The introduction of the motorized scooter by the Italian company Vespa in the 1960s gave birth to a scooter sub culture that reached across Europe, the UK and on to the States. Scooters could be seen taking over the streets and were especially prevalent in the hip, artsy communities within Paris and London, and as far reaching as San Francisco.
The scooter culture was best exemplified in Quadrophenia by the Who, released in 1979. The rock opera tells the story of the mod revolution in the UK, the gang wars that erupted in the 1960s between the Rockers and the Mods, and the emergence of the scooter culture with all the lifestyle and fashion statements that came with it.
The scooter jacket as a direct spin off of the scooter culture is best defined by its Euro Style collar, a strip of material encircling the neck and fastening shut with a snap. Jackets can be made from the traditional leather or from synthetic or natural fabrics as fashion dictates.
In 1985, Vespa abandoned the U.S. market in favor of Europe, and as gas prices continued their painful rise, the European communities and the UK adopted the scooter as a cheaper form of transportation, while Americans indulged their love of SUVs.
Re entering the U.S. market in 2000, Vespa expected to cater to a new generation of hungry college students and twenty somethings looking for a cheap mode of transportation. What they found was a much more well to do market in the nostalgic Baby Boomers, reliving their younger days of bright and shiny scooters and motor bikes in general.
With the latest gas price hike of 2008, and increasing concern over the environment, middle class Americans are selling their SUVs and looking for alternative modes of transportation, and once again the scooter is thriving. Scooters are being seen more and more in urban environments, as people from all walks of life find a cheaper, more fun way to commute. Following the scooter movement is the reemergence of the leather scooter jacket, as scooterists realize the need for body protection against the weather and the road.
Todays modern scooter jackets offer an alternative to the traditional biker look. Scooter jackets come in a variety of materials, but just as in any type of bike riding, care should be given to protection from the elements and the road. For that reason, the scooter jacket that is made from a quality leather material is considered to be an integral part of scooter safety gear, recommended to be worn with a full face protective helmet.
As the scooter culture merges with the mainstream, not everybody considering a scooter for transportation is your typical Mod, Rocker, or Biker type personality. One estimate has as many as 40% of new scooter purchases being made by women. Scooterists of today span generations and coexist with a multitude of lifestyles. Scooter clubs, rallies, websites and forums are popping up all over the place, even scooter racing has taken afoot.
As an alternative to the traditional biker look, the scooter jacket exudes a respectable, conservative style that has become the signature of scooter culture, and popular with people from all walks of life.