The story of Belstaff is a story of speed: of the automobile, of the motorcycle, of the plane. Founded in 1924 in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, the British brand has long elided function into fashion, creating garments both tied to vehicular activity and suitable for the street.
As the label prepares for its centenary year in 2024, it has been delving back into its own past. The Belstaff Archive now holds 150 pieces, many of which carry tales of their own. There is a 1920s tent, an early example of the "Bell tent" typology whose name was derived from the brand, and a Second World War map case.
The collection's clothing, modelled to the right, provoke similar yarns. A 1930s air ministry flying suit, for example, is one of the first examples of rubberised linen cotton, a lesser-known cousin to the brand's development of wax cotton. A more casual item, a customised 1950s trash leather motorcycle jacket, shows how Belstaff's purview slides between work and play.