Time for another iconic Cafe Racer Jacket. This time; Brimaco.
Brimaco jackets have had a lot of screen time in recent years, appearing in several films and T.V programs, from Joshua Jacksons “One Week” (worth seeing) to Jamie bell in “Jumper” (not so much). Unlike many other cafe jackets they are quite easily identifiable. They stand out as something subtly different and quite unique.
Brimaco, or British Cycle Leathers as they were otherwise known, were based in Monteal and are probably the best known name of the pantheon of twentieth century Canadian leather jacket manufacturers. They were also one of the oldest manufacturers in North America, having set up production as early as 1895. A contemporary of manufacturers of like Beck and Buco, the designs from each company evolved over several years, often influenced by one another’s designs. Despite this, Brimaco’s Cafe jackets have a distinctive design, a unique profile that clearly sets them apart form their contemporaries.
A ‘typical’ North American care racer jacket is highly tailored at the waist, is slim fitting, short in the body, has only two chest pockets and a short stand or mandarin collar.
Brimaco jackets, while immediately recognisable as a cafe design depart form this in several ways, and have several individual elements;
Unlike most Cafes which were quite short, Brimaco’s are very long in the body, extending well below the waist.They are trim on the shoulders and slim throughout the body, but are often squarer and less tailored at the waist than many of their contemporaries.
The generally employed a four pocket design, including two horizontal chest, and two angled hand warmer pockets.
For the central zip two way Lightning brand zippers were used. The pockets being closed by smaller Lightning zippers (Lighting, another Canadian company, were one of the earliest zipper manufacturers and introduced many improvements to their design. Their zippers are commonly found on Canadian and British clothing from the 1920s right up until the early 1970s).
Instead of the snapped mandarin design they have a long throat strap at the collar. This usually being lined in corduroy or rayon.
They have a long wind protector panel under the main zip, this is unusually connected up to just below the collar, but extends up under it.
There were several incarnations of Brimaco’s cafe racer, from the riders jacket to the raider, with several minor adaptations to the design. The main differences being at the back, which varied from a simple yoke design early on, to a more fitted fitted shoulder action vent and kidney strip arrangement in the 1970’s.
While each design varied slightly the overall profile changed little throughout a production run of over 30 years. One of the oldest manufacturers, an immediately recognisable design, iconic appearances in countless films, Brimaco jackets are surely amongst the greatest cafe racer jackets ever to have been produced.
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