Leather Jackets in Music Videos: Analyzing How Leather Jackets Are Used in Music Videos as Part of the Artist's Aesthetic and Branding, Such as Michael Jackson's "Thriller" or Beyoncé's "Formation"

Leather Jackets in Music Videos

Throughout the history of music, leather jackets have played a significant role in shaping the aesthetics and branding of countless artists. From the rebellious allure of rock and roll to the edgy glamour of modern pop icons, the leather jacket has become a powerful symbol in the world of music. In this article, we will analyze the use of leather jackets in some of the most iconic music videos, discussing how they contribute to the artist's visual identity and overall brand.

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Michael Jackson's "Thriller" (1983)

Micheal Jackson

Perhaps one of the most iconic leather jackets in music history, Michael Jackson's red leather jacket from the "Thriller" music video has become a symbol of 80s pop culture. Designed by Deborah Nadoolman Landis, the jacket's distinctive V-shaped stripes and bold red color perfectly encapsulated Jackson's unique style and flair for the dramatic. The jacket's strong visual impact helped to solidify Jackson's image as the "King of Pop," with the "Thriller" video often cited as one of the greatest music videos of all time.

Madonna's "Like a Virgin" (1984)


As a pop culture icon, Madonna has frequently incorporated leather jackets into her ever-evolving style. In the "Like a Virgin" music video, the Material Girl donned a black leather jacket over her iconic wedding dress, creating a provocative and rebellious image that would define her career. The leather jacket added an edgy contrast to the otherwise innocent and romantic visuals of the video, helping to establish Madonna as a daring and boundary-pushing artist.

Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine" (1988)

Guns N' Roses' Sweet Child O' Mine

Leather jackets have long been associated with the world of rock music, and Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine" music video is a prime example of this connection. The video features lead singer Axl Rose wearing a men's brown leather jacket with fringe detailing, evoking a sense of classic rock and roll style. The leather jacket helped to reinforce the band's image as quintessential rock stars, with its rugged and rebellious aesthetic perfectly suited to their hard-hitting sound.

U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name" (1987)

U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name"

In U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name" video, Bono can be seen wearing a men's leather coat while performing atop a rooftop in downtown Los Angeles. The video showcases the band's gritty, urban style and reflects the themes of freedom and unity expressed in the song. Bono's leather coat adds an element of timeless cool to the band's aesthetic, further cementing their status as rock icons.

Beyoncé's "Formation" (2016)

Beyoncé's Formation

Beyoncé's "Formation" music video is a powerful visual statement that showcases her unapologetic confidence and fearless style. Among the many striking outfits featured in the video, Beyoncé can be seen wearing a women's hooded leather jacket during a scene set in a parking garage. The leather jacket adds an element of edginess and fierceness to her overall look, reinforcing her image as a strong, independent woman who is not afraid to challenge conventions and push boundaries.

Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" (2009)


Lady Gaga is known for her eclectic and avant-garde fashion choices, and her music video for "Bad Romance" is no exception. In one scene, Gaga can be seen wearing a futuristic women's leather biker jacket adorned with metallic spikes and intricate detailing. The leather jacket serves to accentuate Gaga's unique and daring sense of style, helping to define her as a true fashion trailblazer.

Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me a River" (2002)

Justin Timberlake's Cry Me a River

In the music video for his hit single "Cry Me a River," Justin Timberlake sports a sleek men's black leather jacket that perfectly complements the moody and atmospheric visuals. The leather jacket's timeless and sophisticated design adds an air of mystery and intrigue to Timberlake's character, enhancing the narrative of the video and contributing to its dramatic impact.


From Michael Jackson's unforgettable "Thriller" jacket to Beyoncé's bold statement in "Formation," leather jackets have played a pivotal role in shaping the aesthetics and branding of some of the world's most iconic music videos. Whether it's through their association with rebellion and defiance or their ability to project a sense of timeless cool, leather jackets have become a powerful visual symbol in the world of music.

If you're inspired by these iconic music video looks and want to incorporate a leather jacket into your own wardrobe, be sure to check out Decrum for a wide selection of high-quality men's and women's leather jackets in various styles and colors. Embrace the enduring appeal of leather jackets and make a statement in your own fashion journey.