The birth of Black Brand for women was announced with evocative names such as the Brazilian Waxed and the Sheared Beaver, both of which are part of Black Brand’s “Platinum Series” of women’s jackets. For ladies desiring a less suggestively named motorcycle jacket from Black Brand, the Mantra is a stylish high-end leather option.
Like the other two jackets, the Mantra is constructed of supple top-grain sheepskin and features intricate embroidery on the upper back, lower back, chest and wrists. Other adornments include leather-tabbed YKK zippers, shoulder straps, and an assortment of metal studs. Black Brand research says many female riders purchase expensive fashion jackets after not finding what they were looking for in typical motorcycle apparel, leaving some women underprotected when riding. The Mantra is intended to deliver on both style and protection.
Sizing for the Mantra ranges between XS to 2XL. The Black Brand’s website provides a breakdown of specific sizing measurements for bust, waist, sleeve, hip. The XS Mantra fit me well everywhere, except for a little extra material in the hip area, but I have narrow hips. The lacing on the sides of the jacket is useful for customizing the jacket’s fitment to an individual’s body type, as do the zippers on each hip that are designed to accommodate a female body’s wider hips, especially when in a seated position.
The sheep leather is incredibly soft and flexible, giving the jacket that worn-in feeling you only get with higher-quality apparel. Black Brand reps say sheepskin is more abrasion-resistant than bovine leather, which is what allows it to be thinner and lighter. The stretchable nylon inserts contribute to increased flexibility to allow for all-day comfort whether riding a motorcycle or wearing casually.
At 3.1 pounds (for size XS) the Mantra is lightweight for a leather jacket with double-stitched seams. That measurement does not include the optional body armor, which will add $100 for quality D3O elbow and shoulder pads that fit into pockets sewn into the jacket lining. BB’s Howard Kelly tells us that out of the “hundreds and hundreds” of jackets sold, not a single buyer has yet asked for armor, but we’re glad it’s at least available for riders who want the extra protection. For some riders, style trumps ultimate function. With that in mind, let’s note the Mantra does without venting and a removable insulating liner, making it less suitable for temperature extremes.
The Mantra’s interior features the only explicitly girlish aspect of the jacket – its bright pink liner. The exterior jacket pockets also have pink interiors, but they are mostly concealed and won’t offend women who oppose the stereotypically female color. A zippered interior lapel pocket is large enough to hold most smartphones.
High style never comes cheap, and at a list price of $571, the Mantra jacket continues that theme. Black Brand notes that some of its customers have spent similar money on fashion leather jackets from stores like Nordstrom, which offer only the most minimal protection. Meanwhile, the Mantra’s sheep leather is luxurious, the styling is gracefully feminine with a hint of badassness, the branding is nicely minimal, and it’s designed to offer protection on a motorcycle. It’s a beautiful piece of apparel that will make some riders overlook its lack of vents and removable liner.
An added benefit of purchasing a Mantra jacket (or other Black Brand items) is that the company makes a donation to Home for Our Troops, an association that builds mortgage-free homes specially adapted for severely injured post 9/11 veterans. So, part of the money spent on the apparel is going to a charitable cause.
For more information, sizing and purchasing options go to www.blackbrandmc.com.