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Knox – famous for its motorcycle armour  – used the Birmingham NEC Motorcycle Live show to reveal a brilliant new range of clothing – the Knox Studio Collection.

We’re all used to bulky bike jackets that can look good on the bike, but not so great as casual wear – take the armour out and the fit is lost; leave it in and it looks, well, like a bike jacket. Knox’s new range of textile, leather and wax-cotton jackets fit over an armoured base-layer. Without the armour, an ingenious zip system allows the slack to be taken up, creating a perfect fitting and stylish casual jacket.

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Besides the fact that you can now buy one beautifully designed jacket for riding and casual wear, using an armoured vest guarantees that your protection is kept in place if you are unlucky enough to come off. This can be combined with a quilted or Cold Killers mid-layer to create a truly versatile clothing system.

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The wax-cotton and textile jackets have a double-zip running on both sides of the jacket, from the hip, up to the armpit, and right back down to the cuff. When closed, the jacket fits comfortably as day-to-day wear, but when open it becomes large enough to accommodate the armour and a mid-layer. The leather jacket uses a removable section, but works in exactly the same way.

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The ‘All Sports’ textile jacket features highly abrasion resistant panels at the shoulders and elbows, along with useful pockets and vents, and costs £225. The ‘Leonard’ wax-cotton version is £229; while wax-cotton with leather trim is £249. The ‘Roscoe’ full grain leather jacket costs £350. The range is available in both lady’s and gent’s cuts.

Armoured base layers start at £100, while a quilted mid-layer costs £40, with the Cold Killers at £60.

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Beside casual use, the fully waterproof All-Sports jacket could be used for walking, hiking, skiing, snow-boarding and much more. The wax-cotton version has been cleverly designed to give all the style of wax-cotton, but with the 100% waterproof practicality of a membrane and taped seams. The wax coating never needs reapplying, and is completely washable.

Available direct from www.planet-knox.com in February, full details are on the site.

 

 

Meet the designer…

The range has been designed in-house by April Travell, a 2010 graduate of the London College of Fashion with a BA in Womenswear and Surface Textiles, she’s worked with some of the top names, including Jaeger and Aquascutum. The Studio Collection has been an idea within the company for a couple of years, but it really started in earnest when Geoff and Margaret Travell, (Geoff founded Knox in 1981 after a race crash at Snetterton, and works with his wife and son Aaron), convinced their daughter to join the family business. After taking her to the the Milan show in 2013, she started work on the new kit…

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“Living in London, I’ve seen the a new breed of biker rapidly growing in numbers – the café racer market is really getting large now, and with more and more people taking to everything from scooters for cheap and easy transport, to custom riders and adventurers, the time was right for the Studio Collection. Nobody has yet matched the clothing style with the bikes. I really wanted to create the perfect image that goes with these machines. 

“Buying one of these jackets, you’re investing in something you can wear anywhere – take the armour out and it doesn’t look like a sack of potatoes. You can love wearing it every day, wherever you are. Feel proud of your jacket. On the bike, with the armour fitted, it still looks great too; when we were shooting our promotional video, it was really important to me that in all of the shots, where the models are on or near the bikes, they’ve got the armour and insulation underneath. Armour doesn’t have to look bulky – it can look incredibly stylish”

“With the Wax and the All Sports, they’re 100% waterproof, so I want somebody to be wearing that walking up a mountain; I want them to be wearing that in town; I want them to wear it out on the bike; I want them to wear it literally anywhere. I really tried to design it so that it becomes your favourite jacket regardless of whether you’re on or off the bike.

“You can’t  go cheap, because then you get rubbish fabrics, but equally we didn’t want to alienate anyone, because I need to create something that I want to wear, and as a consumer I can look at and say ‘£230? That’s less than a normal casual wool jacket, and it’s waterproof, and it’s made out of really good quality fabrics with crafted trim and details. And I can stick it in the wash.’ I really wanted to keep this accessible. Even if you’re buying the whole system at once, the most expensive complete option would be about £500, but that’s for a jacket that looks great, and you really can wear it anywhere.

“There’s no way to make a traditional wax jacket with a waterproof membrane, so we’ve worked hard to first bond the membrane to the fabric, then it’s a special real wax finish that goes on it, before it goes through several special washes to give it the exact finish it has. With a traditional wax jacket, you have to spend ages looking after it, but with this just stick it in the wash. 

“We toyed with the idea of making the leather jacket waterproof, but to add a membrane to it makes it really stiff, and people don’t tend to wear a leather jacket to be waterproof. Plus the leather would hold the water and become really sodden.”

With motorcycles now sometimes costing less than a year’s travel in London, more and more people are turning to two wheels. April’s designs are stunning – check them out at the Motorcycle Live show stand.

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Tony Carter

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