Gavin Smith

Way back in the mists of time two clothing manufacturers were established in England, both making distinctly British garments out of distinctly British materials, those companies were Belstaff (est. 1924) and Barbour (est. 1894 as J Barbour and Sons). The material for which both brands are most famous for working with is oil treated dense cotton, which is then further waterproofed with a liberal application of the companies own special blend of wax. The garment for which both brands are most famous for producing is their own variation of the Moto jacket, first worn by military motorcycle despatch riders and made by Belstaff, but soon refined and appropriated for generation after generation of serious motorcycle sportsmen and women.

The appeal of the moto jacket is through being that rare item of clothing that will look better the more often that it is worn. Indeed vintage Trialmasters and Internationals now change hands for some serious money, and the image of the dust covered rider, scarf covering his lower face and he throws his crosser through mud, sand and the elements is one of the most enduring in vintage wear.

Such is the racing pedigree of Belstaff’s Trialmaster and Barbour's International that they were basically the only de rigueur item of clothing of note for racing riders for almost 40 years from their introduction, since then both have found favour amongst different walks of life whilst still keeping faithful to their original and immensely popular design. Apart from the placement, shape and size of some badges and patches, along with Barbour first introducing the slanted chest pocket for easy access to maps on a long distance ride, they are basically the same jacket.

Some will argue the virtue of one over the other in terms of manufacturing quality or heritage (Steve McQueen was an owner and wearer of both brands and types), and whilst Barbour seem to have ventured more towards the English country gent and the aristocracy (the Queen wears Barbour), Belstaff have courted the celebrity vote in the form of the last James Bond movie Skyfall and Hollywood A-listers such as George Clooney and Christian Bale.

There is no doubting that the Moto jacket, as it is generically known, is iconic in its association with vintage motor sport, so we were not surprised when Trophy Clothing decided to make their own twist on the classic. The Trophy interpretation takes design inspiration from both aforementioned vintage originals, whilst being a far more practical, mid weight, unlined, utility jacket made to an exactingly high standard. It has a heavy duty, over-sized ring zipper which is useful for gloved hands whilst riding a motorcycle, the collar and cuffs are lined with thick, soft corduroy for comfort, the press studs are large and fasten with a reassuringly solid snap, and on the chest is the iconic slanted map pocket. As with all Trophy clothing branding is kept to a bare minimum to allow the construction and details to speak for the quality of the garment.

It is not unusual for a Japanese brand to do their own interpretation of classic western outerwear, but Trophy are the first brand to bring the Moto style jacket into the market. We hope to see this jacket return to the range year after year.