SS17 Bomber jacket

One of the trend items for this season is the bomber jacket. Especially in the shade of dusty green, pink or peach. While shopping, I noticed that pretty much every retail store in Jyväskylä carries a version of the jacket in their selection. Customers can go through different stores looking for a jacket with the design, material and details that fit their needs – and price range.

bobmer SS17
SS17 Bomber jacket – from left upper row to right bottom: H&M, VILA, Gina Tricot, BikBok & Cubus

Originally, the bomber jacket was designed as work wear for aviators. The jackets were designed as warm and functional outerwear the aviators could comfortably wear in the cockpit. The bomber jacket’s design evolved as new needs were discovered and new, man-made materials were developed. Consideration of water resistance, battle situations and functionality created new elements to be considered in the designs. The first bomber jackets used leather and wool as they were seen strong and warm materials, but through the years the designs became lighter.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle A2 bomber jacket
1920’s bomber jacket – photo from Gentleman’s Gazette

During the 50’s the designs especially started to change. Up until then the bomber jackets were strictly military wear, but during the 50’s consumers started to adapt them in their everyday life. Because of this, designs that suited consumer needs were developed. Since consumers weren’t engaging in air battles, the designs adapted for consumers didn’t have to be as functional as the designs meant for military use. This allowed for a wider selection of materials to be used.

From 60’s to 80’s the bomber jacket became a trend item for the first time. It was especially adapted by the punk movement an the skin heads. Ironically, they used it in their rebellious looks – a jacket that was originally designed for the military. The bomber jacket also became a symbol of rebellion in the Asian fashion scene. Because of this the symbol of rebellion is attached to the bomber jacket.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle punk movement
Punk movement – photo from Flickr

The current trend designs are more feminine. For the last few seasons, trend forecasts have featured the elements of gender boundaries fading, appreciation of the past, recycling, and meaningful designs. In order for consumers to make a purchase decision the elements and meanings behind a product are emphasized. Products need to “do good”.

The use of faded colours in the current designs is a reference to the trend of recycling. The use of faded colours in designs can be seen widely in current retail selections. Especially faded green and pink. This can be referenced to Pantone’s Colour of the Year for last year and this year. Though, Pantone doesn’t dictate what colours are trendy for a season; they analyze and forecast what colours represent the zeitgeist. Same with trend forecasts. Last year, for the first time, Pantone’s Colour of the Year consisted of two colours – as a representation of the fading gender boundaries.

The mixture of the historically masculine bomber jacket and traditionally feminine colours gives a reference to the fading gender boundaries in today’s society. The resurface of a design that has a strong historical background also gives reference to the “meaningful designs” trend forecast. Consumers attach meanings and ideas to the design. Because of the bomber jackets history with the military and the punk movement, meanings of both rebellion and conformity can be attached to it.

Note: this is my analysis of the SS17 bomber jacket trend. I’m not a product developer nor a trend forecaster. So, see this as an outsider’s view. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.