Alpha Industries was originally contracted to manufacture the official Airforce and Navy shirts in 1959. They entered the commercial market in 1970 to keep themselves afloat between government contracts. This lead the company to transform a practical innovation into one of the biggest wardrobe staples of our time. Branching into the commercial market was a game changer for the company, celebrities from Marylin Monroe in the 1950’s to Kardashians today have been key influences of the brand. “This also highlights the 55-year legacy of the brand. Key selling points have been the actual history of the jacket, and the legacy it’s created,” explained Moe Bahadur, managing director of Alpha Industries NZ. Other modern fashion icons, such as Gigi Hadid, have showed their genuine appreciation and love for the brand through social media. Bahadur said that they are possibly one of the very few brands that is actively promoted on social media with no strings attached. “Not many affordable luxury brands have this type of exposure.”
Consistently in high demand, Alpha Industries has always taken pride in the design and quality of its jackets. “One thing that sets us apart from our competitors is the fact that the quality and workmanship has always remained the same,” said Bahadur. “We source high-grade material and manufacture our products in accordance with the U.S. military guidelines, even the civilian MA-1 is carefully crafted to perfection every single time.” Bahadur also added that having 55 years of support from the U.S. military has contributed to the success of the brand and ongoing demand for their products. The MA-1 flight jackets are durable in temperatures up to -4 degrees and was a crucial functionality for when pilots went down and were lost. “They needed a jacket that would not only keep them warm for short periods of time, but also keep them dry, with the ability to handle difficult terrains. Nylon retains heat and is also super durable in wet weather and doesn’t absorb moisture as easily as natural fibres,” he added. Bahadur explained that nylon also holds its shape a lot better and can be easily manipulated to cater for the various aspects of the jacket resulting in a sturdier overall product.
The core design has and always will be military inspired. However, the brand works to incorporate different trends and mixes styles from all over the globe. “Our Chinese New Year designs have proven that Alpha Industries can adapt to any culture, design and latest trend but still have the military influence at its core.” Recognised for its iconic Indian Orange lining, this was a functional aspect of the design intended for the jacket to be reversed for lost pilots to be rescued. “We’ve maintained that heritage aspect ever since.”
Bahadur said that the various collaborations with other brands has highlighted Alpha Industries as a strong player in the fashion industry and their ability to adapt to other brands business models. A notable collaboration of Alpha Industries is with the French fashion house Vetements, while other collaborations include; Nike, Ben Sherman, Burton, and even Playboy.
As the New Zealand territory director, Moe Bahadur first noticed a gap in the market in 2012 after a trip to South Africa. “The jackets were everywhere in South Africa, but the jackets hadn’t quite reached New Zealand yet.” The affordable luxury streetwear jackets aren’t just for adults either, Alpha Industries’ sizing is available from two-years onwards. Customisation is another service Alpha Industries can provide as they have in house embroidery systems and five factories across the globe. “Overall, it’s a top-notch brand. It’s simply affordable luxury.”
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