Personally, the nonnegotiable piece I need in my closet is the right leather jacket. Seriously. I’m amazed at the ability of a classic biker style to make everything I own look ridiculously cool, so when I recently moved apartments and my beloved moto went missing (ugh, true story), I pretty much went into panic mode.
I’d been familiar with New York label The Arrivals since its 2014 launch—and had seen so many cool folks rave about its jackets via Instagram—but I never had a reason to strongly consider their products until now.
The label was founded on the tenet that supremely elevated products should exist at an honest price. That means products—offered in a variety of covetable cuts—range from $585 for a basic cut to $885 for a thick waterproof shearling. Even better, there are no physical stores, no middlemen taking their cut, and no markups.
The company was started by former architect Jeff Johnson and Kal Vepuri. I thought it wise to catch up with Johnson to talk about what really makes a classic leather jacket before I bite the bullet and buy a new one.
First of all, what should I look for when buying ‘the perfect’ leather jacket?
When buying a leather jacket, the key items to be aware of are the timelessness of both the silhouette and details. Leather jackets should be designed to last. The best are made from high quality hides, constructed by highly skilled craftsmen, and usually have a price-point to match.
What or who inspires you when you’re creating new collections?
Our first (and most important) step is a look at what’s going on outside of fashion. We draw inspiration from minimalist mid-century design for material functionality. We’re obsessed with retro, function-driven design genres such as 1960s space exploration, in which preparedness and technical necessity—along with analog details—drive design and process.
Denim designers cite Bruce Springsteen and Jane Birkin a their denim icons. You guys must have a leather jacket icon. Who is it?
Paul Newman and Charlotte Rampling are two of our ongoing style icons. While their style isn’t revered for one specific silhouette, they’re celebrated for their timeless cool and enduring individuality. Both exude a quiet confidence. It’s more about them than their clothing. This is something that’s key to The Arrivals design philosophy—we’re designing pieces that are meant to highlight, not overshadow, the individual.