Check out all of the posts in the category ‘60 Second Guides’ below. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, try searching by using the box on the right hand side of this page.
Thursday, 6th Nov 2014
The parka jacket is both a subculture classic and a winter wardrobe staple. It first appeared on British shores when the Mods reclaimed them from army surplus stores in the 1950s – but the origins of the jacket can be traced back much further.
The first parka came from Canada. Invented by the native Caribou Inuit, it was originally crafted from the oiled skins of seal or reindeer. The hood of the jacket – one of its key features – helped to protect the wearer’s face from the freezing winter winds and sub-zero temperatures.
Later, the basic parka jacket style was adopted by the American Military, who used it to combat the freezing weather conditions faced by the US army in the Korean War of 1951. Taking reference from the Inuits’ version, it evolved into the more familiar fishtail parka, which is the shape that modern day variations are still based on.
There were four main styles of fishtail parka; the EX-48, M-48, M-51 and the M-65 (the M standing for military). The EX-48 and M-48 jackets were of extremely high quality and their high cost meant that they were only in production for about a year.
The M-51 is the classic fishtail parka jacket, and the shape that still inspires most versions today. It’s an iconic piece of outerwear, and key features that still appear on modern interpretations include a detachable lining, a fur-trim detachable hood and a long ‘fishtail at the back – hence the name.
Nobody knows exactly why this technical military jacket became adopted by the British Mod movement in the late 1950s and early 60s, but there are many theories. The most likely seems to be that the jacket was actually very practical for riding scooters. Available at a cheap price from army surplus stores, the M-51 parka jacket was an exceptionally high-quality jacket, designed to brave the elements.
Another major appeal in the M-51 Parka was that they were worn by nobody else. Image was integral to the Mod movement, and wearing something entirely different from the crowd held strong appeal.
The jackets quickly became customised – Union Jack flags, scooter-club patches and badges, music references and RAF targets were pinned, stitched and ironed on. Stamping a very British element to a military piece evolved the parka into a subculture staple.
The jacket is an iconic piece of Mod uniform, gaining notoriety after the news reports of the infamous seaside riots of 1964, and then later appearing on the cover of The Who’s defining ‘Quadrophenia’ album and the classic British film of the same name.
Image above - still from "Quadrophenia"
The parka remains a winter wardrobe staple to this day and remains a key shape throughout our own jacket collection this season.
Thanks to Alain Bibal
Friday, 3rd May 2013
The Giro d’Italia or the Tour of Italy is one of the greatest cycling races in the world; along with the Tour de France and Vuelta a España it forms part of the Triple Crown of Cycling.
Created in 1909, the race was originally designed to boost circulation of the Italian sports newspaper ‘La Gazetto dello Sport’ – to this day the winner wears a pink jersey (Maglia Rosa) to represent the colour of the founding newspaper.
Easy to romanticise by onlookers, the gruelling 21 stage race unravels across a backdrop of glorious Italian landscapes, taking in many of the momentous Dolomite mountain climbs and those of neighbouring countries. Spanning approximately 3500 kilometres, the intensity of the race is enhanced by its unfortunate end date. Riders completing the Giro are expected just one month later to begin the punishing Le Tour de France – this overwhelming prospect often results in a decision to target winning one race and forgoing the other. Riders that complete both races successfully are given extra kudos. Riders that win both races within their careers become heroes. And those that champion both races in the same season, they become legends.
Although the start, the route and the finish point vary from year to year the race is always made up of the same components – Sprint Stages, Mountain Stages and Time Trials. The different stages play out in different ways, with riders excelling in one particular area; it is unusual for a rider to excel in every type of stage and this is why strategy becomes imperative to success.
This year 23 teams made up of 207 international riders will enter the race. Before and during the race each team will work together and decide who has the best chance of winning, the team must then dedicate themselves to helping their leader win.
There are various jerseys to be won throughout the race, the most coveted being the Maglia Rosa - which goes to the stage winner. Following on from the stage winners jersey is the Maglia Rosso Passione, whose name arguably loses some of its charm when translated into English - the red passion knit - this goes to the rider with the highest points overall; points are awarded to riders according to their ranking in each stage. Then there is Maglia Azzura, which goes to the best climber classification and the Maglia Bianca for bright young things (the best young rider).
The overall winner of the race is the competitor with the lowest cumulative time to complete all stages. Coverage of the event usually focuses around a few firm favourites and the battles between arch-rivals can make compelling viewing. Perhaps one of the most famous Giros of all was in 1949, when Italian national heroes Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali pitted against each other for three long weeks across post-war Italy. Coppi took the title then followed it up with a Le Tour win, earning him the nickname the Il Campionissimo – the champion of champions. Strong contenders for this years giro title include 2012 Tour de France winner, Olympic cycling champion and Fred Perry collaborator Bradley Wiggins.
See the latest Fred Perry and Bradley Wiggins Collection here.
Tuesday, 5th Mar 2013
The 60s kids kept it slim and tailored. The skins slipped theirs on under braces and wore it buttoned up. Marilyn Monroe famously tied hers at the waist. A recent rockabilly revival has seen it peeking beneath heavy leathers. An absolute classic, the gingham check shirt has been a mainstay of the youth wardrobe for decades; its enduring appeal recognised by each generation.
Women's Classic Gingham Shirt
With a history as chequered as the pattern itself, gingham's exact origins are unknown. Countries worldwide, each with their own gingham 'customs' lay claim to founding the fabric. The African Masaï tribe have used the pattern for thousands of years and it even features in the national costume. In Indonesia the pattern takes on a spiritual meaning; the contrasting colours represent the battle between good and evil. In India it is referred to as Gamucha and is simply a towel used to dry the body.
The word itself, thought to derive from the Malaysian word genggang meaning ‘striped’, first appeared in the English language in the early 17th Century. The brightly coloured fabric was imported to Britain under the rule of Queen Elizabeth I, who notoriously created strong trade links with the Far East during this period. However the fabric's popularity truly flourished during the 18th Century when mills around the Manchester area began producing the brightly coloured check from imported dyes and cotton.
Men's Authentic Gingham Shirts
It was during the mid 20th Century that the gingham shirt truly came to the fore with the cult of the teenager - tribes emerged each with a unifying sense of style. Some were influenced by Hollywood, some took sartorial tips from the early Nashville musicians, others looked to the Italians and French. Each tribe found a way to wear the gingham shirt and in turn passed it down through the generations. The classic check shirt remains largely unchanged – a button down collar, the locker hoop at the yoke, an open chest pocket.
Shop the Men's Authentic Gingham Shirt
Shop the Women's Authentic Gingham Shirt