July 19, 2022

Wind the clock back 25 years and the world of streetwear looked a whole lot different. For starters, luxury and streetwear were two, very distinct aspects of the fashion landscape. Rappers were a long way from wearing full Balenciaga fits.

That’s not to say that they didn’t have style influence, though. Just as Kanye can spark a whole generation to spend their hard-earned paychecks on wildly expensive, avant-guard luxury fashion, musicians in the ‘90s and ‘00s repositioned the work of Avirex. This New York-based brand started creating military-inspired pieces back in 1975, but the category that came to define the name was Avirex leather jackets.

Cut from some of the heaviest, hardest-wearing leathers in the game, Avirex leather jackets continue to represent the gold standard in outerwear. But alongside the functional warmth & protection of the leather, it was the bold colorways and signature detailing that caught the eyes of the hip-hop scene.

From Nas to Biggie Smalls, anyone who was anyone in the ‘90s scene proudly owned an Avirex varsity jacket or flight jacket. And with the influence of American hip-hop behind it, it didn’t take long for the style to reach the shores of Europe, too. Still referenced regularly in the lyrics of grime artists like Skepta and Kano, Avirex is a truly iconic bastion of a bygone era in street culture.

With that said, Avirex jackets might not be such a thing of the past after all.

More and more, we’re seeing the styles of the ‘90s and ‘00s referenced and rehashed in luxury fashion. Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton collections always featured a heavy-duty leather flight jacket finished with detailing and palettes which undoubtedly referenced Avirex styles. But, beyond references, Avirex made a purposeful return last year.

2021 saw the American label rerelease its Icon Series. 27 jackets ranging from A1 flight jackets to varsity pieces, all cut from the signature heavyweight leathers that characterized the collection some 20 years prior.

Read the full article on highsnobiety.com.