On the cusp of its centenary year and following the recent launch of the Surgelands SS23 collection, Belstaff is a British clothing mainstay, characterised by its pioneering spirit and commitment to quality.
Founded back in 1924 in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, the name brought together that of its founder Eli Belovitch and his home county of Staffordshire. Chiefly making clothing for use on motorcycles, the brand became the outfitter of choice for those seeking excitement on two feet rather than two wheels.
Whether up a mountain, worn on land or out at sea, Belstaff made its mark with some of the most celebrated pioneers of the day, being worn in 1930 by Amy Johnson when she became the first woman to fly from the UK to Australia. This was an era of new and increasingly dangerous frontiers being explored, and Belstaff was on hand to ensure Chris Bonington’s first ascent of ‘The Ogre’ – a daring feat which took him just short of 24,000 feet.
Belstaff’s early years were rooted in the sport of motorcycling, and when movie star Steve McQueen wore Belstaff in the 1963 wartime movie The Great Escape, one of the earliest examples of endorsement inadvertently took place. McQueen was more than just a famous actor, taking part in competitive motorcycling events himself, which only added weight to the brand’s authentic appeal.
Timelessness is something often associated with Belstaff, which is why an appreciation of their clothing has transferred from generation to generation, and with its 100th year approaching, Belstaff continues to endure.
While Belstaff remains proud of its British roots, it enjoys worldwide appeal these days. With that comes a more open-minded approach to design and the privileged task of re-curating its rich history into new chapters of innovation.
Here at Proper, we’re always a sucker for heritage, and Belstaff has that. Founded less than 40 miles from where we’re based, it’s a brand that has been on our radar for years and looks set to remain there for many more.
For their latest range, Belstaff continues to forge ahead, with a colour palette as daring as Bonington, Johnson and all, at the forefront of technical design through their continued partnership with Gore-Tex. As well as the collection’s vibrant tones, the range introduces innovative new fashion fabrics like Shimmer Shell to the SS23 silhouettes, giving a unique “shimmer” effect and accentuation of both bold colours and subtler shades too.
We took some of their Spring/Summer 2023 range for a spin, inviting Eve Kelly to style a shoot with us.
The new SS23 Surgelands collection – available at www.belstaff.com/uk – accelerates Belstaff’s drive to create forward-looking, technical performance wear inspired by its rich heritage in motorcycle racing, aviation and maritime.
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