Motorcycle Fashion Show? (Video)

DO WE NEED MOTORCYCLE FASHION SHOWS? I’ve been going to the annual Long Beach Motorcycle Expo for many years. The weekend event draws tens of thousands of visitors from from all over Southern California to see the latest bikes and gear. Of particular note for this stop of the U.S. Expo Tour are the demonstration rides on bikes from many of the manufacturers. (Rained out this year).

However, what caught my attention as something “new” (for me), was the Ducati Fashion Show with scantly dressed, skinny, young girls – and some acrobatic guys. (In fact, they’ve been held around the world for several years). Although professionally executed and pleasing to observe, it struck me as somewhat peculiar to experience a well-know manufacturer deliberately garnering attention for their apparel, rather than their bikes, when, one would presume, most who are visiting their display area, would primarily be interested in their motorcycles. And on top of that, the show was not about how well Ducati apparel protects a rider – it was showing off quite a bit of non-riding attire. Although, in all fairness, their protective gear was featured in the fashion show, as well.

It does not escape me that of all the new bikes, gear and accessories from a massive concentration of bike makers and vendors that I experienced at the expo, what I’m writing about right now is, from my perspective, a side show. So, one could argue, that it was a well conceived publicity presentation for Ducati.

Most riders are aware that all motorcycle makers benefit from healthy profit margins by selling anything with their company logo on it. Harley, in particular, has enjoyed great success licensing their brand name to all types of apparel manufacturers. I do not begrudge any company for profiting from what the public is willing to pay for, in spite of the fact that I, personally, seek out riding gear from specialized gear manufactures, not bike manufacturers. (And the apparel in my closet which is adorned with bike names mostly arrived there as gifts, rather than personal purchases).

Still, from an educational perspective, when I contemplate all that it costs a motorcycle maker to display their wares at these shows, and particularly to get a whole bunch of moto-journalists in front of them, I must say I did not leave Ducati with any more enlightenment about their motorcycles. (This fashion show was Ducati’s 15 minutes of fame, as part of the expo’s pre-opening “media day,” whereby a herd of writers, photographer and videographers are goaded from one manufacturer’s presentation to another.)

But the good news is that I was entertained! And enjoyment is a fundamental key to motorcycling in general.

Oh! I should also not that as soon as the fashion show ended, Nicky Hayden spoke for a little bit. Although his talk was still not educational about any specifics regarding Ducati’s motorbikes, the company certainly positioned their brand clearly with a MotoGP World Champion.

So, how much riding gear do you own that has a manufacturer’s name on it?

41 thoughts on “Motorcycle Fashion Show? (Video)

  • No logo clothing except the one given to me from both a BMW shop (baseball hat when I bought a bike) and Triumph shop (T-shirt as an employee). Like others, feel no need to advertise for anyone.

    In addition…the analogy of those models and Ducati seems apt: fast, flashy, troublesome.

  • heard a guy make a statement about his bike “I’m not trying to make a fashion statement with my machine I use it for transportation.” Kind of took me by surprise, got me to thinking, is that what riding a bike is about or is it the magical thrill of straddling 70-130 HP while you are exposed to the elements and able to see all around you at the beautiful scenery of the road as you ride.

  • Get a life man! Look at the sex on tv ! Where ever you go SEX SELLS! Cars, beer, etc, you name it!

  • As to the original question, do I own any branded gear?; No. I regularly buy the best quality gear I can find for my use, Aerostich, Arai, Sidi, etc. then painted out the logos with a felt pen before putting it on. I’m not interested in being an un-paid billboard even for brands I like. The Ducati, Triumph, MV, Suzuki or Buell badge on my tank is already giving them more advertising than I like even though I like the products enough to have bought and to ride them.

    I assume clothing and accessories bring in lots of profit for the brands but more important it’s sold to enhance brand image, brand awareness and brand loyality. People pay more attention to WHO rides a given brand (McQueen and Brando STILL sell bikes) than how well the bikes meet their missions. Understanding that is way more complicated!

    All that said, sex sells. As LD said above, “Better yet, forget the models. Hire great looking gals that ride and have a background in sales and public relations. (They’re out there). Let them answer questions about the bikes and show off the shirts and jackets at the same time”. I and most of the other mostly male attendees would flock around a pretty, knowledgeable female rep to talk to ABOUT DUCATI’S PRODUCTS vs an equally pretty, knowledgeable male.

    Oh yeah, I did put a Ducati arm patch over the logo on one of my jackets but that was a long time ago…

  • There was only one of the lady models that was good enough to sit her butt on my HD.

  • I agree that probably none of those girls ride. I attended the same show and avoided the fashion show. Who cares? Is my attitude toward that stuff. But I do think that the Europeans and countries overseas are more focused on the glitz and fashion than we are here in the US and want to show off their apparel. I go for the motorcycles and accessories, not the glitz.

  • Some people have stated that the girls need to eat a burger. I disagree. They need to eat two or three burgers. Follow that with a large order of fries and a malt. Maybe even a slice of pie on top of that.

    Not surprised that Ducati would do this, but they should have hired better looking models.
    Better yet, forget the models. Hire great looking gals that ride and have a background in
    sales and public relations. Let them answer questions about the bikes and show off the shirts and jackets at the same time.

    I don’t remember every rider I meet, but I DO remember every female rider I have ever talked to 🙂

  • I see a fashion show every time I go to a biker rally or see multiple cruiser riders together. Waxed mustaches, skull face masks even in the July heat, jackets and chaps with fringes, rind stone decorated leather saddle bags and the list goes on. The only item I have yet to see without a Harley logo on it is a lunch box.

  • To each their own I guess. I try to pick things based on the best protection and comfort for the price – but that ends up being a kind of visual as well – maybe not a very good looking one, but still a look. If some like to be tribal and wear something to show allegiance to a certain group or lifestyle, I’m all for it – as long as they can also accept others who aren’t the same as them. Ducati has always been about fashion – so nothing surprising.

    Would love to see a consumer reports on protective gear – form should follow function. Funny – I ride off road and had someone make a crack about wearing a leatt neck protector – because they thought I was trying to look cool! Really, just trying to stay out of a wheel chair when my front tire plows into deep sand on the outside of a corner.

  • We can’t blame poor old Ducati for going where the customers are. They are just trying to make a buck.
    If and when metro-sexuals stop buying so many bikes and accessories, the fashion shows will cease – but not until.

  • ps if you need to dress for the role thats ok … its your $ …but it is a shame your sold the fashion .must need to be seen in this…. its about the bike and riding … not looking all alike and the same color ,life style, trend..wake up people … and red …chess pawns what you look like …PAWNS …understand ..

  • we need a new video …. all this hype makes me want to run over every duck i see on the road .. up scale euro phony crap …. well its the euro way of the low life harley fashion crap.. sell the make believe , hell with the bike seen cool with the latest black or red over priced …[ you name it ] .. can not ride cool with out all black somthing everywhere…now its red and white for the euro cool…thank god i ride a TRIUMPH where all you need is what you ride …all steve mcqueen needed was a triumph tee and that said it all .and if you do not have one the triumph badge on the tank is all you ever need….

  • I agree with the Rob-on-July-5 post. The Harley-Davidson bikes ARE fashion accessories. So is all the gear you have to wear to fit in with the huge herd of all the other independent lone rider rebel hog owners.

    I sure do like my KLR. There is some chrome on it- the heat shield on the muffler and the bezel around the ignition key slot.

  • When I think of biker fashion I’m reminded of a recent stop in a Tim Hortons parking lot. 20 somewhat normal guys on Harleys and assorted Japanese cruisers all dressed up as if they were motorcycle gang members from an old movie. Chaps, fingerless gloves, leather vests covered with patches, a few novelty helmets and the occasional skull face mask. If your going to bother to wear gear why not wear the kind that serves a purpose or maybe is fashionable in a good way. I guess I don’t get it.

  • Wouldn’t have considered a Ducati before this show and still wouldn’t. I’m too old and crunchy to wear anything with a brand name on it. What? Me give even one dime of my beer and gas money to be a walking billboard for anybody? No way Hosay. If the twinkle in my eyes — one’s from a lens implant–and the smile on my lips don’t get me where or what I want then I’m just fine without it. Just a simple matter of more birthdays behind me than in front of me which makes each one sweeter than the one before.”Ride On! “

  • Those kind of shows are for maketing purposes, and it does bring a lot of money to bike makers , who in turn can put money in development of better machines.Be it racing or leisure . For my part i will pay for a t-shirt advertising a brand wich i like , but for my protection , i will stick with motorcycling apparel makers , who do need to produce the best protection clothing to protect me from wind , cold, rain or abrasion (wich i do not want to test myself) . Riding here in Canada ,from March to December , i do need the best from Aerostitch, Alpinestar , Ixon, and all others who could not survive very long by putting out products that only sell their name , and not the reason of their being.
    Have a pleasant and safe riding year .

  • I was at the Long Beach show. I’m a relatively new rider and went to see bikes. You have no idea how glad I am that I missed this part of the show.

  • No i do not ride an H. I ride a Harley hondasaki and I am old! Yes i have one piece of logo ware the Harley 1948 anniversary t shirt. Bet you can’t guess why. No, to go along with the comments I believe we are missing the purpose of the “fashion show”. Marketing. When a company uses this type of show they are really not aiming at the established riders out there who are not concerned with the hip/cool/hot image Ducati is trying to sell. Youth prefer form over function. T shirts with a cool logo, form fitting leather, Oooooh. it will make me look so….. If I buy this for my boyfriend/girlfriend they will be so hot.

    Companies sell quantities of clothing and fewer bikes. Profit is much higher on the soft gear as opposed to the hard gear like bikes. This fashion show is a sign of the times and as an older gent i personally like to look at the fairer sex but appreciate as well the athleticism of the young fellows. I couldn’t even do that when I was there age. But I did know a 9/16 wrench from torx bolt. ;o) I just live and enjoy the ride. Preferably wearing all the right gear.

  • The age old philosophy “sell it with sex” still works. Judging from the remarks all did watch the video.Successful motorcycling is achieved by prudent use of the brain. With that being said I would think a lot of research would go into the purchase of riding gear. If I were marketing riding gear I would put on a demonstration of how my product performed.

  • Actually the fashion show is good marketing in one way. When riding out on the road protective gear gets to actually be protective not just look good. Having the bikes in the show would have been a good idea. I personally don’t have to buy logo clothing. It gets to be quality, and work well for what I am purchasing it for.

  • Fashion show? Just another way to grab attention. Must have worked, or we wouldn’t be discussing it. So who cares, if you don’t like it walk away. If you do, stay and watch. As for motorclothes with logos — yes, I also receive these as presents but prefer not to be an unpaid walking billboard. Recently heard a couple who were unhappy with their bike and were thinking of switching to a different bike manufacturer. The wife’s comment, “but we have so much invested in the lifestyle!” What? Oh, she means logo merchandise. How sad is that?

  • Do we need a fashion show? I think something like that impacts the younger riders, especially those just starting out and that want to “look” the part, whatever that is to them.

    As for the video, the girls were boring (yes, I’m female and I can enjoy the beauty of another woman without being classified). The guys, everyone says gay or doubts that they ever rode a bike… but the points still go to Ducatti on that one for marketing, those male models were showing the “flexibility” of the product. How many times have you put on a new jacket or pants or chaps and you could barely move? How long does it take you to break in your leather? Don’t get me wrong… I love the leather, it’s just stiff and harder to move in off the rack but breaking it in and put the miles on it is part of the fun.

    Let’s face it, for so many of the younger riders its about what bike you ride and what you wear and how fast can you get there… they haven’t figured out yet it’s just about the ride… it doesn’t matter what you ride, where you ride to or what you wear while getting there… it’s the fact that you are riding.

  • I’m all in favor of scantily dressed women, but those were not. The guys were so gay. The whole thing stinks

  • I for one enjoyed the show. I dig thin chicks, not 180 to 400 pound heifers that I’ve too often seen at many biker rallies–w/ breasts that sag to their navel and tatted to the max. The gymnastics were cool–always enjoy watching that kind of skill and strength. But, I’m losing sight of the initial question: any logos on my riding apparel? Yes, from the H-D and Indian t-shirts, ditto on the several leather jackets and vests and a couple of pairs of chaps and boots (Triumph and H-D). Many were gifts to me, some from others, but mainly gifts I bought myself…..most were a necessity for riding in winter in CO and summers in NM and OK. I’ve owned close to 20 bikes in my 40 years as a rider, Yamahas (Virago 750); Honda and Suzuki trail bikes; BMW’s (both the R and K bikes (1150); to Harley 94 Springer, 2000 Road King Classic; 2008 Ultra Classic.. At age 65, I’m not looking to be a biker “fashion plate” nor to be a walking/riding advertisement for any bike manufacturer. Just give me my money’s worth whether its clothes or bikes—I work hard for my money and don’t want crap offered to me–that’s an insult. I think it’s insulting to consumers that most H-D dealers offer us, the riding public, crap and expect us to pay them 25 to 45 for a blooming t-shirt!! That’s insulting so I rarely purchase a logo shirt or jacket anymore.

  • Well, old school/new school comes into play here again. Back in the day (60s) THE (1) piece of riding gear everybody owned who rode was the Harley offset zipper jacket. And? Nobody wondered what brand you were wearing when you threw one on. Ducati? Not in the running. There’s just some things that have set the die over the years. In the minds of riders. So, newbies who don’t remember back in the day stuff like that might be drawn to what they did in the clip. (I didn’t go to the expo). But let me tell ya, hit a bonfire party out int he desert old school style like old schoolers still have now and then, and watch the real fashion show if it’s sexy you’re after. Nothin’ they put on seen in the clip can hold a candle to a REAL biker babe in her panties, a well-worn (real road miles showing) Harley leather jacket and nothing else. At night when it’s cold on a ride somewhere, what counts is only two things: if a cage driver puts you on your head skidding across pavement, and that there’s enough room in it for the fem ridin’ bitch to get her hands up inside to encourage the intimacy of body heat. No amount of flash and dash with some slinky modeling will match that kind of marketing Ducati. That’s just the way it is. So yeah, they understand that, and that’s where they’re aiming their marketing efforts. It’s corporate. To be fair here, on the Harley brand name thing? Willie G.’s people are out of control on the same kick. I’ve wondered whose going to make a killing someday producing condoms with the bar and shield emblem embossed in the material someplace. (by the way, that idea is already intellectual property protected, so don’t bust your butt running out to try and beat anybody to it.) Fashion show? To an old schooler like me? Well, I’m with Bob’s comment in the above…only my term is ‘pencil neck’ rather than gay.

  • I get how the girls would bring attention to your product (I know if I had been there I would have hung out for a bit of the show). However, some of the guys might be counter productive to the sales aimed at the macho-younger-than-I riders.

  • While it might be a bit awkward to watch a fashion show at a bike show, I get it. I see this marketing strategy pretty often in other trade shows. When a trade show has several hundred – or even thousands – of exhibitors ranging from manufacturers and suppliers to wholesalers, retailers and buyrs, it is important for exhibitors to showcase their brand. Several months from now attendees won’t even remember half of what they saw, but most will remember the quirky fashion show that Ducati presented. In marketing, it’s all about brand recognition. There isn’t a better way to sell your brand than to add a bit of sexiness and flair to get people ‘s attention, particularly when the audience majority is male, aged 25 to 40. It would have been cooler to integrate the new bikes into the show, but Ducati had it’s name and sex appeal all over the apparel being worn. Smart.

  • Ken, I’m ATGATT but those models certainly aren’t my idea of ATGATT. I’m sure I would get lots of attention tho. LOL! And feeding those girls hamburgers might give them the strength to actually heft a bike off the kickstand!

  • The answer to the question, “Do we need the fashion show?” would be a resounding NO!….Leave it to an Italian Manufacturer to have a Milan-esque fashion show hightlighting fashions adorned with the Ducati logo, but not for riding. I did see a couple of jackets and one suit, I think, but are many of us turning flips during a Sunday ride, really? Maybe they are prepping folks for the eventuality of crashing and they want to let us know that the flipping and falling that would happen can be facilitated by the clothes they make….I’m just sayin’ is all….

    Keep the scantily clad women for umbrella girls!!!

    Just my .02

  • “So, how much riding gear do you own that has a manufacturer’s name on it?”

    I don’t have any gear with a motorcycle manufacturer’s name on it. For one thing, I have motorcycles from two different manufacturers, and it’s nice to be able to wear a piece of gear on either bike (or a future bike). It would look a bit odd to be wearing a Yamaha jacket on my Suzuki. If I come across a well made, attractive, and low priced piece of gear I would consider it though. It has been my experience that most of the gear with a manufacturer’s name on it has been more expensive than the stuff without the name. They aren’t paying me to advertise for them, so I pass.

  • 1 – Feed those girls a hamburger, they are way too skinny.
    2 – When did ATTGATT include showing half your butt?
    3 – Maybe have them smile once in a while.

  • I’d like to know how many of those models ride? My guess; ZERO! It looked like a fashion show from outer space.

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