JAMES GROSE 1876 LONDON
James Grose was originally founded in London in 1876. A successful dealer of motorbikes, bicycles and cycling paraphernalia for the last part of the 19th century and a hefty portion of the 20th century, Grose famously introduced the Grose-Spur motorbike (a simple 123cc or two-stroke two-wheeler with belt final drive) in 1916. These bikes were simple to make from easy to source materials and, as such, suitable for use during World War One when resources were scarce.
By the late 70s Grose had turned its attention away from two-wheel transport in favour of apparel and accessories, opening a sports department store on London’s Great Portland Street. The company closed it doors in 1991 and the name has been almost lost to obscurity: until now.
It was by chance that a Japanese motorcycle fanatic bought a second hand James Grose racing suit on a trip to the UK in 2013. The suit, made to an incredibly high standard from black leather and imbued with a low-key heritage appeal, sparked his curiosity and compelled him to rekindle this almost forgotten brand and breathe new life into it. His aim? To create a superlative collection of luxury leather biker jackets under the James Grose name, to be made entirely in the UK in a family-owned East London factory.
But why biker jackets? James Grose was producing classic biker jackets well into the seventies and they constituted a successful part of the brand’s DNA - so much so, that we believe if they had been able to continue making them they would form an integral part of style culture today. Stands to reason, then, that our CEO has decided to place them at the heart of the resurrected James Grose offering in 2018.
Biker jackets were first seared onto contemporary consciousness when Marlon Brando wore a classic black leather ‘Perfecto’ in 1953’s The Wild One, and James Dean looked every bit the rebel without a cause wearing a biker throughout the mid 1950s. These jackets spoke of youthful liberation, unadulterated cool and a new brand of freewheeling individualism.
The new James Grose Core Collection perfectly embodies these ideals. Available in a host of leathers; from thick cow and horse hide (for country and outdoor use) to softer sheep, lamb and suede (for city wear), and cut in an array of natty colours including black, navy, electric blue, burgundy and mustard, the range is extensive. There are the originals, which James Grose was still producing in the 70s: the classic Manila jacket (which wouldn’t have looked out of place on Brando), the minimal asymmetric zip Ricarde jacket, the belted, band-collar Kansan, the understated Clubman and the belted Georgian biker. There’s also a host of new styles, including the ultra simple, band-collar Racing jacket and the folky, softer-edged Cossack jacket (which comes complete with two patch pockets and stand collar). In short, the range covers every base on the biker jacket spectrum.
New leather options for Spring Summer ’18 include black vegetable tanned sheep leather and cow suedes in camel, an earthy ‘Flint’ hue and the suitably titled ‘London’ grey. In addition to the core range and the aforementioned seasonal additions, customers are also free to create their own bespoke biker jackets, thanks to the fact that Grose controls the entire manufacturing process from beginning to end.