HOOD JEANS: 26 YEARS OF PROVEN PROTECTION
Chris and Julie Easterford set up Hood Jeans in 1998, however the roots of the company go back nearly seventy years. Below is the story of the family behind the award winning motorcycle jeans.
INNOVATIVE MOTORCYCLE JEANS WHERE HI-TECH MEETS TRUE HERITAGE
Chris’s parents (June and Tom) first started making denim jeans at a jeans factory in East London. The couple met at work, Tom being a mechanic and June a machinist, they married in 1957. Over the following years they helped to set up and develop a major jean brand. By the mid-sixties they were ready to go it alone, and set up their own company Motown Jeans which was based in Stanford-le-Hope, Essex.
Growing up Chris spent a lot of time at the family factory. To earn a little pocket money Chris tided threads, swept floors and sorted zips. By his teens Chris was being taught how to service the machines by his father Tom. Chris keeping a log of what exactly had been done during each service. Tom also taught Chris much about the production process, as well as introducing him to design and pattern making.
Chris starts work at the Motown Jeans factory. He learned much from his father and colleagues at the factory. Part of his education also meant time at other clothing factories in Essex, London, Northamptonshire, Hampshire and Leicestershire. Tom had been in the industry for a long time and was respected throughout the trade, therefore, people was happy to mentor his son Chris through his apprenticeship.
Julie started at the Motown Jeans factory. This is where Chris met Julie, with history repeating itself and Julie marrying Chris in 1991. The couple worked together at the Motown Jeans factory until 1994.
Chris and Julie left the family business to set up their own company based in Norfolk. They spent the early years designing jeans for major high street names; during this time, they were asked by a motocross team to design their race kit. They were given fabrics such as Cordura, Ballistic Nylon and Kevlar to use within the kit. During the next three years they gained much knowledge about the strengths of these hi-tech fabrics.
Chris combines the hi-tech fabrics used within the race kit with his own knowledge and background in denim Jeans, and the seed for Hood Jeans was sown. Chris and Julie worked on the materials and designs over the following eighteen months until finally the jeans were ready for release.
Hood Motorcycle Jeans was launched. The 1998 Hood K7 Jean was the first ‘seamless’ motorcycle jean in the world, this means there was no tell-tale stitching on the outside, making the jean look just like a normal authentic denim jean. This same design philosophy remains the same to this day. The Hood K7 has since become one of the bestselling and most respected motorcycle Jeans on the market. The latest version the K7/AAA (S) Jean is CE and UKCA certified to EN 17092-2:2020 for Class AAA garments: the highest level of protection specified by the standard. Over the years competitors have come and gone, but the focus and emphasis on protection for Hood Jeans has never changed, Chris says “for us protection has to be top of the list of priorities, we can then develop the design and work on the comfort from there.”
Chris and Julie knuckle down and get on with building the Hood Jeans brand. The reputation of their jeans for quality and protection becomes well known and respected throughout the industry, as is their customer service. During this time, they were able to add more much-loved styles to the Hood Jeans range, although, sadly some of these styles had to be retired with the introduction of the PPE Regulation in 2018.
As from 21 April 2018 all motorcycle clothing sold in the UK had to by law be certified to the then proposed European Standard, prEN 17092. Hood Jeans embraced the new standard from day one, with the 2018 Hood K7 Infinity Jean achieving the accolade of being the first Jean in the UK to be certified prEN 17092-3 Rated AA. That same year Hood Jeans transferred their production to Shanghai. This move helped them improve the protection and comfort of the new CE certified Jeans. The factory is owned and run by good friends of Chris and Julie. Their friends introduced Chris to the latest machinery and advanced manufacturing techniques. Chris worked for two years with the new factory, culminating that year in the introduction of a new k-tech lining that was softer and stronger than previously used. Chris used all the benefits of the switch within the new designs, helping make the 2018 Hood Jeans the safest and most comfortable Jeans Hood had ever produced. Chris regularly visits the factory and is always present when Hood Jeans are being produced. The development, design, sales, dispatch, and most importantly heart of the Hood Jeans remain in the UK, as does a small production capability and finishing workshop.
The standard was published in full, EN 17092:2020. Hood Jeans continue to lead the way in development, testing and certification. They not only tested and certified to EN 17092:2020, but also run abrasion tests in accordance to the tougher EN 13595-2:2002 standard. This means they can use test data from their previous twenty-six years to help with the development of future products.
D3O® introduced their amazing Level 1 Ghost™ armour. The Ghost™ is so comfortable; it was a real game changer for impact protection and for Hood Jeans. Simply fit and forget.
From this year, all styles of Hood Jeans that come with D3O® hip and knee armour are certified to the highest level of protection, Class AAA: EN 17092-2:2020. The increased protection and comfort are achieved by the introduction of new stretch denim. Its always evolution not revolution with Hood Jeans, with development, design and improvements never stopping.
D3O® introduce Level 2 Ghost™ armour. The L2 Ghost™ means Hood Jeans customers now have the option of Level 1 or Level 2 in the amazingly comfortable D3O® Ghost™ impact armour.
Chris and Julie Hood celebrated a quarter of a century of Hood Jeans. The achievement really means much to Chris and Julie. Their parents Tom and June have both passed away in the last decade, but their influence and inspiration lives on in Chris and Julie’s work. They would have undoubtedly been proud of the ‘Rider Safety Award’ Hood Jeans received in November 2023 for providing riders with a clear choice of protective riding kit.
Chris and Julie continue to work on future small updates. A new stronger mesh lining and armour positioning print are both in the pipeline. Demand for Hood Jeans has never been so high, so things are looking good for the next quarter of a century.
Hood Motorcycle Jeans remains a family business: Chris states “We are a small family business; I believe this helps us give our customers a personal and friendly service” something that Hood Jeans are well known for. Julie finishes by saying “Our customers have given us so much support, encouragement and custom over the years, it’s their backing that’s made us the company we are today.”
“IN HOOD WE TRUST” As quoted by our supporters over 26 years.
Hood Motorcycle Jeans are renowned worldwide for protection, quality, value for money and customer care. As a family run company for over 26 years; we are just as proud of our customer service as we are of our motorcycle jeans. Trust our jeans, trust our service, and trust in our company. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.