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When I was a teenager, I loved the Rocky Horror Picture Show. In high school, my friends and I would turn up at the cinema, Saturday night at midnight, sometimes dressed up, sometimes not, sometimes with our rice and water pistols, sometimes not, always ready to dance and sing and shout and have fun. It was a right of passage for most punkers and misfits in the 80s.
She became a bit of a hero of mine. She is probably the main reason any of you have heard of the film. Though it was a wildly successful stage show, the film was a total flop. It was put on as a midnight show at the Waverly Theater in New York City which is where audience participation started and the rest is history.
About a year ago I decided to see what Dori Hartley was up to and discovered that she followed me on Twitter.
Oh. Em. Gee.
I got in touch with her (read as: fangirled over her), we emailed back and forth and I started to think about my Rocky Horror days for the first time in over 20 years. Within about a week, I decided that I wanted Frank’s leather jacket. I mean, is there any reason why one WOULDN’T want one? No, of course not. So, I decided to make one.
I needed to find a jacket though. This wasn’t easy. The one he wears in the film is a Lewis Leathers Plainsman. They still make them, but I really wanted one that was worn in. Also, they cost £745 new. Yea.
I searched on eBay and though the occasional one came up they were always way too big for me. Then I found Hi Star Classics which specialises in vintage motorcycle jackets. I found a reasonably priced vintage Plainsman style jacket (not a Lewis Leathers one) in my size and snapped it up.
I cut off the fringe on the front and the back, left it on the sleeves, got some chain and studs and started putting the badges on using hi-res images of the costume in order to place them in exactly the right spot.
I scoured eBay regularly to find the badges… some are very rare, others are ‘close enough’ to the original to work, others I altered…
I also found the patches – some were new, some were vintage, some I made myself.
And then I needed to paint the back…
I re-started the flag as it needed a white base for the colour to show up properly.
Yes, the flag on his jacket is symmetrical…
It’s not TOTALLY finished, there are still a few badges and patches I need, but I’m very happy with it…