Battle Jackets

This part of the site was inspired by our friends from Patch Amnesty, who raised money for mental health charity Mind by selling donated patches. They did this interview for us about the project:

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This got us thinking about the role of battle jackets in mental health, and we asked you to contribute your battle jacket pictures and stories, oh and one ‘battle dressing gown”!

Some people, like Eliza, sent us longer narratives:

Battle Jackets have been a mainstay of rock culture since the 1970’s, usually made of denim and always adorned with patches of the bands you love. Growing up, I refused to wear anything other than black, so I decided to turn a random coat into a force of metallic nature.

Creating a Battle Jacket is a real labour of love, and something I’ve been adding to for well over a decade now. It’s covered in pin badges, patches and wristbands of various bands, albums and festivals that I’m a fan of, and there’s space for so many more! Battle jackets are a great way of showing people the music you love, and they’re great conversation starters at gigs. This jacket has been with me to pretty much every show and festival I’ve ever been to, and has been covered in sweat (not just my own), blood (real and fake and again, not just my own), alcohol, GWAR gloop and God knows what else over the last 13 or 14 years.

The thing about battle jackets is – they act as a comfort blanket. When I’ve got my battle jacket on, I feel invincible. It’s a way of wrapping myself up in something I’m completely passionate about, some stability in an uncertain world. Wearing a battle jacket is a statement, telling people who you are and what you’re about. They’re outside of gender, sexuality, social status, occupation etc. Anybody can wear a battle Jacket, and every single person’s will be different. I’ll keep adding to mine, filling it up with the bands that have saved me with their music, and inspire me every single day.

Eliza in her battle jacket:

Some more of your submissions:

Because so many people referenced the idea of battle jackets being like an armour, we also asked community members for their favourite metal songs that build them up and make them feel confident: here

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Now For the Science Part

For the metal university fans/nerds, it turns out there is a bit of research about battle jackets, we spoke to both Tom Cardwell (insta) and Lauren O’Hagan (twitter) who have done some of this research. They found that battle jackets can serve as important markers of identity both as an individual and as part of a community. They are also a sign of commitment and dedication to favourite bands and the metal scene, a reminder of good memories, or a statement of beliefs/values. We know that being able to identify as part of a community and to own that by showing external ‘markers’ to others can be a positive thing for mental well-being so it was very cool to bring together these research ideas with the lived experiences you all shared with us.

Death Reverted – Battle jacket painting by Tom Caldwell

We’d like to be able to continue the legacy of Patch Amnesty a bit through these pages, and will continue to take submissions of battle jacket pictures so share them with us if you fancy