The run-of-the-mill bomber had its time in the spotlight, but the trendiest jacket of the moment is the wannabe souvenir jacket. My friend Seth Weisser, owner of What Goes Around Comes Around, has been collecting them for over 25 years. Actually, I scored mine from his cooler-than-thou store in SoHo, frequented by the likes of Katy Perry and Rihanna. You can now pick up a not inaccurate though admittedly knockoff version of its vintage counterparts at Topshop; Olivia Palermo already did and she styled it right. As for the originals, I decided to ask Seth to decipher the root of this East-meets-West trend:
Tina: Tell me about souvenir jackets. What’s their significance?
Seth: These souvenir jackets were first created in the 1940s as mementos for U.S. military personnel stationed around the world. They are extremely unique, and many of the older ones are reversible. A lot came out of Japan and have traditional Japanese symbols such as tigers, eagles, and dragons. Very collectible ones came from rare locations including Alaska and Hawaii. Many are customized and one-of-a-kind.
Tina: Mine says Gibraltar on the back. What does that mean?
Seth: Yours is from the ’40s or ’50s and very rare. VERY. The name is from a base where only a few were made. Yours is also reversible, which is awesome; it makes it more valuable.
Tina: Why did you start collecting souvenir jackets? And for how long now?
Seth: I started collecting them 25 years ago for one, because they are super cool and very high-fashion and also because they are highly sought-after by both military members and vintage collectors.
Tina: You were so ahead of the trend. What do you think of these “inspired” high-street jackets coming out now?
Seth: Many of the designers and labels producing these now were inspired by our collection.
Tina: There’s nothing like the real thing, right?
Check out Seth’s collection at What Goes Around Comes Around at 351 West Broadway in New York. Call them at 212-343-1225.
Topshop Two-In-One Reversible Sateen Bomber Jacket (at Topshop for $160)
Jonathan Saunders Cecily Bomber Jacket (on Farfetch for $2,608.90)
Chloé Leopard Embroidered Bomber Jacket (on Farfetch for $2,379.63)
Diesel Eagle Print Bomber Jacket (on Farfetch for $552.14)
Opening Ceremony Bonsai Embroidered Silk Bomber (at Saks Fifth Avenue for $525)
Photo Credit: Collage Vintage