Indian Motorcycle has recently launched an interesting series of videos on its YouTube channel, which, I’ll admit, induce a certain amount of eye rolling but are interesting if not simply for their attempt to gently – perhaps too gently – expand the definition of what a motorcyclist is within the “traditional” scene.
YOU, TOO, CAN LOOK COOL
Bedeck Yourself In TMO Gear
The series – the purpose of which isn’t terribly well explained on its accompanying web pages – covers a road trip undertaken by four women in New Mexico last November. The whole thing was filmed by Iron & Air, the $15-an-issue magazine that… uhm… I honestly don’t know that much about because I’ve never bought an issue*. But I met one of its writers a few years ago and he seemed cool. And from what I’ve heard the magazine is visually superior to any other moto mag you’ll find. Which is probably why Indian turned to its skill in covering this ride.
Although the theoretical purpose of the trip isn’t explained, its marketing purpose is pretty clear. This is very much like the video lookbooks that Iron & Resin used to do – emotive, soft-light videos that don’t ever mention the products. Kind of like the Abercrombie & Fitch catalogs of 20+ years ago. Iron & Resin is a clothing brand. No, I don’t know whether it is in any way linked to Iron & Air, though certainly both entities have similar names, are based in California, target the same customer and use similar fonts. If you can offer any insight, please do.
Nonetheless, the same thing is happening here, with the four women effectively serving as models in an audio-visual accessories and clothing catalog of Indian Scout-related products. Though, it’s worth noting that the amount of Indian Motorcycle clothing they’re wearing is minimal because, in fact, Indian’s clothing offerings for women are pretty poor. Taking a look at the apparel section of Indian’s website, there is just one riding jacket for women – a textile mesh item that, if we’re honest, probably wouldn’t be all that useful in a crash**. Everything else is leather vests and casual clothing with “flattering fit” listed as a KSP.
Leather vests. Nothing helps progress the idea of women as legitimate members of the motorcycling community like a “flattering” leather vest.
Fortunately, none of these women are wearing one. But can we stop and talk about Darwin Longfellow’s leather overalls? Because that look is fire. No, seriously. I want some of those. Where do I find something like that? Is that something you have to get specially made? Perhaps when I next have a chunk of money for gear I’ll ask Hideout to make something similar. Imagine how cosy they’d be – a pain in the ass when you have to go potty, but everything requires compromise, I suppose. And while we’re at it, I am also digging the “wool sweater with leather” look she is pulling off. I think it may be time for me to finally give in and buy one of those Goldtop turtlenecks (made in the UK).
Sorry, what were we talking about? Oh, yeah: hip, strong, beautiful and independent women riding pricey, accessorized bikes in New Mexico. The Americana music, desert landscapes, soft light, stylish gear and sisterhood hugs feel over the top at times. Certainly it all seems somewhat out of step with the world at the moment. I mean, with every day producing yet another piece of oh-my-god-we’re-doomed economic news who the fuck cares about Stage 1 exhausts?
So, it’s cliché in tone and poorly timed, but I think points should still be awarded for the fact Indian has decided to have a group of women serve as the face of one of its platforms. White women who are all within their optimal BMI, but women nonetheless. Well, actually, Lee Dawn Hershey, who describes herself as “gender fluid,” might accuse me of patriarchal oversimplification, but you get my point. There are no dudes here, which is counter to the way motorcycles are usually sold. Harley-Davidson has done similar stuff, but outside of those two I can’t think of manufacturers that feature women as riders. More often than not they are simply pictured as passengers or onlookers who are soooo impressed with the fact you’re riding a new Kawasaki.
I’m hoping this series manifests in more than what we’ve seen so far. It seems like an interesting idea that hasn’t yet been fully explored.
* In writing this article I decided to change that and have ordered one of the publication’s back copies.
** Maybe it is, but I always have my doubts about textile mesh jackets.