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The trench is back: from the battlefield to the street

A classic garment becoming essential for our streetwear wardrobe.

The trench is back: from the battlefield to the street A classic garment becoming essential for our streetwear wardrobe.

I know it seems strange to speak about such a classic piece of clothing and admit that it’s now essential for a complete streetwear wardrobe, but we must recognize the fact that the trench is back.

Most of the fashion labels have decided to reinterpret this famous coat, starting from its distinguishing features, those that elevated the trench coat to become at first a practical, and then above all a symbol of elegance. We have tried to explain why you are wearing it right now, starting from the early 1800s up to Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, who wore a trench coat in the latest Kim Jones' fashion show as creative director of Louis Vuitton.

 

 

Burberry or Aquascutum?

Let us start in 1828. England's military started wearing a rubberized cotton coat, invented by Charles Mackintosh, which was better suited to protect soldiers from weather conditions and from the tough conditions on the battlefield. Nowadays Nike or Stone Island would call it techwear. The trench coat as we know it now was probably invented by John Emary, who founded his brand Aquascutum in 1853 and also came up with a lite waterproof fiber, so what about Burberry then?  If the trench coat is now famous and perfectly recognizable it is thanks to the English brand Burberry founded by a 21-years-old draper from Hampshire, who was able to invent a new and innovative fabric, the Gabardine, which proved itself to be popular among the upper class. From that moment on the easily waterproofing fabric conquered the world. When Sir Ernest Shackleton went to Antarctica in 1907, he and his crew wore Burberry's gabardine coats and sheltered in tents made from the same material. King Edward VII also wore a trench coat and its role in the fashion industry was consolidated. The properties changed depending on military needs -the main industry for which they were produced- that required aesthetical characteristics as well.

 

 

 Nothing quiet on the western front

Before the First world war, the trench coat was known only as "coat". During the conflict, some trench features, important to understand the coat's history, were defined.  The iconic Khaki (meaning “dust” in Hindi, ndr) colorway was the result of a lesson learned in India, during the Indian Rebellion of 1857, when the English army understood the camouflage effect. The Tielocken model equipped with a belt was born in 1912, particularly useful to hook guns, swords and other military utilities like binoculars and map cases. The same practical requirement demand that led to the creation of bigger and bigger pockets. The length was short enough that it wouldn’t drag in the mud and wide enough to allow ease of movement, but still covered a significant portion of the body. The last two characteristics of the trench coat are connected to military needs again. High neck to cover the face if poison gas attack occurs, a double layer on the shoulder offered greater protection from the weather. The trench coat was a very, very useful garment.

 

 

Gentleman on the streets

The challenge between the English textile industries made the trench coat, now known only as "trench", a must-have item both for men and women.

From the 40's the trench dressed the brightest Hollywood's stars like Humphrey Bogart, Marlene Dietrich, and Audrey Hepburn. The trench began to represent the middle classes’ aspirations and in a broader sense the symbol of English patriotism. Runways have not abandoned them anymore, and even our grandparents' cabinets, from where we took them, realizing that they have not changed and that Slimane, Virgil Abloh, Demna Gvasalia or Prada have respected the tradition and the elegance of the coat. 

fashion's tribe reinvent trench's identity, it breaks the class barriers and the differences between the classical style and the street style. Recently was the high fashion to get inspired by sneakers and technology, now, thanks to the trench coat, the inspiration is mutual. Trench length is perfectly matched with the oversize trend, Burberry is now on the rise and the possibility of customization are wide. Those are the reason why it's important you have a trench coat in 2018. The trench can perfectly connect classic style and streetwear. It's like when the singers write a cover of a famous song, they must respect the melody, but still adding new shades.

This is the new Les Vêtement de Football collection’s spirit and this time it is certainly not meant to camouflage.