Alpha Industries Outerwear Connection To Self Expression

Alpha Industries has been the key maker of uniforms for the U.S armed forces since the late ’50s. The brand has always produced outerwear that not only performs well but has that chic military sensibility about it. The armed forces isn’t the sort of place for people to express their individuality, but the men and women in the service have been reworking and altering their uniforms throughout history, to reflect where they’ve served and to express their personalities. For their spring collection, Alpha Industries pulls from their past, and the history of self-expression behind the souvenir jackets and filed coats is fused into the modern fashion elements for their Spring/Summer 2017 collection. The Sukajan, or Souvenir Jacket, were literal souvenirs that American GIs would bring back home after serving in the Pacific after and during the second world war. The material associated with souvenir jackets was originally cut from left over parachute material. Local tailors catering to the American shoppers at the time, helped turn the custom souvenirs into a fashion statement. From the combination of western silhouettes like baseball jackets and MA-1 jackets with traditional eastern hand-stitched symbols came the souvenir jacket, or the Sukajan. During the late ’60s and ’70s, the American presence in Asia increased, but unlike the custom Sukajans of the second world war , the GIs were embroidering their own active-duty M-65 field coats. The tour jackets were embroidered with icons and maps that reflected where they served. The sentiments weren’t that influenced by East Asian art as much as they were adorned with more literal icons or Western-style cartoons. These coats were often decorated with darker themes and anti-war slogans that reflected the tone of the times. Customization of the uniform was a way to show one’s personality, and a physical reminder of where and when someone served, marking memories of their service. The Sukajan souvenir jacket and World Tour coats allowed service members to display a story unique to them. Although the current reiteration of the silhouettes on trend right now weren’t customized in the field, they still have a history of personal style, elevating Alpha Industries’ status as a modern fashion brand.

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