EXPLORE: OUR SUMMER INSPIRATION

Our summer collection is inspired by exploration and the global adventures of people with a thirst for travel and discovering new places, with its roots in the story of an epic 1950s road trip.

March 1956, Singapore. As the two Land Rovers, battle-scarred from thousands upon thousands of miles, rolled to a stop on Orchard Road, “they opened the champagne. Cameras clicked and whirred, flashbulbs popped, reporters buzzed about… After all, it had been a long drive – six months, six days, and nearly 19,000 miles. We had reached the end of Asia, and by land, we could go no further”.

This is where Tim Slessor ended his account of an extraordinary journey; he was one of six Oxford and Cambridge graduates who set themselves the challenge of driving from London to Singapore (and back again) in 1955. It’s documented in The First Overland, a book that sowed the seeds of our current collection well over a year ago, as our design team began to delve into the world of adventure and exploration.

British heritage is always at the forefront of our minds when researching a new collection; as well as a great deal of online research, about everything from the global outlook of our most intrepid adventurers of the time to military-inspired travel apparel, vintage shops were scoured and we pored over The First Overland – what colours and styles were the friends wearing, and what countries did they pass through? A road trip that included Germany, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Thailand provided more than enough material to inform the main body of the collection.

The result? Our summer collection is imbued with a spirit of adventure, featuring designs that reflect practical exploration garb, and striking pieces influenced by specialist crafts and fabrics found in different countries across the world. Olive, sand and khaki formed the base of the colour palette, perfect for pieces like the rain mac, bombers and jackets, all of which were made with functional fabrications and military-inspired detailing.

Madras shirts nod both to modern-day explorer style and elements that have been woven into the ‘British traveller look’ over the decades. Named after what was formerly known as Chennai, a modern Madras fabric has a plaid, checked or even striped pattern in generally bright colours. These versions were said to be the result of the tartan craze that started when King George IV visited Scotland in 1822. This influenced the British in India and tartans began to be incorporated into Madras. Our shirts, all designed in house, are made from a classic cotton fabric in tones of blue, khaki and white with red accents and rich plum highlights, adding colour to the range.

The overriding design ethos was to create clothing that was fit for purpose – using lightweight, open-weave, garment-dyed materials and employing clever design details geared towards making a traveller’s life easier. A British explorer in the 1950s would have been wearing practical clothing heavily influenced by military kit, which in turn added to the heritage feel of items like the chino trousers or shorts.

For the most part, our safari and exploration-inspired clothing is understated and classic – if you want to mix in something more vibrant, check out our new tropical print for her and for him. After all, most modern-day explorers can safely risk jazzing up their ensembles with a loud statement shirt and parrot-print boxers.

JACK WILLS CHINOS

JACK WILLS CHINOS

Where did we turn when we wanted to refresh a classic? To ÖZAK Textile in Turkey.