There has been a connection between high end fashion and airplanes since the beginning of aviation. Air travel, charter flights and pilots have had a practical influence on fashion, as fashion in the aviation industry has always been about functionality. Aviators were exposed to the elements, hence the creation of sensible fashion items to protect them. From the wristwatch to the bomber jacket, from conventional to bold, we take a look at how aviation has influenced today’s fashion.
Amelia Earhart’s Influence
Amelia Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. At the beginning of her career she had to wear aviation suits that were designed for men and poorly fitted women. Looking to prove that women didn’t have to fit into the role that was expected of them at the time, Earhart created a clothing line that included 25 outfits, with each clothing item having Earhart’s distinct signature in black writing overlapping a red plane (History, 2017). Her tailored, gender neutral style had a powerful effect on women’s fashion, influencing the ‘flapper’ and ‘new woman’ look. While today, Earhart is known as an aviator who defined history, she also changed the way women dressed in aviation, having a ground breaking and eccentric influence on fashion still worn today.
Aviator Glasses – Ray Bans
In the First World War, Pilots wore big, bulky goggles to protect their eyes from the freezing cold, as well as from wind and dust. However, as technology evolved, and windows were installed, pilots no longer needed to protect their eyes from the outside temperatures, but instead, the sun. The glare of the sun at high altitude proved highly damaging to the eyes, and after aviator John Macready hurt his eyes while flying, he knew something had to be done. After contacting Bausch and Lomb, ‘Anti-Glare’ glasses were created with dark lenses that were extra large to reduce glare. With a slight name change to what we now know as Ray Ban Aviator glasses, Ray Ban Aviator’s are known today as some of the most popular style of sunglasses. Over the years, the glasses developed even more with mirrored lenses and higher levels of coating to reduce sun exposure. After almost 80 years, having been influenced by pilots, the Ray Ban Aviator remains one of the most iconic accessories in the world.
U.S. Fighter Pilots – Bomber Jackets
Another pilot-influenced fashion item is the bomber jacket. The MA-1 flight jacket made it’s service debut in the United States Air Force in 1950. The sleek nylon design replaced bulky jackets that were too big for modern cockpits crammed with equipment, and it was g lightweight, making it more practical year-round. The jacket was also fully functional with oversized pockets and pen slots to allow easy access to anything a pilot may need. As aviators dressed for the elements, their clothes needed to be water-resistant, warm and wind-proof, and with a short body, cuffs, a wrap-around collar and extra lining for warmth, the fighter jacket was the perfect solution. From 1950 college kids to hip hop artists in the 2000s, the bomber jacket continues to be a staple fashion item.
Louis Cartier – The Wristwatch
The wrist watch is an essential fashion accessory when it comes to both personal and business life. In 1904, Albert Santos-Dumont approached Louis Cartier with the idea of an aviation watch as he had trouble easily accessing his pocket watch while flying. He needed a solution that allowed him to effortlessly read the time without fumbling through his pocket or getting distracted while flying. Working with Santos-Dumont, Cartier designed the first wrist watch for men that could be worn and utilized while flying but was also practical for everyday life – the Cartier Santos watch. From 1911 until today, the Cartier Santos design can be found in every Cartier store.
Aviators were exposed to some of the world’s harshest elements, and as such, had very unique needs. Practical items that helped pilots to fly safely and comfortably still shape fashion as we know it. Genesis can help you experience the luxuries that have been shaped by past aviators. Fly in elegance and luxury with Genesis today.