The American Motorcycle Association (AMA) was founded in 1924 to promote motorcycling in America. Motorcycle clubs of that era stitched their name and crest on their jackets and shirts. At AMA events a "best dressed" club contest was a regular occurrence. As an alternative to embroidering directly on a jacket, vest or shirt, the removable and relocatable patch became popular.
In 1947 at an AMA sponsored event in California a member of the Booze Fighters motorcycle cub made headlines with a news story of questionable veracity that was later to inspire the Marlon Brando film "The Wild Ones." The AMA responded to the article with the now famous insight that "99% of AMA members are law abiding citizens, and only 1% are outlaw." The 1 per centers were born.
In order to distinguish themselves from AMA clubs, the 1 per centers cut their patches into three pieces, creating a top rocker (club name) center crest or logo, and a bottom rocker (city or state).
Veterans of the armed forces often transferred their military patches from their uniforms to their vests or jackets.
Over the years, patches have become a vehicle to express a biker's individuality and/or philosophy through clever and witty sayings.
At Old Dog Leather we have a great variety of ready made patches that can be sewn or heat pressed onto garments, and we also custom make patches.
"Fat People Are Harder to Kidnap" is one of our best sellers. Other popular patches include "You Can't Buy Brotherhood," 2nd Amendment patches of several varieties, and American, Confederate, Arkansas and Oklahoma flags. "My Dad's Biker Buddy" sells well. We also have a display case devoted to military patches of all branches, as well as police, fire fighters and EMT patches.
We sew and heat press patches on.
If you're new to motorcycles, you won't be a "real biker" until you have a vest with patches that reflect your personality. So don't be shy, go for it. After all, "For Some There's Therapy, For Others There's Motorcycles."
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!