It’s been over a century since Harley-Davidson MotorClothes® made its first garment.
From that very first jersey, proudly emblazoned with the Harley-Davidson® name, to the very latest hi-tech protective riding gear, we’ve made sure our riders are protected and styled in apparel we’re proud to stand – or ride – behind.
With the help of Walter Davidson, William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson, build their first motorcycle in a wooden shed in Milwaukee. Their first machine reportedly went 100,000 miles through a series of five owners without a major repair.
The famed “Bar & Shield” logo was used for the first time. It is trademarked at the U.S. Patent office one year later. This logo will be used on some of the most popular items customers seek, buy and wear.
Construction begins on what will be the six story headquarters and main factory building at Juneau Ave. in Milwaukee. This is the site where Harley-Davidson® branded apparel is still designed today.
The beginning of Harley-Davidson® Branded apparel, as the first know jerseys was offered.
A Motorcycle Accessories and Rider Clothing catalog was introduced at this time to allow for product awareness for both dealers and customers.
By 1914, bikers leafing through Harley-Davidson®‘s accessories catalogue find not only jerseys, but also cardigans, leggings and gloves.
Motorcycle riding products became more popular with customers and therefore the first product offering in Functional Riding Apparel was developed. Some of the first items included: goggles, water-proof coats, linen duster, and puttees.
By 1920, Harley-Davidson® is the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. New Harley-Davidson® motorcycles can be purchased from over 2,000 dealers in 67 countries worldwide.
With customer demand increase for both motorcycles and riding apparel the first official line of motorcycle specific clothing and accessories was offered in a widespread manner.
The first Leather Riding Jacket was introduced.
As the popularity of motorcycle clubs increased amongst motorcycle riders so did the desire to physically represent motorcycle club affiliation. The first known motorcycle clubs shirts were offered in 1936.
Harley-Davidson® develops the biker jacket for the New York City Police Department, which remains their key style to this day.
Harley-Davidson® begins selling what will become the classic black leather motorcycle jacket.
Function meets style as the first “Cycle Champ” and “Cycle Queen” motorcycle riding jackets were debuted. This moved the traditional look of a motorcycle rider from everyday suits and dress attire to more of a motorcycle stylized look.
The new young star Elvis Presley poses for the cover of the May Enthusiast sitting on his new 1956 model KH wearing a Leather Motorcycle Riding Jacket.
Hardshell helmets first appeared in Harley-Davidson® accessories catalogs in 1958, usually referred to as “safety helmets”. In those days, you could have your helmet in any color you desired, so long as the color was white.
1960s and 70s
More and more functional features came into common design through the 1960s and 70s, such as venting and wind-proof zippers for varying weather conditions and mandarin collars among many others. But other features such as ‘D-pockets’ have been around virtually interrupted with the classic jacket design
H-D t-shirts customized with individual dealer logos and locations were first introduced in the mid 60s.
Due to the expansion of the H-D brand into other motor sports industries through the AMF merger the H-D branded merchandise offering grows to include a wider variety of jackets, lightweight jackets, and all-weather apparel.
Black leather vests were part of general rider apparel by the 1960s and led to the first H-D vest offering in 1973.
Fashion Leather Riding jackets are added to the Harley-Davidson® branded apparel.
The Willie G.jacket, originally offered in 1985 and later served as part of a line of boots, gloves and vests.
Widespread production of customized dealer t-shirts results in over 2 million units sold at this time.
Harley-Davidson® introduces the MotorClothes® apparel and accessories label.
The Harley-Davidson® MotorClothes® Label is so successful it has sold over 3 million items.
“Harley has inspired an international trend in biker wear this year…In fact, the biker fantasy has so pervaded the fashion world that the Council of Fashion Designers of America will present a special award to Harley-Davidson® at a New York gala in February.” December 13, 1991 LA Times
Harley-Davidson® MotorClothes® Label expands into Gifts and Collectibles designed for all types of Harley-Davidson® brand enthusiasts.
Harley-Davidson® MotorClothes® Label expands to offer the Biker Blues Denim line of denim jeans.
Harley-Davidson® MotorClothes® Label claims a leadership position in technical riding gear with the introduction of the FXRG riding collection.
Harley-Davidson® Motor Company celebrates 100 years of great motorcycles. The 100th Anniversary Open Road Tour makes its last of ten worldwide stops in Milwaukee over Labor Day weekend. For the first time, all models are anniversary models with badges and logos commemorating the event.
MotorClothes® apparel reintroduces the classic #1 logo.
Designed specifically to appeal to a younger customer base, Harley-Davidson® introduces the Black Label collection consisting of trend driven apparel.
The introduction of 360° Enhanced Visibility Reflectivity raises the bar in low-light visibility.
A dedicated cause-related line introduced as the Harley-Davidson® Pink Label collection. A portion of proceeds made from each Pink Label item sold is donated to Breast Cancer support groups in the American market.
Celebrating 100 years of genuine H-D apparel.
More innovation, this time in comfort. Jackets with Triple Vent System™ are introduced, giving riders maximum air flow with strategically placed vents. Cool is forever redefined.
Harley-Davidson® adds Roomoto®, a revolutionary new lining, to their riding jeans, doubling the abrasion resistance. With CE Level 2 approval, Harley’s riding jeans raise the bar on protection.