Put on your helmet and hold on tight: This spring, biker fashion is one of 2022’s biggest trends. But while moto essentials, like leather jackets and graphic T-shirts, have long inspired designers, recent collections have unveiled pieces that look straight out of a biking shop, rather than a luxury department store.
Earlier this month, i-D broke down the elements of biker style, suggesting that it stems from the “vintage and nostalgia-driven trends” currently fueling the fashion world (also see: the Y2K fashion comeback); is “a side effect to our pandemic-powered need for escapism and freewheeling;” or “a recontextualization of the biker chick as a soft butch femme” as designers continue to blur gender norms on the runways.
Whatever the reason may be, fall 2022 collections delivered biker-chic looks with plenty of moto jackets, head-to-toe denim, and chunky zipper details. But there were also elements that propelled the trend to more fashion-forward territory, including bodices that resembled motocross protective gear at Balmain and Dior, as well as opera gloves that looked more ready to take on the X Games than a night at the theater. Throughout the fall 2022 runways, the on-the-run spirit was exhibited through a contrast of edgy and soft: delicate black mini dresses paired with utilitarian gloves at Dior, a leather jacket that opened into a ballgown skirt at Junya Watanabe, and cropped moto jackets paired with flowy skirts at Alexander McQueen.
Perhaps the biggest evidence of this trend comes in the form of Rosalía’s long-awaited and critically-acclaimed album Motomami (which translates to Moto-Chick), a celebration of the contrasting energies inside a woman — the fierce and the vulnerable. Stylist Jill Jacobs, who worked with Rosalía throughout the release of the sophomore album, says that the singer’s aesthetic was heavily inspired by biker culture in Los Angeles, where the Spanish artist recorded many of the songs in the project. “I really love the juxtaposition of something hard and edgy, mixed with something really soft,” says Jacobs.
In order to achieve this contrast, Jacobs styled Rosalía in outfits like a silk lavender dress and distressed knit boots by Acne, paired with a sheer black turtleneck by Samiro Vintage; and an electric blue velvet mini dress by Off-White with matching boots, paired with a menswear-inspired trucker hat in the same color palette. “It was just a constant layering session, so we would just constantly try different materials together,” she says “And fortunately, she loves to layer just as much as I do,” Jacobs says.
In more literal bikercore fashion, Rosalía wore a custom bike helmet with devil-like horns and protective gear over sweet, asymmetrical dresses by Pepa Salazar. “The idea was to create looks that included different moods in one,” says the Spanish designer who launched her namesake brand in 2013. “I liked the idea of deconstructing motorcycles in pieces, and treating this otherwise edgy trend as precious objects you can take with you anywhere.”
Both Jacobs and Salazar agree that the biker fashion trend is one that can be easily worn in our everyday lives, even if you don’t ride a motorcycle. “It really is all about texture and mixing materials,” says Jacobs. “A distressed knit over silk or a moto jacket over literally anything.”
From leather jackets to biker helmets (yes, really!) and highway-ready sunglasses, here’s how to channel the bikercore trend, on and off the road.
An On-The-Run Handbag
Earlier this year, when Rosalía emerged from her three-year hiatus in-between albums, she started carrying an unusual “handbag”: a biker helmet. Salazar says that it's a fun and clever way to look like you’ve just stepped off your bike, even if you’ve never ridden one before: “You can even wear it on your arm as an accessory.” If that doesn’t sound like a wearable (or financially wise) option, you can always go for a bag that channels the rebellious energy, like Balenciaga’s “Motorcycle” bag.
From strapless dresses for cocktail hour to motocross-ready pants and jackets, biker fashion’s must-have material is leather (whether real, fake, or even mushroom-based!). Even when the style fades from the trend cycle, a motorcycle leather jacket will remain a classic staple.
To contrast the toughness of leather, Jacobs suggests adding feminine silhouettes and textures, or colors that exude softness and sensuality, like lilac and red. Think: a silk slip dress or a sheer frock (with some fancy lingerie underneath!) styled with a leather trench coat.
For Jacobs, oversized boots are the easiest way to channel the biker chic look. “Just get a cool, chunky boot and then keep adding materials to your outfit,” she says. In lieu of flat boots, opt for a pair of uber-high platform boots, a la Bratz dolls, that are trending right now.
To complete the look, and battle the wind if you do actually own a motorcycle, grab a pair of sporty black sunglasses. Even better if they come from a gas station on the road.
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