London Tradition Duffle Coats

Feb 28th, 2019

LondonTradition2photo: London Tradition

We are always pleased to be introduced to brands that share our values of quality, style, and elegance. One such company is London Tradition, who we recently met through our Italian textile agent.

Based in the East End, London Tradition have been making traditional outerwear since 2001. They create proper raincoats, pea coats and quilted parkas but they are probably best known for their duffle coats. When we say “well known”, they are not a household name in the UK but their classic duffle coats have a cult status in Japan where classic English country style is both understood and appreciated. Rob Huson, their creative director, has made the perfect duffle coat for every market and they have over 400 variations in different fits.

The classic duffle coat was adopted by the Royal Navy in the later 1880s. The thick study cloth was woven in Belgium and fashioned into a simple overcoat to protect seaman from the harsh elements. The large hood was designed to fit over a military cap, whilst the deep outside patch pockets gave easy access to essential kit and the throat latch protected the neck from the biting cold. But probably the most iconic feature of the duffle coat is the toggle fastening; London Tradition still use genuine horn toggles that are both decorative but intrinsically practical. A toggle can be fastened or unfastened by a single gloved hand, essential in extreme conditions.

The duffle coat grew in popularity in the 20th century and was worn in both world wars. Perhaps the most famous wearer was Field Marshall Montgomery and many know the duffle as a “Montgomery”. After World War Two, there was a surfeit of military clothing and the duffle coat soon became popular for civilian wear. In fact, in the 1960s it became a symbol of the counter- culture and anti-War campaigns. In the 1990s it was part of the “Cool Britannia” phenomena that celebrated all that was British, but the duffle coat is rarely seen in the UK today. They are probably most associated with that other British icon, Paddington Bear! But next time you are in the market for a well-made, practical topcoat, consider the offer from our friends at London Tradition. Their classic duffle is exceptionally good value at £300!