With Autumn and Winter on the horizon in Melbourne, our minds are slowly filling with thoughts of cold weather clothing. Multiple layers of Merz b Schwanen Cotton, solid North Sea Knitwear, our favourite boots, and of course, Aero Leather Jackets.... We were lucky enough to visit the factory late last year and thought it might be nice to share our experience along with some background on the company and it's heirloom quality clothing.
Hides ready for the cutting table...
The Aero story began on the East Coast of the USA in the early part of the 20th century and the connection to leather jackets came about in 1937 when Aero was one of the first manufacturers to produce the famous A2 jacket under contract for the US military. They subsequently gained several more contracts throughout WWII, along with many other manufacturers, and the A2 Jacket has since become an entire story in itself (original WWII jackets now sell for huge money to collectors around the world and are increasingly hard to find!)
Following the war Aero wound down production and the name sat dormant until the mid 1970's when it was brought back to life by Aero Leather Clothing founder Ken Calder. Beginning as a trading company specialising in vintage flight jackets and work wear clothing, Ken soon saw that the local textile industry in his native Scottish boarder towns could be perfect for manufacturing high quality replica jackets based on the originals in his collection.
A2 Labels on the shelves ready to be fixed to finished jackets.
The first jackets were produced in 1981 and were finally made available to the public in 1983 when Aero Leather Clothing became the sole international distributors of the Aero name. Since then, Aero have continued to produce leather clothing of the highest quality at their small factory in Galashiels on the Scottish border and have been featured in many hollywood films over the years - check out Seabiscuit and Captain America - even the brown LVC jacket worn by James Bond in Skyfall was manufactured by Aero!
Various A2 contract patterns on the racks
Extensive research and many years of manufacturing experience have gone into every aspect of the design and quality control of these jackets, to ensure that any garment bearing the "Aero Leather" label will provide decades of wear in the most hostile of environments and elements encountered in aviation, motorcycling, open top motoring and outdoor pursuits. Each jacket is hand cut from the highest quality hides and constructed by one sewing technician from start to finish - the tag bares their name so pride in the finished garment is of the utmost importance - they are truly a piece of clothing that may well outlast you and be passed down to the next generation!
Cutting Shears hanging up ready for use
As Australia's sole Aero Leather dealer, Pickings and Parry bring an additional level of service to the Aero Experience and the scope of choice is often a lot wider after to speaking to us about your dream jacket. We hold samples of all available Horse and Steer hides, Goat Skins, Suedes and Shearlings, as well as all standard linings from Alpaca Wool to Harris Tweed with many Cotton options in between. It's essential to get a feel for the options available before proceeding with a jacket order and our experience in dealing with the factory, and the various styles, fits and custom options available will all help you make the crucial decisions for your lifetime jacket. Aside from the service, we take the pain out of import duty and taxes and we also get preference on production, so turn around is usually 4-6 weeks from order.... it should be here by the time the temperature drops!
Pickings and Parry - Official Stockist - Aero Leather Clothing