“Women want to look good,” says Sydney designer Hannah Smith. But for women who love riding motorbikes, looking good doesn’t always equate with safety. After seeing too many women “choosing to wear their normal fashion jackets with no protection, when riding,” Smith had an idea.
That idea has turned in to new motorcycle-wear label, Black Arrow, for women who love both fashion and going fast on two wheels.
“The designs are to keep women safe on the road, without sacrificing their sense of style,” says Smith.
What this means is a label where each piece is fitted with removable armour and DuPont Kevlar panels to protect the wearer from abrasion or injury. Whilst the jackets are on the heavier side, Smith says they are comfortable and easy-to-wear. “Most women wouldn’t notice they are wearing protective clothing,” she says.
Rooted in a Western BoHo aesthetic, the first collection oozes strength. Vintage looks are cut with tight tailoring to fit the female form seamlessly, something Smith was determined to bring out in her designs. “It is difficult to find suitable protective clothing that fits the female body…most motorcycle gear is generic, made for male riders, but wearable by women,” she says.
The leather, denim and waxed canvas designs are adorned with intricate tribal-embroidery, including the signature multi-coloured Thunderbird, which Smith says speaks to the place and time she was trying to encapsulate when creating her collection.
In coming months, Black Arrow will release new styles, adding two new jackets and jeans. Smith has also worked on an exclusive fabric using bamboo, jersey and Kevlar for her new leggings and tops.