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The historical dispute between Highwayman and Lewis Leathers

by May club 11 Apr 2016 0 Comments


(Left: Highwayman 70's "Mania", right: Lewis Leathers 70's "Lightning")

Since we introduced Addict Clothes, many friends have come to talk about the issue of British leather jackets. In fact, there are not many brand choices for British leather jackets in Taiwan compared to American leather jackets, so the historical knowledge promoted is not comprehensive enough. Of course, the main reason is that American motorcycle leather jackets developed earlier than British knight leather jackets, and the more representative brands that survive to this day, the more people discuss them.

To put it simply, in the 1950s, most British young people still wore American leather jackets due to the influence of the movie The Wild One starring Marlon Brando. It was not until the 1960s that the United Kingdom truly developed its own British style. Leather clothing styles range from the old Highwayman, Lewis Leathers, TT Leather, Rivetts, Belstaff, Kett, Wolf Leathers, etc., to the glory days when many unknown small brands have sprung up, among which the more famous ones are Highwayman and Lewis Leathers.

Elizabeth Radley & Sons, the company owned by Highwayman, dominates East London with its excellent leather factories, and has a subtle relationship with Lewis Leathers (from the late 1950s to 1981, before Lewis Leathers was sold, Lewis also commissioned Highwayman OEM leather jacket).

Fast forward to the 1980s. Affected by the economic depression and the decline of the punk trend, many British leather clothing brands also exited one after another. In 1981, Lewis Leathers changed hands one after another after being sold from the family business. In 1982, it was sold to the parent company of Kett. In 1983, Easyrider M/C Clothing LTD, which owned Lewis Leathers, merged with the Highwayman brand, ending the long-term competitive relationship between the two parties. , Highwayman has become a lost classic.

However, Lewis Leathers still failed to restore the decadent situation despite changing hands many times. In the following years, it was also traded one after another, and even the quality became worse and worse. As a result, today's antique collectors only focus on collections from the 1960s to 1970s. It was not until the current owner Derek Harris took over in 2003 that he caught up with Japan's retro trend and began to reproduce early products, and the overall operation gradually improved (that's another long story! Interested friends are welcome to come to the store to chat~).

A history that is not praised has led some people to start making false claims that Highwayman is Lewis Leathers's sub-brand, Shadow Warrior, a blood brother brand, etc. There are endless bizarre stories; some people even swore that "the leather jackets produced by both companies are exactly the same." The styles and details are just different." The inexplicable and ridiculous level of knowledge is really amazing; Taiwan is like a rumor-making machine, such as "Lewis Leathers was the only manufacturer in the UK making motorcycle leather jackets at the time", "Represented by Mascot The Lewis Leather Jacket is a patchwork leather jacket, "The British rock star wore his leather jacket and was accused of being a special custom-made Lewis Leathers jacket"... and other myth-making remarks make people shake their heads.

Maybe some people will talk nonsense without any worries because of the language barrier, but we still hope that the rumors will stop among the wise. After all, the final result will only make foreigners laugh at Taiwanese consumers.


(Left: Highwayman 70's "Ricarde de Luxe", right: Lewis Leathers 70's "Super Monza")

The owner of Addict Clothes, who has an astonishing collection and has handled more than 2,000 British leather jackets, Ishijima once introduced on his blog the differences between the two vintage leather jackets from the same period of Highwayman & Lewis Leathers. . It is also mentioned that Highwayman has fewer old leather jackets than Lewis, so there are only a few people who own both old leather jackets.

Mr. Ishijima also said that Highwayman has many charming details. For example, Highwayman model Manila can be seen in AD-02, and AD-01 originally came from Highwayman model Virginia. Of course, the "appearance" of these leather jackets are all products developed during the golden age of British leather jackets in the 1960s and 1970s, and are not original to any brand ("Bermuda" and "Trident" are clearly original to Highwayman).


(Lewis Leathers current boss Derek Harris visits Addict Clothes)

To put it simply, Derek, the current owner of the Lewis Leathers brand name, is the same as other British leather clothing replica brands. Most of them study old models and replica them. If you are interested in a British leather jacket that costs tens of thousands of dollars, whether you like new fashion or are loyal to the old style, in the modern era of advanced information, it is recommended that you do more research and verification, rather than copy what others say and spread rumors.

Confucius said: "To listen to the Tao and then explain it is to abandon virtue."


Later, some people still took out the Viscount from Lewis Leathers in the 1980s and the Highwayman Ricarde de Luxe from the 1970s to make a fuss, and mistakenly thought they were exactly the same products. We happened to have clear photos of the two models on hand, and the important hardware stitching was not covered. Pictures are for your reference.

Putting aside the possibility that low-resolution pictures may be misleading, the two clear photos on the right side of the picture above show that not only the pockets are completely different between the two brands, but there are also obvious differences in Padded padding and tortoiseshell inner and outer seams.

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