Bolt x Griffin Studios

Clothing has always been a side effect of what i was doing at the time, what my influences were, rather then some mass participatory notion of fashion. Trends seep in and out but the underlining driving force was always subcultures and pastimes.

There have only been a handful of menswear stores in my time in London that have continually inspired me. Zoltar the Magnificent / House 33 on Marshall street Soho completely reconstructed my ideas of what a shop could be. Walking in to monogrammed logos that extended across the carpets, walls and counters instantly hypnotised you, you were in somebodies creative vision, and it wasn't quite right. Looking around there was very little for sale but the uzi machine guns displayed in velvet lined wooded boxes, using the same monogram, caught your attention. Wandering back through the store and you passed through a basement gallery, a toilet pasted in a collage of pornography, a tiny courtyard filled with sculptures and the room at the back. The back room was decorated like a tiny intimate pub but every object, every can of beer, was made of stitched leather. The Hide out in Soho was ahead of its time, bringing in Japanese labels, and the culture of streetwear. Over in West London at the bottom of Portabella market there was Griffin Studios and the best reason to cross town. At the time the war in Iraq was in full pelt and amongst the placards at the anti war rallies you’d see the acid faced reaper of the “wrong war” posters, a collaboration between Banksy and Jeff Griffin. It was the military M65 Blade cut jacket which became the piece that I had to have. The fabric of the jacket was cut by hand creating a camouflage amongst the shadows of material, i’d never seen anything like it. Eventually one came up on the sale rail outside, the fabric was loud, I had enough money and was determined to pull it off.

Years on we are delighted to be working with Griffin Studios on redesigning the motorcycle jacket. There are many jackets that perform well in specific areas but none that offer complete encapsulation and protection. I tend to ride in a leather, layered up with thermal base layers, a Russian tank suit, fisherman socks and merino sweaters. This is fair enough until it rains, then i’ve half an hour of grace until the cold sets in. A jacket should reflect the balance of functionality, design and style in the same way a custom motorcycle. It should be your daily ride with the reliability to perform in remote areas, changing conditions and severe environments.

Jeff Griffin was voted as one of the most influential figures in mens fashion, placed between Givenchy and Gucci by ID magazine’s Fashion Now. He is known for a streamlined luxury, simplicity of design and an innovative use of the latest technologies. What is particularly exciting about this collaboration is that the design is led with the motorcyclist in mind rather then simply inspired by the aesthetic. It is many of the things that you don’t see, the technical fabrics and construction or the armour and abrasion protection, that sets the design apart.

The jacket is inspired by a recent project of Jeff’s for the brand ThruDark. A clothing label born out of the Special Forces and a need for clothing with the highest possible specifications for extreme circumstances. As the worlds most highly skilled operatives undertaking missions of grave proportions their apparel must offer a supreme level of functionality, but of course they also want to look incredible. Taking the same approach the collaboration between Bolt and Griffin will create stylish motorcycling apparel which will offer advanced protection from the elements and the road.

Jeff is away in Italy at the Griffin design laboratory creating the first designs and we will be aiming to launch in the coming year. In the mean time we will be searching out the most extreme climates to ride through to put the samples to the test.


Andrew AlmondComment