The History of Avirex is the story of a small factory in Long Island, New York where limited quantities of leather jackets were produced for the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force. No conclusive documentation exists concerning the exact date the factory began fabrication of the military jackets, however, it is believed that they were produced between the two World Wars.
In the 1960’s, citing the rise in manufacturing expenses, the Navy cancelled the production of the American made G1 jacket. By that time, the Army had already discontinued the A2 and B3 jackets. With the armed services looking elsewhere for leather jackets, the small Long Island factory was in danger of closing its doors for good. New life was breathed into the production of the leather flight jackets when in the mid 1970’s an Arizona lawyer introduced the idea of marketing the leather Air Force jackets to the general public. He registered the trademark Avirex as both a reference to the Air Force and possibly to the Long Island factory of its origins. By 1975 the Avirex trademark was reborn into the commercial world. “Avirex” comes from the Latin avis for bird and aviation, and rex: for king, the highest quality of materials and craftsmanship. The new company’s initial challenge was to satisfy the call for the vintage look of leather seen in movies and in advertising.
Unlike stone washed or distressed jeans, aging treatment for leather was at that time without precedent. Avirex became the first company to produce high quality antique leather jackets. In addition to the jackets the company produced superior chino pants. In the 1984 Avirex supplied the jackets and chinos worn by Sam Shephard for his role as the American aviation hero Chuck Yeager in the movie “The Right Stuff”. In 1986 Avirex created the aviator jacket for Tom Cruise’s role in “Top Gun”, the movie about a legendary American Navy flying school. That same year, the European branch of Avirex was opened in Paris, and 8 years later, in 1994 a second European subsidiary was opened in Italy.
Today, Avirex clothing is worn by numerous actors and sports heroes such as: Bruce Willis, John Travolta, Sean Penn, Shaquille O’Neal, Silvester Stallone, Eminem, The Back Street Boys, and Ben Affleck. In fact, for two seasons running the entire Real Madrid soccer team elected to wear Avirex brand chinos and polo piquet shirts.
From conception to the finished product the trademark’s goal is to provide the consumer with the finest quality performance garments in the world. For Avirex, quality is the only luxury that should never be overlooked. Today Avirex clothing is recognized and distributed worldwide. The company has expanded its product line with two different men’s lines, a woman’s collection, and a line for juniors and many new accessories.