You’d be forgiven for relating the term ‘biker’ to a hefty, leather-jacket-wearing bald guy riding around on a Harley Davidson doing bad things to people in his spare time. Names like ‘Hells Angels’ and ‘Bandidos’ spring to mind.
In reality though, the idea of a bike gang member has changed substantially! Thanks to social media, we’re now able to see some rather unlikely female ‘bikie’ sub-cultures emerge from around the world.
For example, there are the ‘Bosozoku Gang Girls’ of Japan, the ‘Caramel Curves’, an African-American girl bike gang from New Orleans, and the ‘Kesh Angels’ from Marrakech.
What sets these new gangs apart from traditional gangs is not just gender, but an undeniable sense of style. Black is out, and all things colour is in. From the outfits they wear, to the styles of the motorcycles the bikers ride, these women are joining together in an affiliation based on personal expression rather than outlawed activities.
The motorcycle influence on fashion.
The new popularity of the ‘bike gang aesthetic’ has not gone unnoticed by the fashion industry, with several designers taking inspiration from the international motorcycle scene in recent seasons.
In 2016, Kenzo featured the adventures of a Japanese biker in a short movie to launch their pre-fall collection.
In 2017, Rihanna launched her Fenty x Puma range for men and women amid pink sand dunes and motocross stunt riders. The collection featured a colourful motorcycle outfit for the riders, with Rihanna, in a green and fluro outfit, riding on the back of a motorcycle for the show’s finale.
More recently, in his 2019 collection, Alexander Wang collaborated with Fox Racing and has designed motorcycle gloves to be worn as part of streetwear get up.
The fashion influence on the everyday biker.
So while many of us are already adopting moto-inspired pieces into our everyday wardrobe (consider – the classic leather moto leather jacket, chunky moto boots, studded details and chains), has the trend also worked the opposite direction?
That is, has motorcycling morphed into another vehicle for personal expression, rather than being just a form of transportation? Due to the array of new eye-catching riding gear designs available it would seem so!
However, for actual bike riders, it’s not ALL just a superficial style statement when it comes to motorcycle gear. New safety technologies such as multi-density EPS liners (providing for extra impact absorption) in motorcycle helmets mingle with bright comic book graphics on the shell of the helmet.
And because one should always match their helmet with the rest of their motorcycle accessories, there are fluro riding gloves available that match back perfectly. (And yes, these gloves provide a lot more protection than the Alexander Wang variety.)
These days, there is absolutely no need to compromise style for safety, and riding now offers two forms of freedom: the absolute feeling of being free to cruise along a long winding road, as well as the feeling of being free to express your personal style as you do so.