Austin Butler’s new ‘Masters of the Air’ show sends aviator jackets flying off shelves

After Austin Butler was seen sporting the piece in his new war drama, sales of aviator jackets have been booming.

Austin Butler

Austin Butler’s new ‘Masters of the Air’ show has sparked a surge in aviator jacket sales.

The ‘Elvis’ actor, 32, stars alongside Barry Keoghan, 31, and Callum Turner, 34, in the Apple TV+ series, based on the 2007 book of the same name by Donald L Miller, which follows the actions of the 100th Bomb Group – a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber unit in the Eighth Air Force in eastern England during World War II.

According to the high street retailer John Lewis, searches for the aviator jackets in the style of those worn by the series’ stars have soared 68% since this time last year – and luxury brands say they have seen sales of their versions of the pieces triple in the same period.

Damien Paul, head of online menswear firm Matches Fashion, told The Guardian about the trend: “The sexy older brother of a shearling coat, the aviator jacket is a wardrobe staple that stands the test of time.”

The original aviators, known as B-3 bomber jackets, were designed for World War II bomber crews and were crafted from leather or sheepskin and trimmed with leather belts as an extra defence against the cold.

They also featured outsized collars, which could be popped up to protect from freezing temperatures.

Pilots’ trousers in World War II were often also made of sheepskin, as fighters could find themselves operating in temperatures as low as –40C.

Christopher Bastin, creative director of the Gant brand, added: “The storytelling around B-3 bomber jackets is unrivalled. The style has been worn and immortalised by a host of elite style icons.”

Among the stars to sport the piece in real life are Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Marlon Brando and Brad Pitt.

Menswear expert Zachary Weiss said he believes the jacket’s current popularity has to do with the drama of the garment’s origins, adding: “There’s a new swath of brands getting onboard with aviator jackets right now, and I think that could be due to the garment’s quite theatrical nature.

“We’ve entered an era of statement dressing in menswear, in which every man is the star of his own film. So why not play the role of aviation hero for the day?”

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