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  • Writer's pictureClarissa Ward


belstaff have been making bespoke custom motorcycle gear since the early 1900's, and with recent research done by josh simms into their historical archive, i have found some particularly iconic oilskin pieces that are similar to the types of things i want to create.

oilskin is made using a densely woven cotton base with an enamel coating of boiled linseed wax to give it an impermeable, waterproof finish. it is an ideal fabric for clothes made to be worn outside as it is incredibly hard wearing and is unlikely to leak if the garment has been well constructed.

from the belstaff archive website page i found this quote :

'I like heavyweight jeans and a heavy wool overcoat to protect me from the elements,' says Doug Gunn. 'These days garments are getting lighter and lighter - because of different demands, because of new fabrics. But I'm an old-fashioned guy.' That approach made Gunn, co-owner of vintage menswear experts The Vintage Showroom and the man charged with building Belstaff's archive, especially ideal to curate a new pop-up exhibition of the clothing brand's historic all-weather garments, to go on display this April at the New Bond Street store in London.

i like gunn's philosophy and agree with it fully. there is too much flimsy fashion these days, jeans that only last a few washes, colours that fade quickly, fabrics that rip. a return to the culture of long lasting clothes that may be a little pricier but are guaranteed to last many adventures are worthwhile investments, especially for those living outside who need something sturdy and trustworthy.

this 1940's parka is barely different from a parka you'd buy today, except if you bought it today the zip would break in under a year and there would be atleast 10% nylon content. ew.

and oh look... by the 70's... it's still pretty similar. what i love about this parka is how they've designed the hood and how high the collar comes in front of the place, essential in the cold. pockets are also SUPER essential for not loosing things in a van, tiny spaces and all.

A WHOLE OILSKIN SUIT. wow. comfy. seriously though - you definitely wouldn't get muddy in this, and if the trousers had an inner layer/lining of something wooly and warm they'd be indestructible.


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