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[DEEP DIVE] MOTO JACKET

Welcome back to "DEEP DIVE". In this series we offer a glimpse of the Engineered Garments skeleton, the root system of an otherwise opaque brand. Inspiration for many items we cover comes from classic USA workwear, traditional, or military styles of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. This time, we examine the Engineered Garments Moto Jacket, an item that - despite its military heritage - showcases the influence of 1980s fashion on the brand.


Emerging from the dilapidation of the previous decade, 1980s New York City was flush with money and full of contradiction. Riding the back of a soaring stock market, newly minted young professionals both clashed and mingled with the downtown creative vanguard - creating a strange affair between high excess and gritty expression. The city became a fashion mecca, trailblazing modern styles and setting the sartorial tone for the country. Following the “Black Monday” stock market crash of 1987, the party abruptly ended. While the legacy of the 1980s continues to be overlooked today, Engineered Garments takes the opportunity to restore and cherish some of its important sartorial contributions. 


As a young man, designer Daiki Suzuki discovered the American Traditional and Ivy style that would go on to form the pillars of Engineered Garments’ design aesthetic. But his interest in fashion did not stop there - he also cultivated an obsession with Japanese DC (designer character) brands like BIGI Melrose and Yohji Yamamoto. And in the 1980s, he began reading columns written by Yoko Hamada and published in Japanese periodical Men’s Club. Married to an American socialite and residing in New York, Ms. Hamada brought up-to-date news to Japanese readers about the city’s happenings and the flurry of designers making waves. To Daiki, nothing could be more exciting. From them on he was permanently enamored with the city. 


Daiki learned even more about designers like Perry Ellis, Alexander Julian, and Willi Smith from used copies of GQ, Detail Magazine, and Italian Vogue Homme. Unlike the copies of Men’s Club or Popeye which were printed in his native Japanese, he was unable to read the foreign magazines, and so focused on the images - taking note of how these brands shifted traditional men’s clothing. Traditional sportswear and workwear pieces were reimagined with punched-out proportions or constructed from patterned fabrics and bright colors - all of which pushed men’s fashion forward.

Which brings us to the Engineered Garments Moto Jacket. The design itself comes from the “Ordonnansjacka” - Dispatch Jacket - used by Swedish Army motorcyclists. Dating as far back as 1915, the jacket was originally manufactured in leather before transitioning to an olive green cotton canvas material in the 1960s. The military-style map pocket is enhanced by a touch of creative tailoring, sporting a piece of fabric under the top opening to protect the contents from rain as well as an additional side entry. 


Daiki deftly weaves together his love for military fashion and 80s design. Military components are stripped down - buttons traded for snaps, waist belt simplified, mouton collar removed. By focusing on the original silhouette of the jacket, the 80s style drop shoulders and tight waist are showcased and the item’s blouson shape becomes apparent. 


Engineered Garments is most often associated with mid-20th century American fashion - and rightfully so, as the clothing from this time frame do play an important role in shaping the brand’s identity. However, the era’s mindset and attitude aesthetic still play an important role for the brand. From deciding how to correctly rework the proportions of a popover shirt, to the choice to manufacture a sportcoat from Multi Color Poly Acetate Lurex Jacquard, the inheritance of the 1980s lives on through all of Daiki’s products. The Moto Jacket stands as a more vivid refinement of these ideas.  


The Moto Jacket is available the following fabrics:


  • Black Cotton Duracloth Poplin
  • Grey CP Waffle
  • Natural 6.5oz Flat Twill
  • Olive Cotton Ripstop

Available in-store and online at nepenthesny.com