A story of Bikers

In this week's Kultorama, we are offering you a focus on a major inspiration from our Forever Young collection, namely Motorcycle Clubs! Initially marginal youth groups, today a philosophy and aesthetic inseparable from pop culture, but how did we get to this...?

Hell's Angels, Bandidos, Mongols, Warlocks, these motorcycle club names that we still associate today with organized gangs, very often in the world of crime, have become true symbols of pop culture among many others .

Often romanticized or even idealized through song and cinema, the reality of the origin of these groups is an extraordinary story, of which our American friends have the secret, it is well worth looking into the subject!

The first Biker clubs appeared during the interwar period in the United States.

There we find young men from the high society of the time, looking for thrills. The style is still very chic: ties, jackets, gaiters and English motorcycles are in the spotlight, leather is reserved for athletes for competitions, namely a minority, even if motor sport is becoming more popular at high speed.

The post-war period would mark a turning point in the culture of Motorcycle Clubs (MC).

In 1945 the soldiers returned home. However, during the war period, American society experienced profound changes, these were the beginnings of the consumer society.

A good number of young "veterans", finding themselves idle and wishing to escape the memories of war or rediscover the adrenaline, gather in groups, accompanied by their motorbikes, for obvious reasons of cost: the motorbike is cheaper !

Little by little, these groups become marginalized, and these former rangers and paratroopers form real bands which, out of patriotism, claim their military past.

The best example being that of the Hell's Angels which was nothing other than the name of an American squadron from the Second World War.

The lifestyle of these misunderstood youth, consisting of traveling the American roads in search of local parties and races, will contribute to their reputation as bad boys in the face of a conservative America.

It was in July 1947 that these MCs suffered a national impact. The small town of Hollister, like every year, hosts a gathering of bikers. The police, faced with a considerable influx, quickly found themselves overwhelmed by events, which gave rise to fights and all kinds of damage.

However, this event will be widely amplified and dramatized by the press, which will not hesitate to stage images in order to raise awareness, such as the image below which was published by the "San Francisco Chronicle" and which will turn out to be completely fabricated.

The American Motorcyclist Association (organizer of the event) issued a statement saying that it had no involvement in the Hollister riots, and that "the problem was caused by the 1% of deviants who tarnish the public image of motorcycles and bikers”.

This 1% will become a real emblem that can be found in particular on the badge of many MCs, as if to claim a certain form of marginalization of these groups, compared to a smoother image of the majority of motorcyclists. The beginning of biker gangs?

Another event will contribute to the bad reputation of Bikers. In 1969 The Rolling Stones gave a concert in Altamont. It was the Hell's Angels who provided security, and a man was killed in the crowd in the middle of a concert by a member of the club. The video of the event is very easily found on the internet.

Little by little, these groups specialize in crime in order to survive financially, and with drug trafficking, they become international, which will give rise to numerous settling of scores between rival gangs.

Since their birth, these clubs have always aroused a certain curiosity among the general public, whether in the cinema as early as 1953 with Marlon BRANDO in “L'Équipée Sauvage” which takes up the story of the Hollister riots.

A little later, in 1969, it was in “Easy Riders” that the lifestyle of the Bikers of the 60s was highlighted.

In a more contemporary way, on the small screen this time, how can we not talk about “Sons of Anarchy” which depicts the complex daily life of an MC living from drug and arms trafficking but in contact with the rest of the population, and tackling topics such as loyalty, friendship and redemption.

The history and aesthetic of MCs were a strong inspiration for our Forever Young collection, which gave rise to a design: the MOTORKLUB.

Still hoping to Cultivate a little more, see you soon in the Kultorama!