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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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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 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.

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Introducing – Patagonia

Introducing Patagonia, brand new to The Sporting Lodge. If you’re not clued up on Patagonia, the lads Proper Mags dig into the history. 

The name Yvon Chouinard is one that’s synonymous with the great outdoors and has a legendary status in the worlds of climbing, surfing and fly fishing not to mention his ecological and philanthropic work. For those of you unfamiliar with his name then you may be more aware of his outdoor brand Patagonia.

Having moved to California from Maine as a child,  Yvon developed a love for climbing after being taught to abseil at a local falconry club. He instantly fell in love with the sport and soon learnt how to ascend cliffs as well as to get down them. Soon he and his friends would be regularly hopping freight trains to the west end of the San Fernando Valley and to the sandstone cliffs of Stoney Point. Before long Yvon had become part of a group of maverick climbers that had moved on to Yosemite and it’s big walls. Which is where in between hiding from the park rangers that Yvon first started to develop his own outdoor equipment. Initially starting with reusable climbing pitons Yvon then expanded into clothing after importing British rugby shirts whose sturdy collars provided perfect protection from rope burn.

Along with some like-minded friends Yvon set up the brand Patagonia as it’s named  conjured up “romantic visions of glaciers tumbling into fjords, jagged windswept peaks, gauchos and condors.” It also helped that the name could be pronounced by in any language.

Alongside climbing Yvon’s other two great loves of surfing and fly-fishing are also an important part of the Patagonia product range. They also reflect the strong environmental ethos of the company and their anti-corporate stance. Which may sound like something of a paradox for a global clothing brand though they give millions away to NGOs around the world and encourage people to repair their clothing rather than replace it. Such is their level of commitment to reducing waste that on Black Friday2011 they printed a full-page ad in The New York Times encouraging customers not to buy their products!

It’s pretty difficult not to buy Patagonia products though when they’re incredibly durable whether you’re river deep or mountain high as well as being made from organic/recycled products wherever possible. Not only that but their choice of colours and designs really make them stand out from the crowd and have ensured their popularity with the fashionistas as much as alpinists.

View the range now at The Sporting Lodge.

Neil Summers and Mark Smith.

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Wigwam – Brand New to The Sporting Lodge

by Mark Smith,

Founded in 1905, Wigwam was the creation three men – Herbert Chesebro, Robert Ehany, and Lawerance Bentz. This trio had previously worked for the Sheboygan Knitting Company but when it burnt down, they quickly combined to fill its place.

In a town benefiting from diverse immigration, Wigwam rose to prominence quickly, supplying the various lumbermen of the area. Sheboygan had originally been officially founded 49 years earlier but prior to that it was inhabited by various Native American tribes.

By 1936, Chesebro had taken full control of the company, but like many businesses, the war effort led to a shift in production, with 75% of their capacity being used to make socks for troops overseas.

In the post-war years, Wigwam used its strong reputation to branch out into all kinds of hosiery, with a forward-thinking outlook which has kept the company at the forefront for more than a century.

Today, Wigwam make some of the finest, most hard wearing and hard working socks on the market.

We are pleased to now be stocking Wigwam at The Sporting Lodge, browse the range!

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James Purdey – The Best in the World

by Neil Summers.

James Purdey, the best gunmakers in the world for over 200 years.

In 1814 James Purdey established his gun and rifle making business at premises in Prince’s street just off Leicester Square and within ten years was regarded as the finest gunmaker in London. By 1858 his son took over the running of the company from his father. Being at forefront of change and advances in the design and building of his guns and rifles James the Younger improved on his father’s legacy by taking out several patents for technical innovations, many of which went on to be adopted by other gunmakers such as the Purdey bolt. In 1868 Purdey received its first Royal Warrant by appointment to the Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII with Queen Victoria also granting an additional warrant ten years later such was her love of their prestigious guns. Shortly after this time Purdey moved to new prem­ises at 57 South Audley Street where they offered gun-making workshops and cartridge load facilities and is where the company is still situated to this day.

At the turn of the century Athol Purdey took over from his father, James Purdey the Younger with his two sons James & Thomas joining the firm after recovering from serious injuries sustained fighting in France during WW1. The two brothers later took over the business though due to the economic downturn caused by WW2 sold the majority of their shares to Hugh & Victor Seeley though continued to establish Purdey as the as the best gun makers on a global scale with the help of expert gunsmith Harry Lawrence.

After Richard Beaumount took over the business in the fifties his wife the Hon Mrs Richard Beaumont went on to set up the Purdey accessories shop in adjoining premises on Mount Street in the early Seventies. The shop sold a range of exclusive high quality shooting clothing and was the first London gunmaker to ever do so. Since then Purdey have celebrated their bi-centenary in 2014 and are firmly established as an iconic name synonymous with unrivalled gun making craftsmanship as well as having forged a reputation as suppliers of excellent outdoor attire and accessories.

We are so proud to work with Purdey, long may that continue, browse our extensive range at The Sporting Lodge.