Style Rider focuses on the intersection of motorcycle culture and individual style. Here we speak to graphic designer and co-founder of the Leatherettes Natalia Hernandez about the freedom, adventure and community she gets from riding her Yamaha called Derek.
Name: Natalia Hernandez
Residence: Melbourne, Australia
Occupation: Graphic designer
Today’s Ride: My ride or die, Derek the 1994 Yamaha SRV250.
Describe your style: My style ebbs and flows with my mood, favouring street styles and vintage designer items. I’m hugely influenced by Japanese street wear and love looking at street styles from Paris, Milan and the like. And, vintage Americana influences too.
My jacket is from Funkessentials, a short lived Melbourne street wear brand in the early 90s. It gained quite the reputation because it was the “first wave” of local street wear in Melbourne. This particular jacket is a sample and was never produced. It was based on classic workwear jackets and was garment dyed. The label was run by a guy named Bruce Slorach who ended up later as the head designer at Mambo. My partner, Kano Hollamby was the other designer for Funkessentials.
The leather pouch on my motorcycle is a repurposed leather clutch bag that I found at a thrift store in Daylesford years ago. It had a damaged strap, but I loved the cactus engraving. I did a DIY job on it and used some small leather belts to fasten it to Derek as a small saddle bag. It comes in handy for suncream and sunglasses.
Favorite items: My new Biltwell Gringo helmet in metal flake. It makes me feel like a disco ball. I also have my trusty Red Wing boots which are so comfortable for riding. Another staple is my Burberry Moto Leather Jacket (not pictured) that I scored second hand years ago. I ride in that jacket most of the time and it is made better than anything else I own. I want to be buried in it.
Next Purchase: I’ve always wanted to go back to Paris and do some vintage shopping and find a brown leather moto jacket. I’d also love a leather one piece suit one day.
Best local ride: Anywhere up past Warrandyte. Particularly King Lake to Toolangi and onto Healesville. Also the Black Spur. So good.
Best distance ride: Hands down, the Great Ocean Road, Reefton Spur and Eildon-Jamieson Road. I also did a motorcycle camping trip to Adelaide with my partner along the coast and it was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on.
Tip for stylish motorcycling: Nothing wrong with tailoring motorcycle gear that doesn’t fit you; you’ll probably end up with something unique and will last you longer than most things on the market. Shopping internationally for vintage motorcycle gear is also a great way to find items you will love forever. Though I love to try and look as “fashun” as I can on Derek, I definitely dress for the slide. I never leave the house without leather or Kevlar jackets/leggings under my clothing. I love cornering and dress appropriately. Kevlar leggings have been a great addition for me to have under any pants I own. They give me more confidence when enjoying a decent ride and are comfortable to wear the entire day if necessary.
Next motorcycle trip: Hopefully Tasmania or New Zealand. The dream would be to do a motorcycle trip from Spain to Italy via Croatia. I have family in Madrid so it would be great to use that as a base.
Why do you like riding? It has completely changed my life. I love the freedom and adventure it gives you, as well as the community here in Melbourne. I’m so lucky to have met so many amazing friends through riding. My friend George and I founded the Leatherettes here in Melbourne in 2016 and I met my partner through the Melbourne Cafe Racers. It is a way of life for me and one of the best things I have ever done.