The Buzz Rickson’s MA-1 is a piece of William Gibson lore. This flight jacket is worn by the heroine of Gibson’s Pattern Recognition, Cayce Pollard, whose preternatural sense of authenticity and phobia of certain brands leads her to the MA-1, a “purely functional and iconic garment.” One small detail that escaped many readers, though, was that the black MA-1 he described didn’t exactly exist yet.
After Pattern Recognition was published in 2003, a manufacturer of the MA-1, Buzz Rickson’s, started to get letters requesting information about where to buy their “iconic” black MA-1. And, in a stroke of genius, the company decided to actually start making them. Gibson recalls:
Some time after the book was published, I received a very puzzled letter from the folks at Buzz Rickson’s, who had been getting requests for black MA-1’s. Once I had explained what was happening, they amazed and delighted me by asking my permission to make a repro of *Cayce’s* jacket, to market as their Pattern Recognition model. Yes indeed, I said, and while you’re at it, cut me one with an extra four inches in the back, please. Which they did, and it’s over the back of a chair nearby as I write this. I love this jacket. It reminds me of the title of a Surrealist sculpture, “An Object From The Other Side Of The Bridge.” It’s real, but it emerged from a work of fiction.
That was a few years ago — and today, the Gibson/Rickson’s collaboration continues with a new model called the B-29 Grosgrain Coat. It’s expensive at $US690, but devotees of Gibson (and especially Cayce) will likely see it as an investment. The irony of the whole thing, of course, is that these jackets are stitched with a Gibson logo. Cayce — who takes care to sand any logos or branding off her belongings — might’ve objected. [Verge; Self Edge]