Sneakerness x Alpha Industries: Interview with Ben Birkl

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Sneakerness has teamed up with Alpha Industries to create two interpretations of the classic MA-1 Bomber Jacket. We talked to Ben Birkl of Alpha Industries about the role of bomber jackets in fashion and streetwear.

How about a quick introduction?

Hello, my name is Ben Birkl, I’m from Frankfurt am Main and am currently the marketing manager at Alpha Industries Europe.

Alpha Industries has contributed largely to the bomber jacket finding its way from the cockpit to the streets. How did this happen?

Bomber jackets in general have been making their way back for the last few years. Several brands have used this trend to design their own bomber jackets. We are the original and the streets appreciate the original. The streets also appreciate function and high quality. We have been making jackets for a while now, almost 60 years so we know what those jackets need and what not. We work very closely with influencers from different areas of lifestyle, which was most likely, an important factor in establishing our “street credibility”.

The MA-1 is probably the most popular jacket that you would associate with Alpha Industries. What distinguishes this model from other bomber jackets?

That’s true! The jacket is a classic. The robust, water-resistant Flight Nylon, the orange lining (back then it would help locate downed pilots) or the several pockets make the jacket very practical in different everyday life situations. The jacket also has a masculine look that goes well with everything.

How did the collaboration with Sneakerness come about?

It all started last year in Zurich. Francky B. of Sneakerness Paris and I were out on a night on the town and we talked about anything and everything. At some point we came back to shoes and clothing and we had the idea of making an Alpha Industries x Sneakerness jacket. It all just happened from there on out. I have known the team from Switzerland for almost four years, the concept was right, the team was awesome anyway so there was nothing to stop us from turning this into a reality. In the end it all happened very quickly. Not even two months later I was holding the finished product in my hands. I am very happy and proud of the result. Shout out to Francky!

Many labels are trying to further develop or reinterpret the jacket. How does Alpha Industries stay on top of that?

We are working on using new materials for our jackets to constantly develop them further. Our huge archive gives us a great choice in older, long-forgotten styles that we try to equip with new materials and awake them from their deep slumber. We also collaborate with different shops and brands to reinterpret and develop styles like the MA-1 every season.

Make sure to check back for the full release details of the Sneakerness x Alpha Industries collaboration later this week!