Design inspiration for our Howitt jacket was found in a vintage shop in Notting Hill, taken from a mariner's garment originally worn on the open sea; its traditional elements have been adapted and modernised to make one of our standout pieces for men this spring.
The Fabric of Jack is about more than highlighting the wonderful suppliers we collaborate with to manufacture our garments, because there is so much more to our clothing's sartorial story. We pride ourselves on our love of taking design inspiration from our British heritage, whether clothing itself, cultural movements or historical figures and trends and, if you walk into one of our stores, you'll see that a vintage outlook is, quite literally, part of the furniture. Our garment designers share the same passion for the past as the team that kits out the stores (and as it happens, they sit back-to-back in the office too).
When it comes to designing the next season's collection the design team heads out from JWHQ into the wider world to browse the world-renowned vintage markets and boutiques across London; here they're hoping to source unusual treasures to glean from them their trade secrets – original details and lost techniques from years gone by. To demonstrate how this process works, we looked to a new season arrival that is inspired by the rich cultural affinity that the UK shares with its shoreline. Enter the Howitt jacket, which directly references an incredible vintage fisherman's jacket.
As long as fishermen have fished, they've needed to protect themselves from the elements, making their clothing the best starting point for us when designing spring-shower-ready outerwear. The original iterations of their jackets, made using animal fats and oil-treated yarns, were swapped for bright, rubberised or poly-backed parkas in the last century. The yellow jacket our designers found hidden on a rail at the back of a store on London's Portobello Road boasts many useful features – adjustable cuffs, fold-over pockets and a peaked hood – which have all been integrated into the Howitt's design. The fabric we've used has been coated in a lightly repellent material – so, while you may wish to steer clear of the North Atlantic waves, you'll certainly stay dry when heavens open on land.
Explore the new season's story here and shop the nautically inspired collection for men here and for women here.