Lewis Leathers


Firstly we need to identify the 'Lewis Leathers' brand this museum is dedicated too. Confusingly there is another 'Lewis' making Leather and other motorcycle apparel. The pictures below show their logo for comparison, no inference should be drawn as to the quality of these products by the lack of coverage on this site, as they are thought to be equally good.
Often eBay sellers use the words 'Lewis' style in their description of unbranded or sometime branded items, inferring they are copies of a style originally designed by Lewis Leathers. I have seen no evidence to suggest Lewis were the forerunners of the style of jacket with quilted shoulders. This museum contains items from a number of manufacturers with similar styles. But who copied who is unclear.

Lewis Leathers Internal Labels

Lewis Leathers - Inner Label Aviakit - Inner Label

Lewis Leathers External Labels

Oblong Outer Label Oval Outer Label With Wings Oval Outer Label Without Wings
Earlier garments had an oblong rather than oval external label. The Aviakit wings were later dropped from the outer oval label. On trousers it is not unusual to find the print on the logo completely worn away by the owner's belt.

Sold by Lewis Leathers

Metal Label
This metal label was attached to a leather jacket made by 'Kett' and sold by Lewis under their own name. The cardboard garment care labels mention Kett but not Lewis, and the garments are of a completely different design. Similar labels can be found on jeans too. Presumably this started when the company was owned by the Newbold family (see Company History below) While these garments seem to be of good quality, owning one is not quite like owning a classic 'Lewis Leathers' item and consequently have a lower value to the collector.

The "other" Lewis Brand Labels

Another company trading as 'Lewis' make motorcycle gear but without the word 'Leathers' their garments can be easily distinguished as the font of the word 'Lewis' is very different in appearance to the classic vintage labels in 'Lewis Leathers' items.
Inner Label of the other Lewis Brand Inner Label of the other Lewis Brand Outer Labels of the other Lewis Brand

Lewis Leathers Company History

Old D Lewis label
The company was founded in 1892 by Mr D Lewis who had premises at 124 Great Portland Street, London. They started making Leather garments for flying and motorcycle use in 1929. The original items bore a label like this one from a flying helmet.
Lewis Leathers made their name after WW2 selling motorcycle gear. Although Lewis were a London company they had shops in various towns including one in Birmingham at the old Nineteen Sixties Bullring, shutting many years before the place was demolished to make way for the current shopping centre. Lewis were well known for their high quality leathers bearing the label Aviakit inside and an oval Lewis Leathers patch externally, but as prices increased in the eighties they introduced a cheaper range which although it bore the same label, was of noticeable lower quality. This coincided with the shops and trademarks being sold to a series of owners.
• 1981 Acquired by Ward White.
• 1982 Becomes a subsidiary of Easyrider Motorcycle Clothing, owned by the Newbold family who also owned the 'Kett' brand of motorcycle clothing.
• 1983 Lewis Leathers acquire 'Highwayman' leathers.
• 1986 Richard Lyon buys Lewis Leathers.
• 1993 Original shop at 124 Portland Street closed.
• 2003 Lewis Leathers sold to current owner in June.
The company has returned to making high quality garments is the styles of yesteryear and their website shows how to distinguish the differences between the vintage garments with those of today.