The Bomber jacket has evolved from utility piece to a fashion icon. Rave culture adopted the key piece in the 1980s, when Maggie Thatcher reigned and the underground dance movement made waves across the nation.
Illegal raves became the thing to do for twenty somethings, starting out as small parties held at secret rural locations, disused fields, farmland and aircraft hangers up and down the newly completed M25. The phenomenon saw 1,000s of ravers turning up to parties that were rigged with large bass-heavy sound systems, dancing to acid house and electro throughout the night until the early hours of the morning.
Built with the sense of unity and freedom in mind, as people were there to dance, take drugs and party until the early hours of the morning, the parties created a new culture. This meant clothes began to get loser, and people started to wear more breathable free flowing garments. For that reason, men and women wore colourful baggy shirts worn with loose fitting dungarees or jeans and high-top trainers by brands including Chippie, Naf Naf and Chevignon.
Other key fashion pieces include bucket and ski hats, the iconic acid house smiley T-shirts and the mighty, functional and indispensible MA-1 jacket.
WHERE IT BEGAN FOR MINISTRY OF SOUND
Shortly after the birth of the scene, authorities began a widespread crack down on the parties by creating mass hysteria and demonising organised parties in the media. Soon after police started shutting down events up and down the country.
With that, in 1991, Justin Berkmann founded Ministry of Sound, creating the first regulated 24-hour safe haven for partygoers to dance throughout the night.
Transforming a disused office block into a fully functional nightclub dedicated to dance music, Berkmann created a cultural space for partygoers to unwind without the wandering eyes of the law peeking in. The club focused on sound first, then lighting, with design coming last (an order that no other clubs had worked by before).
Keeping publicity at a low, the club soon became an enigma, reaching capacity and leaving many revellers outside. To ensure the club kept high standards and people wanting to come back for more, they employed four door pickers who were set the task of accepting and turning away patrons.
These doormen and pickers wore a Bomber jacket created for the club in burgundy and green colour-ways which featured the Ministry of Sound logo in gold embroidery on the centre of the back and on the left breast.
A limited run was then developed for residents and guest DJs such as Larry Levan, Frankie Knuckles and David Morales. The club soon built a cult following and fast became the number one nightlife spot in London, making the Ministry of Sound bomber jacket a much sought after piece.
To show their support back to dedicated ravers, club founder Justin Berkmann decided to create a limited release available to buy from the club. These pieces were like gold dust and still are to this day.
As Ministry of Sound’s 25th birthday fast approaches, we have teamed up with ‘A Number of Names’ (the team behind Billionaire Boys Club) to create a limited edition bomber jacket - ‘M25 Bomber’.
The bomber has been made to the same spec of the 1991 original using one of the only remaining jackets in possession of the Ministry of Sound. The in-house team worked to reproduce an identical silhouette, from the ribbing, to the gold zipper fastening on the main bodice and pocket detail. These unique pieces are set to keep the same exclusivity of the original releases with a limited run per collection.
These include green and black colour-ways, which feature gold embroidered Ministry of Sound logos emblazoned across the back and on the front left breast, and a black on black colour-way which will release in even smaller quantities, making it one of the most exclusives pieces, to the envy of all that are too slow in picking it up.
The release of this culturally significant and iconic jacket will further cement the evolution of the bomber within the rave culture, with 25 years of history permeating the future.
Words: Lewis Munro