In my long career as a punk rocker I have always been careful with concert jackets in which I came across and I’ve seen all kinds of them: nails, bomber, denim jackets… I’ve seen fashions come, become obsolete and then come back.
Some jackets have struck me particularly, I remember when I was a kid at a NOFX concert in Jesolo, Italy, a very sick punk was there with large letters inscription behind his nail jacket: “It is you who make me sick!” and in that moment I realised it was the essence of punk summed up in one sentence… in one word: a masterpiece.
From that moment my passion started to grow and I started making my own jacket (with my mother’s invaluable help), and I have to say, I was so good at that job that some friends of mine began to wonder if I could do a jacket for them too… From there I started producing a series of jackets, but it revealed one big mistake! I made lots of jackets similar, but that’s the reason why they were deprived of their own personality; the most important feature in that type of jacket. Most of them were bought by local jocks who wanted to look ROCKER and that was my divine punishment, to see my jackets – made with so much love – worn by these fucking cock faces all over different fucking clubs… my only comfort was that many of those assholes paid me with drugs.
That said I will give you some advice, friends, those of you who are planning to make your first battle jacket, or create your newest one.
1- DIY or DIE
I’m not the only one who had the idea of making some jackets in a series (unfortunately) and I know some brands offer you a ready-made battle jacket, available with loan sharks prices. Remember that your jacket is your flag and a way to express your personality… If you buy an already-made-battle-jacket, you show everybody that you don’t have personality.
Remember that one of the best parts of having a cool jacket is looking for patches/studs/written stuff and how you mix that shit together.
2- The good thing too
If you make a uniform carpet of patches stuck one to the other the only result will be that none of them will stand out. I’m not saying that’s a wrong choice, the first rule is that there are no rules, but I would recommend putting less patches and more detailed in some strategic points: the back, above the left breast pocket, right shoulder and so on…
3- Quality matters
One of the hardest steps is choosing the jacket, you should get one of good quality and it’s okay. I recommend you try it before you put it on. Don’t get a jacket that you’ll wear badly. Before I found my black jean jacket I had to wait months before buying it in a market at Caden Town, London. To say buy it, is a big word actually, because a salesman stole it and then sold it back to me in a bar, but let it be… that’s another story.
4- Try not to offend anyone (a.k.a. don’t mess with 1% Bike Gangs)
There are unwritten rules in the world of jackets and you can put only certain group or gang logos on your jacket. For example, I have a Tumbledown patch on the back of my jacket. One time I had some trouble with a gang of bikers who thought it was the logo of a rival gang (actually they showed me and it’s really similar).
That time I was very close to being hit by them, but in the end I turned around & they saw that they had mistaken the patch and fortunately it ended well cause they offered to buy me a drink. So be careful about what you’re going to put on your jacket, because the responsibility is yours.
5- Do not make shitty colour mix
Before you stick a new patch, always do a test if it’s fine with the others and I recommend you not to do chromatic nonsenses, trust to your good taste and if you don’t have good taste; you’re probably fucked up!
Having said that, now you are ready to make your own jacket, unleash your creativity, good luck and above all have fun.
Oh, and thanks a lot to all the friends who sent me photos of their jackets to enrich this post.