Marc Buchanan, the founder of Pelle Pelle, is a visionary who intertwined his passion for fashion with the burgeoning hip-hop culture in 1978 Detroit. His introduction of high-quality leather garments marked the beginning of an epoch that would see his brand, Pelle Pelle, flourish into a symbol of the movement. Positioned strategically in the hip-hop sanctuaries of Philadelphia and New York, Marc’s creations quickly garnered the attention and affection of the genre’s pioneers, setting a new standard for self-expression through clothing.

Can you tell us more about your background and what led you to create Pelle Pelle?

Since I was young, a deep-seated love for design propelled me into the realms of painting, sculpting, and ceramics. However, it was fashion design that would steer my path toward widespread recognition.

As a teenager, I was already refining my artistic abilities, pouring over volumes of design, pattern-making, and textiles. My dedication to learning wasn’t passive; I actively applied my knowledge by crafting garments for myself and friends.

My early ventures into entrepreneurship began with Gandolf & Company, which I founded in 1971, offering a specialized collection of men’s and women’s leather outerwear and sportswear. But by 1976, my sights were set on new horizons, leading me to sell Gandolf and introduce the world to Pelle Pelle.

Starting Pelle Pelle, I envisioned a high-fashion leather line accessible at reasonable prices to bridge a gap in the marketplace. Our launch in 1978 marked the beginning of what would quickly rise to be a top lifestyle brand for young men. The transition into streetwear felt organic, as our designs intertwined effortlessly with the urban culture.

I have always stood by the original principles and design philosophy that laid Pelle Pelle’s foundation. This unwavering commitment has helped maintain our esteemed position in the fashion industry through the years.

How did you make Pelle Pelle stand out from other fashion brands? 

When I launched Pelle Pelle it was not merely a brand launch, but a bold proclamation that luxury doesn’t have to be unattainable. What drove me was the vision to introduce high-fashion leather that didn’t come with an exorbitant price tag. The focus was: to source premium materials and craft leather jackets of remarkable quality that could reach a wider audience. This commitment to excellence did not go unnoticed, our jackets quickly became a staple in the streetwear scene.

It wasn’t long before the hip hop world embraced Pelle Pelle, propelling the brand into the limelight and etching it into the very culture of the genre. Despite the whirlwind of success, my pledge to maintain accessibility never wavered. While others perhaps sought the allure of exclusivity, I held firm to the belief that luxury should not be a privilege for the few. It was this blend of uncompromised quality and inclusivity that set Pelle Pelle apart from the competition, ensuring not only a place in fashion history but also a connection with those who valued authenticity and attainable luxury.

Now that Pelle Pelle is celebrating 46 years, what do you believe has contributed to the success of Pelle Pelle?

For over forty years, we’ve been pioneers in leather goods, not just following trends but setting them within the kinetic world of hip hop. From our humble beginnings to becoming an iconic fashion brand, we’ve consistently merged the luxury of couture with bona fide street cred. In essence, Pelle Pelle emerges not just as a clothing line but as a tangible movement in culture: one that has deeply influenced music greats and their passionate followers. 

The legacy of Pelle Pelle today remains untouched by the passage of time, upholding its celebration of superior artisanship and the wild spirit of creativity across four decades. The brand stands as a testament to its enduring consumer loyalty and the timeless quality imbued in every stitch.


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