This fall in Chicago and New York, groups of leather jacket enthusiasts came together to celebrate “Pelle Pelle Day.” East Harlem native Miguel Rodriguez organized the events. He’s a collector who runs an Instagram account with just over 2,500 followers called @PellePelleLeather—an archive page dedicated to documenting the history of the American leather jacket label Pelle Pelle by Marc Buchanan. At New York City’s Pelle Pelle Day in Times Square, nearly 20 collectors came from across all five boroughs to show off their rarest Pelle Pelles. One 24-year-old attendee from uptown Manhattan arrived in an all-black leather studded “Soda Club” jacket he inherited from his father. Another collector from Canarsie, Brooklyn proudly turned around to show off an intricate embroidery of three men playing Cee-lo on his back. And many of the younger enthusiasts in their 20s were awed by a 40-year-old man from South Jamaica, Queens who had on one of the oldest jackets in sight, an orange Pelle Pelle with a baseball graphic on the back that he purchased for $700 in 1998. As New York drill blasted from a set of Bluetooth speakers, collectors who never met dapped each other up, gushed over the Pelle Pelles surrounding them, and posed for pictures before coming together for a family photo.
“I think people feel like Marc Buchanan was like their uncle. When you bought a coat from Marc Buchanan it was like a co-sign. I still haven’t figured out why people go so hard for him when nobody’s even met him,” says Rodriguez, who is better known as Mikey Phelps. “I don’t even see pictures of him on the internet. He’s this mysterious presence who just makes you feel comfortable, fly, and nostalgic. He embraced the culture and the culture embraced him.”