Select Page

Marlon Brando Fashion Lookbooks And Denim Jeans Icon

Marlon Brando was one of the most pop culture icons from the 1950s. Together with James Dean and Marilyn Monroe Brando was the most rebellious. His fashion style was raw, unwashed denim jeans, turn-ups, engineering boots, white t-shirt and worn black leather jacket, Marlon Brando signature outfit.

In the 1950s the economy was growing strong after World War II and, for the first time in history, the young generation could keep what they earned themselves before the war youngsters worked to support the family. For the first time, they had money to spend for themselves. However, no targeted products such as records, magazines, fashion, entertainment, movies and motorbikes existed for the new generation. Nothing made or advertised to teenagers at the beginning of the 1950s. It was a massive gap in the market, hardly anything for teenagers to buy. Marketers soon seized the opportunities to make profits, and fastly constructed products made for teenagers.

James, Elvis, Marilyn and Brando

The 1950s should be the first decade of youth culture and iconised products at the start of pop culture. Marlon Brando besides James Dean, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe became the voices of a new generation, idolised and admired by the youngsters. The actors and rock stars wore denim jeans. A trend among teenagers, although the older generation disliked jeans. Because the Hollywood stylist found a rebellious look and dressed, filmstars such as Marlon Brando in a new and fresh way. Criminals and outsiders wear almost something. 

In many states across the US, jeans were forbidden to wear at schools, colleges and universities. Of course, the ban increased the popularity of the denim style. Today jeans the mainstream style and one of pop culture foremost icons. They were worn rebellious ever since by the youth cultural movements, in different ways, such as the hippie’s movement, punks culture, rockers, bikers, mods and skinheads.

Marlon Brando regarded one of America’s finest and most important actors in American cinema history. He is one of three professional actors named by Time magazine as the most persons of the Century in 1999, and the two other actors were Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe. He was born in 1924 and died in 2004 covering almost the period of cinema culture and represented more than any other actor the style of rebellious youth.

Marlon Brando Fashion Lookbooks Denim Style

Marlon Brando Fashion Lookbooks Denim Style

Marlon Brando a symbol of American youth culture

Marlon Brando became the style icon in the most critical decade for the pop culture of the 1950s. The youth movies such as “On the Waterfront” (1953), “The Wild One”, “Rebel With A Cause” (1955), “A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951)and “Jailhouse Rock” became the voice of teenage delusions, angst and rebelliousness against the parents’ generation. Besides, the new rock-music with icons such as Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly made the package complete.

The movies and music became a reaction to the post-war mania the grown-ups fear of uncertainty and security; they did not understand the youngsters anymore. Marlon Brando was acting as a rebel and played the role of the classic outsider that did not fit-in society, his rebellious attitude and style of fashion became cool. Marlon Brando’s popularity as a cultural icon has grown ever since he is the scope of American culture.

In the 1950s fashion style was neat and pretty, men wore suits, casual pants, hats and woman’s knee-length skirts, stockings, floral fabric and tight pants. Wearing jeans and t-shirts (underwear) was unthinkable. The adult generation listens to big-bands playing on the radio, and everything was clean and neat. Nevertheless, from the underground came another darker colour threatened the warm pastels, soon the parents did not recognise their own teenager’s code of style or rebellious attitude.

Not only in the movies did Marlon Brando wear jeans but off-screen, James Dean did the same. Because of the adverse reaction from parents and media denim jeans became banned in schools from coast to coast, which only added the popularity of denim style, teenagers simple embraced jeans. The Hollywood designers let all bad-guy characters in the movies wear denim jeans, and soon it became a symbol representing the radical counterculture. A culture represented by young American soldiers returning from War abroad drove around the US on motorbikes while expected to fit into society, getting married, have children and buy a house in the suburbs as their parents did.

The Wild One

Then out of nowhere came the movie “The Wild One” on the big screen and made headlines in media, of course, people crowded to the Movie theatres. Marlon Brando plays the main character, Johnny, walking in a swaggering rebellious way wearing the classic trademarks of a true rebel, black-leather jacket, black shades, white T-shirt, aviator’s cap, dark, raw denim jeans, black gloves and industrial engineering boots, a style sooner adopted by bikers, rockers and punks. The popularity of brands such as Lee 101 Rider Jeans and the original Levi Vintage Jeans 501 unwashed from 1954.

In the movie “The Wild One“, sideburned Johnny (Marlon Brando) leads a gang of 40 black leather-jacket motorcyclists, they ride in a tight squadron formation setting the tone of voice. The free-spirited Black Rebels Motorcycle Club with the big letters BRMC of the back of the leather jackets, it shows a skull above two crossed pistons, ever since nothing else illustrates better the brotherhood in a motorcycle gang. The Black Rebel Motorcycle Club is about to legitimate motorcycle race competition in the small-town city Carbonville; motorcycle gangs ever since have their codes and symbols for example Banditos and Hells Angels, these logos stand for respect, brotherhood and freedom.

The sales of motorcycles and black leather jackets were exploding. They reached all-time after “The Wild One” was released, vehicles (especially Triumph and Harley Davidson) became a symbol of the outsider and youth rebellions. The film poster showing Brando leaning on his motorbike a 1953 Triumph Thunderbird 6T, one of the most iconic, best-selling and first super-bike, made. Marlon Brando became a reaction to the post-war mania people had for security, finally, being different and an outsider fresh.

Marlon Brando Fashion Lookbooks And Denim Jeans Style

Marlon Brando Fashion Style DNA

    • Style Line Rider Caps is making the Starburst Motorcycle Rider’s Cap, otherwise hard to find.
    • Levi’s Vintage 501 Jeans 1954 unwashed raw denim style made by Cone Mills 12 oz denim
    • T-shirts and a tank top
    • Crew neck t-shirts regular fit not worn tight, arms slightly rolled-up, size important
    • White classic cotton t-shirts with no graphics
    • American brands such as Fruit of the Loom, Lee, Wrangler, Hanes and Levi Strauss
    • Levi’s Vintage Replica (LVC) Marlon Brando Tee, chest pocketed cotton-jersey quality
    • American Schott NYC Perfecto black leather jacket, motorcycle-style
    • Frye Engineer Boots, Industrial style with the steel toe
    • Aviator style sunglasses
    • Motorcycle gloves vintage style

Sources and Useful Information

%d bloggers like this: