JOSH SIRLIN’S OWN LEATHER JACKET CREATION IS WORN BY KEVIN COSTNER IN US HIT TV SHOW
Josh Sirlin has taken the IWC JOURNAL on wild rides across the globe. On his 1948 Harley-Davidson Panhead, together we roared through Malibu and the Grand Canyon and hit the waves in Santa Cruz; we got thrillingly uncomfortable in an MD500c helicopter in Colorado and clenched our teeth during a traditional Japanese tattoo session in Tokyo. Next, Josh will be taking us to Yellowstone – not the National Park, but the hugely popular US TV series about a Montana Ranch.
Starring Kevin Costner and premiering in 2018, the show has become a must-see surprise-hit TV show – both in the United States and beyond. In November 2022, Yellowstone broke records with more than 12 million viewers tuning in to watch the premiere of season 5. In the series, Kevin Costner, who plays ranch owner John Dutton, wears one of Josh Sirlin’s designed ivory colored leather jackets.
The IWC JOURNAL spoke with the Creative Director of the Black Bear Brand about how the collab came about.
NOD TO THE AMERICAN WILD WEST
How did Kevin Costner end up wearing your designed jacket on ‘Yellowstone’?
I think it was nearly four years ago, I was introduced to Johnetta Boone by a buddy and famous Western photographer. Johnetta and I got on right away; she’s a rock star in the world of style and the Costume Designer of Yellowstone. Over the following few years, we kept in touch on the fun stuff each of us was up to (Johnetta and her husband are avid motorcycle riders and live a wildly interesting life).
Winter 2021, I made the 1st Ivory Western jacket for me. Then I was off on an adventure in Japan wearing my new design. I shared a photo from Japan with Johnetta and it sparked something. She mentioned she had a special place for it and was waiting for the opportunity to present itself. Well, it did. After I returned from Japan, we met and now here we are.
The neat part about that story is the depth; from what brought us together; the friendships that are a part of it… all the way to the story behind the leather. For this jacket, everything for this jacket was done here in the US, which is also important for the fact this is my nod to the American Wild West.
For Josh the sky is the limit
The Creative Director of the Black Bear Brand riding through Utah
Josh Sirlin on his 1948 Harley Davidson Panhead
Modeling his ivory-colored Western jacket made of horsehide
How did the production of the ‘Yellowstone jacket’ come about?
It started with the leather.
I reached out to Horween Tannery nearly eight years ago. I was on a quest to find the best place for me to get leather in the US. One day by luck, when I called Horween, I ended up on the phone with the owner and family patriarch, Skip Horween. We talked about skiing, football and boats and became friends.
Within a few months, I was in the tannery, and the journey of making my first leather good had begun. Now… jumping seven years later, whenever I have a wild idea and design with leather, my first call is to Horween. About two years ago… my call to Horween was about a new color that I wanted: Ivory… which became this jacket.
Behind the scenes at Horween Tannery
Horween Leather Company has made high-quality leather since 1905
Processing finest horsehide leather by hand
It’s an ivory leather jacket, which is little bit of poke in the eye to all these bad boys and the standard black
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Glimpse of green: Josh’s jacket features Japanese Cupra Lining
THE ONE JAPANESE ELEMENT
How did you start the design process?
Originally, I designed this jacket just for me - like I normally do within my design process. It’s very selfish and childish but that’s just how I work. I wanted that green Cupra lining (Editor’s note: a silk-like fabric that is made from a cellulose fiber and treated with cuprammonium salt) which is the one Japanese element that I do bring into that jacket. When that color combination came together, the jacket started to come to life.
Tell us more about the leather.
From the beginning, I wanted this off-white, pearl-ish ivory color on horsehide, which I thought would provide a really cool patina and wear and add an additional amount of history, and the jacket is worn and beat up. But that was not a leather color that Horween usually created.
So, I kept pounding on them until they created a leather sample for me that was initially going to be for the seat of a motorcycle. After that, I was fixated and convinced them to create more of the leather with that ivory color. So, finally I was able to make this jacket that I envisioned.
It started when I was a kid – like many American kids. We watch Western movies and dream of being a cowboy
Your favorite design details?
The leather is probably my favorite thing. It’s an ivory leather jacket, which is little bit of poke in the eye to all these bad boys and the standard black. You’re not supposed to wear light-colored leather, but I’m like “Yeah, you are. It’s cool!” Besides that, the jacket has two concealed pockets. In addition to being cool, they’re super functional.
Is it designed for men, only?
I’ve seen women wear this jacket and it looks amazing – it doesn’t have any restrictions. Which is kind of the Wild West too right? Women can look beautiful in this jacket, and a man can look tough as **** in this jacket.
NATURAL ESSENCE OF THE AMERICAN WEST
What does this jacket embody to you?
A lot of my designs are extensions of me. I like when things are natural: The leather is not over-processed and you can actually see that it was a healthy horse which was well-treated and well-fed. It’s rugged, but it’s still refined. It’s this collision, which I love and naturally come out in what I design: these two opposites make each other better. The ivory-colored horsehide. It’s got the natural essence of the American West, in my opinion.
“The Wild West is wild, rough and romantic.”
Tell us more about your fascination of the Wild West.
It started when I was a kid – like many American kids. We watch Western movies and dream of being a cowboy. As I got older, I connected the Wild West with adventure and freedom. Those things are a big part of my life. The influences around me contributed, too: I put myself in the position to see and become friends with some folks that are the real deal. I’ve been able to take a peek into their world. It’s all I dreamed of and so much more. The Wild West is wild, rough and romantic. The more I see and experience, the more fascinated I become.
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