M-65 Field Jacket: The Evolution of a Garment
Just like diver’s watches, the M-65 jacket has made its way from utility apparel to a global style icon. Here’s how the M-65 became a streetwear staple for the ages.
The history of military jackets can be traced remarkably well, especially those of the US Army. After all, these were garments devised for a purpose, featuring highly functional design ideas that were top-notch at the time – and often still are. That is why many of these outfits have become civilian styles that persist. Like flight jackets. Or the M-65.
Innovative at the time, still relevant today
The M-65 Field Jacket was a progression from the M-51 jacket, which itself marked an evolution from the M-43 – and yes, the numbers in these jackets’ names do refer to the year they were first issued by the military. Thus, the M-65 was originally constructed for American soldiers to wear in the Vietnam conflict which the US was entering back then.
The M 41 jacket of the 1940th.
Original M-51 and M-65 Alpha Industries Field Jackets
With its durable and windproof material and detachable inner lining, the jacket was made to withstand the often extreme climates of the Asian country. It also featured a hood that could be rolled into the collar, metal snap buttons and four ample front pockets. And it introduced a new colour tone conceived for the jungle territory: “Olive Green 107”.
From the battle fields to the urban streets
Interestingly, the design and production of the M-65 Field Jacket was handled by Alpha Industries from Knoxville, Tennessee, who also did the iconic MA-1 flight jacket. Most of Alpha Industries’ creations were initially part of a contract with the Department of Defense and have since never really left the stage. So much for extraordinary practical design.
As the US soldiers were coming home, they brought their trusty M-65s with them and introduced the jacket to the streets of the West. By wearing it at protest marches and events, veterans like John Kerry – who would later go on to become a US presidential candidate – turned the military garment into a symbol for peace and the counter-culture.
Making its mark as a style statement
Even today, this transition can be traced back to some very famous movies of the time. Woody Allen as Alvy Singer in “Annie Hall”, Al Pacino as Frank Serpico in “Serpico” or Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle in “Taxi Driver” – New Hollywood’s finest wore the M-65 jacket in these seminal roles that would define them as post-modern American heroes.
Over the decades, the M-65 has secured its place as a style staple. Sturdy, yet soft and comfortable, and multi-functional, yet simple and elegant – the clean layout of the garment and its timeless appeal have made it a classic silhouette that never goes out of style. That’s why designers from all over the globe return to the M-65 time and time again.
M-65 Field Jacket decorated with the names of many underground bands, 1990th
Versatile and timeless, robust and inspiring
Whether on the catwalks of high fashion maestros like Marc Jacobs or Saint Laurent, in the lookbooks from global streetwear powerhouses like Carhartt WIP or Supreme or as pick from the racks of the local army surplus store – the M-65 Field Jacket is made to last and here to stay, even more than fifty years after being first commissioned by the military.
left: Ralph Lauren – right: SUPREME
left:Saint Laurent – right: Tom Ford
The M-65 Field Jacket has become a timeless style statement – a statement that we at Bulang and Sons aim to emphasize with our very own exclusive M-65 Collection!