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Fjallraven – Greenland Updated

by Neil Summers

In 1968 a 32-year-old Åke Nordin produced his first Fjällräven jacket. He called it the Greenland Jacket. It was made with his new G-1000 material (“G” standing for Greenland) that was waxed with his own wax, Greenland Wax. The story starts two years previously where Greenland was the destination for a team of Scandinavian alpinists and researchers who were in need of some gear before setting off. Step forward the industrious Fjällräven founder, Åke Nordin who offered them his aluminium-framed backpacks and new Thermo tents. Though at that time he didn’t have any clothing to contribute, so the team relied upon the materials of the time, boiled wool and leather. The team survived and the mission was a success though their clothing had let them down having been heavy, slow-drying and lacking resistance to the harsh Greenland climate.

Åke saw this as a challenge to create the perfect all-round outdoor adventure jacket. A jacket that kept you warm and dry; that wouldn’t wear out or weigh you down. A material quickly presented itself. A material Åke had experimented with before when creating his tents. He’d originally ruled it out. But with some tweaking and treatment, it could work as jacket material. Åke went back to the drawing board and testd a range of materials and impregnations. Though initially stumped he suddenly had a brainwave. In his youth, Åke and his friends had tried ski jumping where they’d spend many an hour hanging out at the huge Swoosh-shaped slope in Örnsköldsvik (his home town on Sweden’s High Coast). To avoid freezing their behinds off, they waxed the backs of their trousers to keep the snow out, their trousers dry and their behinds warm. Åke used this idea to develop Greenland Wax. And this wax offered that wind and water resistance he was looking for. It even improved the material’s durability.

With the material and impregnation sorted, he then set about using creating his perfect outdoor jacket, complete with practical pockets and a relaxed, loose fit. In continued honour to the research mission that inspired it, Åke called this jacket the Greenland Jacket. The rest as they say is history. The Greenland Jacket, launched in 1968, went on to enable a whole generation of nature lovers to spend more time outdoors and is now one of Fjällräven’s most iconic products, second only to their Kånken backpack.

Having reached this landmark of 50 years Fjällräven are celebrating with the release of a brand new Greenland collection, inspired by the original jacket. The new collection builds on the classic range, staying true to the look and feel of the originals, but evolving even further to ensure that this new generation of garments and accessories are made in a sustainable and environmentally conscious way.

Browse Fjallraven SS18 at The Sporting Lodge.

 

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Fjällräven Kånken Greenland

by Neil Summers

Swedish outdoor brand Fjällräven are currently celebrating 50 years since the arrival of their iconic Greenland coat and as part of this jacket based jubilee they’ve put together a very special version of their Kånken bag. The KånkenGreenland also makes up part of the ‘Greenland Updated’ collection which comprises of a number of Fjällrävenproducts each inspired by a new generation of people now living in Greenland – scientists and nature enthusiasts from all over the world who’ve left their homes in order to explore this pristine island. As well as providing the inspiration for Fjallraven’s first product Greenland is also home to the world’s second biggest ice sheet which plays a pivotal role in global climate change. Its sheer sun-reflecting ability moderates global temperatures, while its meltwater mitigates ocean circulation patterns. So if the entire ice sheet were to melt, global sea levels would rise by 7.2m, hence the need for some well dressed scientists to  be there.

Greenland Jacket then and now

The updated Greenland version of the Kånken joins the an impressive range that now includes the Mini Kånken, theKånken Laptop, the  KånkenBig, the upcycled Re- Kånken and the leather-detailed Kånken No. 2. This new Greenland version features the same classic design buy uses an updated G-1000 HeavyDuty Eco fabric that’s slightly thicker than the original  Kånken. Whilst the fabric is produced (in part) from recycled materials and has been waterproofed without the use of perfluorocarbons. As an additional touch the webbing straps have been given a lovely striped detailing, which matches the detailing on the other items in the Greenland series.

View all Kanken Greenlands.

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A Millican Do Attitude

by Neil Summers

Taking their name from a twentieth century adventurer called Millican (Dalton) this Lake District based brand make incredibly tough and practical rucksacks that are ideal for everyday outdoor life. Their adventuring namesake moved up from London to the Borrowdale valley in the early 1900s where he lived initially in a self-made tent before moving into the Cave Hotel on Castle Crag. Calling himself the ‘Professor of Adventure’ he made a living guiding people in the Lakes and the Alps whilst also making most of his own clothes, sleeping bags and rucksacks. A true British eccentric and self-sufficient maverick, Millican loved the simple life, communing with nature whilst inspiring others to come outdoors and do some exploring for themselves.

Set up in 2008 by a collective of conscious travellers, Millican shares a maverick spirit and love of being outdoors with their namesake. Based in Keswick the adventure capital of England when not making sustainable bags and accessories the team can usually be found out on the water or up in the hills. To Millican the bags represent more than just super practical items in beautiful colours, to them they’re a symbol of freedom and the ultimate ‘quiet companion’.’ Always ready to go out, they’ll hold everything you need for a journey and over time become scuffed by experiences and uniquely personalised en route.

We hope you like the new range as much as we do. Browse Millican.

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Hamtastic! The Story of Carharttt

by Neil Summers

In 1889 the Hamilton Carhartt & Company started for business with its namesake (known affectionately as “Ham”) at the helm, using two sewing machines and a half-horsepower electric motor in a small Detroit loft to create overalls. After a few less than successful attempts Ham decided to talk directly with railroad workers in order to design a product that would fit their needs. As a result both the motto, “Honest value for an honest dollar,” and the Carhartt bib overall were born and swiftly became the standard for quality workwear.

By 1910, Carhartt had grown to include mills and sewing facilities in South Carolina and Georgia,Atlanta, Detroit, Dallas, and San Francisco. Not to mention international outposts in Toronto, Vancouver,Liverpool.and Paris All of which came in handy for after the outbreak of WWI which saw Carhartt supplying the troops with uniforms during WWI.

It was during this era the legendary Carhartt Chore Coat (known historically as the “Engineer Sack Coat” or simply the “Coat”) was born and somewhat remarkably has remained unchanged and a staple piece of their collection 100 years on.

Despite coming close to collapse during the stock market collapse of 1929 Ham & co managed to weather the storm of the great Depression, even finding time to proactively support workers rights. The brand continued to grow and by the 1970s received massive orders for the construction of the Alaska Pipeline which helped to grow the brand as well as prove the gear could survive in the harshest weather conditions on earth.

By the 1980s Carhartt become very popular within the US hip-hop scene which took the brand beyond its workwear roots and into a much wider global audience. Which brings us up to modern day where the brand has earned itself iconic status and has never been more popular. thanks to the ongoing involvement of the Hamilton family and their knack for well made workwear that looks the part whether you’re building a stage or performing on one.

We’re pleased to announce SS18 is now online.

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The Magic of Sunspel

by Neil Summers

In 1860 Thomas Hill opened up his textile factory in Newdigate, Nottingham, a place that was to become the centre of the British lace making industry. Under the name Sunspel he used his fabric expertise to make lightweight, soft clothing in very fine cotton and pioneered the development of luxury undergarments, as we know them today. Some of the earliest garments they made also included tunics and undershirts that were some of the first t-shirts ever made.

By the start of the twentieth century Sunspel had built a significant export business across the British Empire and was one of the earliest British companies to export to the Far East. Company records even show that a shipment of Sunspel garments due for Hong Kong and China was aboard the N.Y.K Hirano Maru, which was sadly torpedoed and sunk by a German U-Boat in the Irish Sea in 1918. It was also during this period that Sunspel developed its unique Sea Island cotton fabrics sourced from the West Indies and used in the most luxurious of its products. It was also a particular favourite with Ian Fleming who not only dressed himself in Sea Island cotton but also his literary creation James Bond.

After surviving the great depression the factory relocated to Long Eaton where it remains to this day. Though primarily focusing on their premium line of Sea Island cotton underwear during WWII the brand turned their hand to utility clothing to aid the war effort and continued to lead the way despite suffering a direct hit from the Luftwaffe on their Bruton street offices in London.

Soon after the war John Hill left the gloom of Britain for the glamour of boom time America and was soon inspired by the ideas and innovations of New York. It was here that he saw the opportunity to bring the boxer short to the UK which he did whilst perfecting it’s design along the way. The first Sunspel boxers were cut with a unique back panel to avoid a middle seam and made from Sea Island cotton and designed for comfort. Now recognised as the industry standard for the best boxer shorts out there, in 1985 a pristine pair of white Sunspel boxer shorts appeared in a game-changing advert for Levi’s 501s. The award winning advert saw model Nick Kamen casually stripping down to his boxers in a launderette to a Marvin Gaye soundtrack and changed the underwear buying habits of a nation overnight.

Since then the brand has continued to provide clothing for a wide range of costume designers, actors and musicians. With the name Sunspel being respected as much for their menswear and womenswear collections nowadays as it is for their iconic and incredibly comfortable underwear.

Browse the fantastic collection at The Sporting Lodge

 

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The Weatherill Report

If you’re not familiar with Bernard Weatherill, Neil Summers digs into the history.

The name Bernard Weatherill is one that is synonymous with the world of bespoke tailoring. Starting life a family business in Sunninghill, Berkshire within two years they had their own shop on Savile Row and by 1920 had acquired a royal warrant to King George as riding clothes outfitter and livery tailor. Over the past 100 years the brand has continued to maintain its reputation for excellence as well as attract a number of high profile customers which includes a continuing royal warrant for the current Queen. Though by the 1950s the brand merged with Kilgour their suit-making neighbours on Savile Row who at that time were famous for creating Fred Astaire’s morning coat for the film Top Hat.

When the swinging sixties arrived famous faces such as Jackie Onassis and Sean Connery were regular visitors to the Savile Row shop. The reason for James Bond dropping by being to be fitted up for his Weatherill designed tweed suit made for his role in Goldfinger. As well as movie stars, sporting celebrities have also been regular customers at the store over the past century, with Weatherill being given the honour to make riding coats for the entire British equestrian team at the Olympic games in Atlanta in 1996.

Although their high quality products are now sourced from around the globe, Bernard Weatherill’s outerwear, breeches and accessories continue to be manufactured and hand crafted in the UK. As recognised experts in their field Bernard Weatherill continuing to make the finest in traditional civil and sporting tailoring with a modern outlook.

For a limited period only The Sporting Lodge have an exclusive 50% off introductory offer, must end Friday 9th February. Browse the collection.

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The Grenfell Cordings Shooter Jacket

by Neil Summers

Though Grenfell’s origins can be traced back to 1923, their iconic Shooter jacket first came about during the 1940s and has changed very little since. Essentially it’s a shooting jacket that’s smart enough to be worn around town this new version differs from the original thanks to a waterproof backing alongside the rain resistant Grenfell Cloth and has also been treated to a gentle garment washing process to compliment the jacket’s heritage look.  Created for Cordings of Piccadilly this version also features three external pockets as opposed to the usual four with an additional game pocket on the inside that can be taken out and cleaned as and when required, with the bellows pockets featuring eyelets to let any unwanted water escape.

As with all Grenfell products it’s the attention to detail that really makes this Shooter jacket stand out as well as it’s timeless, functional design. For example the sturdy collar can be turned up to keep the wind out, with both a top button and a throat tab to batten things down whilst the bellow pockets feature eyelets to allow water to escape. The jacket’s cuffs are elasticated to avoid the wind billowing up the arms whilst you’re taking aim or just out walking the dog. Vintage versions of this stylish yet practical field jacket have been going for hair raising prices at auction recently, I can see this version destined to be one of Grenfell’s most highly prized jackets in years to come.

The Grenfell shooter is now online at The Sporting Lodge.

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Pendleton Woolen Mills – The Legendary Blankets

by Neil Summers

Over the past 25 years, Pendleton Woolen Mills have developed a series of Legendary blankets all of which are based on the beliefs and traditions of their original and most valued customers, the Native American Indian. Though founded by British weaver Thomas Kay back in 1863 it was only after the purchase of a mill along the Oregon Trail in 1909 that their blankets, robes and shawls became highly prized by the Native American population.

One of the reasons for the popularity of these products is thanks to the care taken by the pattern designers to learn about the native mythologies and design preferences of their customers. In the earliest years, Joe Rawnsley, who was considered a gifted talent on the jacquard loom, took time out with the local natives of northeastern Oregon to develop and understand their preferences of colour and design. Which he would then interpret the ideas gleaned from the native peoples into blanket designs using modern technologies that could express pattern ideas in much greater detail and in more vivid colours that could be expressed by traditional weaving methods.

Local business men during a Pendleton Mill tour in 1910.

Wiith the success of these first designs, Mr. Rawnsley went on to spend a further spent six months in the native Southwest developing ideas for designs that would specifically appeal to the tribes of this region. He returned with hundreds of designs to be interpreted into his weaving processes and also entering Pendleton blankets into the ‘Indian trade’. Meaning that local natives started to take the blankets down from Oregon to the Southwest tribes in order to exchange them for silver jewellery, wool or other items of value. The colourful blankets were also integrated into everyday and ceremonial uses; part of a dowry, weddings, gift giving, pow wows, dance prizes, naming ceremonies, funerals and memorials. With blankets often being placed into coffins to keep loved ones warm on their journey.

Today, Pendleton blankets continue to play a significant role in Indigenous communities across North America with the tradition of wool and textile innovation established by Thomas Kay and his family underlying all Pendleton products. Though the good news now is that you don’t have to belong to a Native American tribe in order to own one as The Sporting Lodge are now proud stockists of this incredible American brand.

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Introducing Poler

For those who enjoy the unique sense of happiness and freedom that outdoor living provides then Poler is the brand that you’ve been looking for. As rather than setting itself out as a technical brand focussed on surviving sub-zero climates and extreme weather, Poler has a more laid back and pragmatic approach to its product design.

Created in Portland by Benji Wagner with two of his friends, Poler sprang to life in response to the sheer lack of outdoor brands that Benji and mates wanted to wear. Whilst the outdoor gear that already existed may have been perfectly good suited for camping, hiking and travelling in, it just weren’t up to scratch aesthetically.

Using Benji’s home as a base the brand made their debut in 2011 with a range of tents, tees and bags with the aim of bringing surf, skate and snowboard culture into the world of outdoor adventure. Six years later and Poler is now something of a cult brand amongst a different type of adventurer who  can be spotted everywhere from the middle of Mediterranean music festivals to hanging out on the Ho Chi Min trail.

Browse the new Poler collection at The Sporting Lodge.

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Wigwam – Let’s Talk Socks

by Neil Summers,

In 1904 in Wisconsin USA a devastating fire at the Sheboygan Knitting Company resulted in the sad demise of a company that had previously thrived thanks to the continuous demands of the lumber industry. From the ashes of the fire rose the Hand Knit Hosiery company, a family business that would later be become WigWam, a world leader in outdoor, athletic and active sock production.

Being pioneers in what was at the time a totally new concept of athletic socks, by the 1920s they were being asked to produce products for various outdoor retailers such as Abercrombie & Fitch. It was during this time that they also started to produce woolen bathing suits in keeping with their athletic innovation as well as sweaters for dogs in the 1940s would you believe? Though by 1945 their entire output was dedicated to the war effort, providing wool socks for the army & navy.

In 1957 the company name was changed to WigWam the origins of which are not known with most people assuming it is because their original crossed knitting needles logo resembled the top of a native American teepee. The only record the company have of a name change is a letter from the company president Robert Chesebro Senior to his staff which read:  “But only our name changes. Our people, our quality, our sales policies – and above all, our desire to work with you – remain the same.”

Since then WigWam have continued to flourish thanks to their high standards of comfort and quality performance socks. In 1978 Robert was even inducted into the Sporting Goods Hall of Fame in recognition of his work utilizing nylon in athletic, hunting and ski socks. By the late eighties WigWam became a global brand and is now sold in over 30 countries where it has become a firm favourite with everyone from aerobic instructors to alpine climbers.

View the range here at The Sporting Lodge.