Greetings, esteemed enthusiasts of sartorial splendor and covetable relics of military history! Here we are, perched over our modern devices to shallow-dive into a transcendent piece of military outerwear. That's right, it's the B-15 Flight Jacket.
Let's embark on a quick journey to unlock the secrets behind this high-flying masterpiece. From the distinctive silhouette to the arm side penholder pocket, the B-15 is what most people think of today when they think of a bomber jacket, and it's been the source of countless riffs and iterations from everyone from Nike to Rick Owens.
As they say, good design lives on, so let's do a brief overview of what makes the B-15 so rad, then we'll serve up a few faithful B-15 reproductions you can get for yourself.
The Genesis of the B-15
To appreciate the B-15's legendary status, we jet back to the 1940s like Marvel characters on a time heist. That's when the U.S. Air Force developed this emblematic jacket for its brave pilots (my grandad included!). These guys soared through frigid skies battling Axis planes and creepy gremlins in their unpressurized planes, certainly validating their requirements for functional, cozy gear.
In 1944 The B-15 emerged as the lates game-changer for these brave airmen. Built to withstand the chilliest altitudes, this jacket kept flyboys snug and stylish, just in case Marilyn Monroe dropped by for a photo shoot. It also heralded a switch to the prominent color of olive drab, moving from its original iteration featuring the traditional Air Force Blue color due to the fact that the blue retained heat and was also highly visible, making the pilots a more recognizable target for the enemy.
Function Meets Fashion
The B-15 Flight Jacket is a masterclass in the fusion of functionality and fashion. It boasts a sleek, streamlined silhouette - a testament to the sharp design principles of the era. The B-15's construction features a windproof nylon shell, a sumptuous fur collar, and a cozy wool pile lining to combat low temps. The jacket's knit cuffs seal the warmth, creating a fortress against frosty drafts.
The B-15's Evolving Iterations
As the B-15 evolved throughout the years, it underwent several updates. The foremost is a switch-em-up from the fur collar to a practical cotton twill iteration. Later versions included the MA-1 Flight Jacket, which transformed the sartorial look of the aviation world with its nylon sateen fabric and reversible orange lining. The ultimate flex for pilots descending from their airborne perches.
B-15: Unsung Hero of Pop Culture
While the B-15 may have taken a backseat to its more famed sibling, this rad relic remains a treasured item in the wardrobes of generations of cool gents. The B-15 has graced the silver screen, adorning the likes of Hollywood's finest, and is even immortalized in the lyrics of celebrated musicians. This flight jacket has truly earned its wings, flying high in the realm of pop culture.
Where to Snag Your Own B-15:
For those seeking to join the ranks of the B-15 Flight Jacket admirers, fear not. There's a plethora of options to score one of these time-honored treasures. When you slip into your own B-15, you don a piece of history that transcends generations and carries the spirit of the skies.
Here are some B-15 reproductions that we highly recommend. Do your thing, flyboy.
Buzz Rickson's B-15D Flight Jacket
Buzz Rickson's B-15 Flight Jacket
This jacket is a faithful reproduction of the vintage jacket, so please handle the parts with care.
Eastman Rough-Wear B-15 Flight Jacket
USAAF B-15 Flying Jacket, Rough Wear 6338
This offering is a fabulous reproduction of the Rough Wear B-15 - contract 6338AF - made from the famous End-Zone Twill. We are confident the serious flight jacket enthusiasts are going to love this B-15; you have the opportunity to acquire the finest B-15 produced since the end of WWII.
THE REAL MCCOY'S - TYPE B-15C
Based on a specific B-15C kept within the walls of our vintage archive in Kobe, Japan.
Enjoy your B-15!