A Transient Historical past of World Leaders in Leather-based Jackets


Former South African President Jacob Zuma speaks to a crowd in Johannesburg on April 23, 2009.Aexander Joe / Getty Images

South African flop

Former South African President Jacob Zuma has been the subject of much shameful controversy, from rape allegations to his resignation in 2018 on charges of corruption. He is currently refusing to appear in South African courts. Its many disappointing qualities include a preference for hideous, light-colored leather jackets. His party actually released a collection of neon leather jackets to celebrate his style, but they proved extremely unpopular across the country.

The worst people in nice jackets

There is no getting around it: Fascists love leather. Mussolini loved a motorcycle jacket. Nazis of all shapes and sizes wore leather coats, both during World War II and in racist subcultures in the years to come. This guy wore brown leather to storm the Capitol last week. Leather can work many miracles, but it can’t make fascism any less terrible.

PS It’s really too easy to find photos of these historic leather assholes, but I don’t have to help you. If you’re really curious, google.

Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis is coming to London on February 2, 2015 for a meeting with British Finance Minister George Osborne.Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

A finance minister … with EDGE

When Yanis Varoufakis served as Greece’s finance minister for eight months in 2015, he had a big job ahead of him that required an even bigger fit. The fashion of the International Monetary Fund rarely causes a stir, but Varoufakis’ absolutely wild leather coat caused waves. Did Greece repay the IMF on time this year? No. Did your finance minister look like an ass? Undeniably yes.

The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, arrives in Toronto on June 2, 2019 for the second game of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Raptors.David Dow / Getty Images


Whether it’s statecraft, bookstores, or leather jackets, Obama excels. His postal style is unparalleled in the history of the President. Aside from his favorite ’44 jacket, there’s this piece he wore to the 2019 NBA Finals. In contrast to the classic Camp David bomber, this black jacket is slimmer – and, as I may say, more elegant. He also owns one in brown.

North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un at a groundbreaking ceremony for Pyongyang General Hospital in North Korea on March 17, 2020.Getty Images

Dear Leader

The man himself in the coat who sent me on this troubled path. What diplomatic letter is hidden in this luxurious leather jewelry? Only Kim knows. In the meantime, we can only pray that the dear Leader’s burgeoning taste will be a sign of global rapprochement, rather than a rocket launch to welcome President Biden. After all, leather is a language spoken all over the world.




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