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The Jacket
 

Leather jackets have been used by adventurers since the early 1900s, unless you count cowboys in the American West in the late nineteenth century. However, the leather jacket really came into prominence with aviators in the postwar period following World War I. The barnstormers used leather jackets for warmth and protection in case their biplanes sprang hot oil leaks and the like.

Indy’s jacket is inspired by the leather jackets of the 1930s that preceded the advent of the famous A-2 jacket worn by American fighter and bomber pilots in World War II. Indy isn’t the first adventurer to wear a leather jacket with a fedora. Alan Ladd wears this same combination in China as does Charlton Heston in Secret of the Incas.

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These pictures are of an actual Wested from 1999.
Peter Botwright has made improvements since then.

Indiana Jones’ particular jacket, designed by Deborah Nadoolman, was made by Peter Botwright for Berman’s and Nathan’s in London. Peter Botwright, the owner of Wested Leather in London, claims to have the original patterns for the jacket. Many fans have been satisfied with these jackets as authentic reproductions and they can still be purchased from him today at www.wested.com.

Deborah Nadoolman recalls personally aging the original Raiders jacket with Harrison Ford’s pocket knife and a wire brush in Rochelle, France during the filming of the Bantu Wind sequence.

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Indy's leather jacket in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Allegedly, during the production of Temple of Doom, the jackets were cheaply copied by a French company for use in the film. The jacket in the film is around an inch longer than Ford’s more snuggly fitting jacket in Raiders. By Last Crusade, the jacket was once again manufactured by Peter Botwright’s company and made from cowhide instead of the lighter lambskin and a snap button was added to the jacket’s storm flap to keep in closed, more akin to the design of the A2.

 

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