When Kim Kardashian wore an unreleased Alpinestars x Balenciaga motorcycle jacket the night before the latter’s SS24 presentation at Paris Fashion Week, the personality-cum-activist inadvertently announced the Italian motorsports brand’s current moment.
If you don’t already know, “having a moment” in the world of fashion means everyone is talking about – wearing, collaborating with – a particular brand. Whether that’s off the back of an impressive collection, a hyped product, or being a part of a burgeoning trend, all eyes are on the same thing.
Whichever it is — the latter, in this case — the brand in question rides the metaphorical wave. On the incoming tide this season we have Alpinestars, the storied Italian motorsports label which is beginning to find its footing away from the world of sport.
For a brand founded almost sixty years ago, whose DNA lies in high-end performance apparel and roots began in the production of protective boots, Alpinestars’ fashion overlap has been a long time coming.
Even the brand’s “One Goal, One Vision” tag line, which derives from a drive to constantly push the boundaries of what’s possible, suggests that Alpinestars was never going to settle and that a move into everyday fashion was always on the cards.
Up until now though, Alpinestars has been known only for uniforming the likes of MotoGP World Champions Marc Márquez and Casey Stoner and World Superbike Champions Ben Spies and Troy Corser. To date, Alpinestars has remained firmly in its lane and put little-to-no energy into the concerns of the everyday dresser.
The emergence of Alpinestars-sponsored athlete Jett Lawrence (motorsports’ new It boy), has certainly amplified the label’s non-performance stature and also began blurring the lines between functional apparel and ready-to-wear, such is Lawrence’s allure (a fascinating profile for another day).
The jacket Kardashian wore, though, which is officially titled the Upcycled Racer Jacket, is a prime example of the aforementioned fusion.
The look, which is a part of a collection that was teased during Balenciaga’s SS24 presentation in Paris, not only builds on the Spanish house’s focus on motorcycle-inspired designs but takes its exploration one step further by linking with a stalwart in the world of motorcycle apparel in Alpinestars.
Such is the rise of motorsports apparel of late, Alpinestars’ impending moment couldn’t have been more well-timed. You only have to look at Casablanca’s recent SS24 presentation, for example – the leather jackets, the helmets – or the myriad of biker looks we saw from AMBUSH and on the runways from Gucci, Ottolinger, and Jil Sander in FW23 to understand.
As impressive a resume as Alpinestars may have on the track, away from a performance standpoint, the brand’s casual fashion had always been non-existent. Sure, it’s always has potential, it simply just went untapped.
Recently, though, Alpinestars has rolled out a soft-launch of sorts with names like Billie Eilish, Jaden Smith, and Travis Scott all spotted wearing the label on various occasions. A recent collaboration with Anti Social Social Club, the Los Angeles-based outfit, did no harm in raising the brand’s streetwear credentials.
But in the wake of a Kardashian debuting Alpinestars’ most high-profile collaboration to date alongside Balenciaga, the label’s moment is imminent.
Will this be the year of mad leather jackets? We shall see. All we can say for now is that, in the past, when something starts out with a Balenciaga collab, the end result seldom disappoints.