Scottish vintage clothing company to dress Hollywood stars for World War II blockbuster

George Clooney is amongst those to be kitted out by Ken Calder's Aero Leather
George Clooney is amongst those to be kitted out by Ken Calder's Aero Leather
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A SMALL Scottish vintage clothing manufacturer is set to dress some of Hollywood’s hottest stars for a new Second World War blockbuster.

Galashiels-based clothing designer Aero Leather has been commissioned to come up with period jackets for Hollywood A-lister George Clooney for the film The Monuments Men.

Founder of Aero Leather, Ken Calder. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Founder of Aero Leather, Ken Calder. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

“It’s set in the 1940s, and they want us to recreate the jacket that the main character will be wearing,” said company founder Ken Calder. “We were approached by their costume department to do it.”

Mr Calder said that filmmakers had a habit of altering the original designs of period jackets for fashion’s sake, but that on this occasion they had wanted something faithful to the period.

He said: “They didn’t want to mess with the styling, which is often the problem – for instance, like the designs in The Aviator and Memphis Belle – and the jacket turns out nothing like it was meant to, and it just looks a fiasco.

“On this occasion though, they wanted to keep it faithful, so this is perfect for what we do.”

Mr Calder said that it was also likely the company would be producing a similar piece for Clooney’s co-star Daniel Craig, although that deal was yet to be finalised.

Prototypes of the A-2 flight jacket will be made up before the screen jackets are produced – though it is unlikely that the stars will turn up in Galashiels for a fitting, instead just sending their measurements.

The film, set for release next year, tells the story of a group of art experts – called the Monuments Men – chosen by the US government, who risked their lives scouring Europe to retrieve artwork stolen by the Nazis.

Co-written and directed by Clooney, the movie is based on the book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M Edsel.

It follows the 11-month period between D-Day and VE Day, during which the group worked behind enemy lines and were often unarmed.

Clooney and Craig head a star-studded cast, which includes Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville and French actor Jean Dujardin, who won an Oscar for his role in The Artist.

A-2 jackets have a cult following around the world, with aficionados collecting the many styles and fittings that were produced over the decades.

Aero specialises in producing jackets using pre-war tanning processes and types of leathers such as horsehide that give them a distinctive vintage character and colour.

Craig is already known to be a fan of Aero, along with House star Hugh Laurie and rapper Puff Daddy.

Mike Sicoli, co-founder of FilmJackets.com, a website devoted to cataloguing and sourcing jackets worn by actors in movies, said: “Film, and the wardrobe that popular and even unpopular actors wear, has been a huge influence on fashion as far back as James Dean’s red windbreaker in Rebel Without A Cause, and Marlon Brando’s leather motorcycle jacket in The Wild One.”

FilmJacket.com co-founder Rick Theriault, agreed: “The overall look of a character speaks to people more than anything, and they want to emulate part, or all, of the character’s wardrobe and assimilate it into their own style. Even if a film does poorly, it is not uncommon for people to ask about a jacket that a character wore.”

Mr Theriault said that to benefit financially from the appearance of their designs in a film, the company has to market the jacket properly.

But Mr Calder said while being associated with Hollywood A-listers was not bad for business, he was loath to advertise on the back of it.