Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Buzz Rickson's "Pattern Recognition" Black MA-1

I finished reading William Gibson's Pattern Recognition a few weeks ago. Great Book. Read it. Gibson's foray into the mainstream is just as compelling and thought provoking as his sf work. But that’s not what I'm talking about today. I've become slightly infatuated with Buzz Rickson's reproductions of US flying jackets. The main character, Cayce Pollard, wears a black Buzz Rickson's MA-1 reproduction. It's her prize possession.

As I read the book I became convinced that Buzz Rickson’s must be a real company or at least based on one. I lived in Japan for more than 5 years and met more that my share of military fetishists. One thing I learned about the Japanese is that they don't have hobbies. They have obsessions. They don't do anything halfway, so Gibson's descriptions of Cayce Pollard's jacket and the company that made it rang very true to me. A quick trip to google and I had over 4500 sites to visit. Buzz Rickson’s was a real company. It only took one to set me off.

The thing about Cayce is that she has a mental allergy to brand names and trademarks. They give her fits. The Buzz Rickson's, in it's purity as an object of almost worship by it's makers, doesn't trigger her attacks. It's an anti-fashion statement. Not anymore. See, the MA-1 was never manufactured in black. The original jacket was a sage green. Maybe William Gibson didn't know. Maybe he didn't care. It doesn't matter.

Buzz Rickson's now makes a black MA-1. They were flooded by requests for a jacket that never existed by fans of the book. They have responded by creating a limited edition "Pattern Recognition" MA-1. Cayce Pollard's anti-fashion statement has become a fashion statement.

I wonder, do the people who buy this jacket burn a hole in the shoulder with a cigarette as soon as it arrives in the post?

Now the sad part. I want one. I won't buy one. I could never spend $455 on a piece of clothing. But I really want one. It is a truly cool jacket.

We are all lemmings going over the cliff.



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