, 1930 saw the first use of the Aviakit trademark which was continued to use until today.
















The mid 1950's saw the rise of the teenage motorcyclist, these riders were a new breed and style went hand in hand with their lifestyle. D.Lewis were quick to cater to the needs of these new generations and in 1956 the "Bronx" Jacket was born, the rest is history.

More style soon appeared such as the Lightning, Thunderbolt and Dominator, evoquative names...



A new brand name was needed for these exciting new styles and so in 1960 the famous Lewis Leathers logo was born. Lewis Leathers saw unprecedented growth in the 1960s as the products became immensely popular with the English Rockers, this was largely due to twice monthly visits to the 59 Club where club members could be measured for jackets and these would then be brought to the club two weeks later for their eager new owner. Lewis leathers were also having great success on the race tracks of Britain and Europe as the favourite of riders such as Bill Ivy, Colin Seeley, Derek Minter, Giacomo Agostini, Mike Hailwood and many others. By the 1970s Lewis Leathers and Aviakit being Household names, the brand began to attract a new type of customers, this time on two legs rather than wheels, the "Punk" explosion in 1976 saw the leading musicians like Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon (The Clash), Steve Jones(Sex Pistols), Joey Ramone and Iggy Pop.

In 2001 Junya Watanabe of Japanese fashion house "Comme des Garçons" contact Lewis Leathers with a proposal of colaboration between the two Brands.Autumn sees Lewis Leathers jackets featured in catwalk shows across the world as Junya Watanabe premiers his 2002 collection.

Today Lewis Leathers still attract motor-cyclists and Rock & Rollers in equal numbers, all of whom appreciate the quality and style achieved in over 100 years.

A small selection of the actual collection my prefered in the middle the"Dominator"

Last week we went to the Padington Showroom in West London and met Derek Harris Owner of Lewis Leathers and Hiroyuki Maeda production manager. The showroom is like a temple or the legend continues to live, new leathers alongside the old ones, you can sit in the "Barcelona" sofa and take time to chat while you try the irresistible "Motorway" boots or jackets, that was really a good time. there's a small Photo gallery here
Many thanks to Derek and Hiro for their kindness
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