The parka Jacket

From indigenous people of the Arctic to Quadrophenia, by way of the US military and then indie bands, the parka has proved itself to be more than just a practical winter coat. Its name is the sole word in English derived from Nenets, the language spoken in the Arctic north of Russia close to where the parka originated. The Parka was originally designed and worn by hunters in the Arctic regions for protection against the freezing temperatures and wind.Typically made from caribou or sealskin and trimmed with fur, the hooded Inuit jacket is the model for today’s parkas, which first came to prominence in the 1950s when the US military developed the N-3B snorkel parka.In the 1960s the Fishtail Parka became popular with the Mods, wearing it to protect smarter clothes underneath when riding their scooters.  As popular today as it was in the 60’s and manufactured by many of the top brands the Parka seems like it’s here to stay!


The Fishtail Parka

The fishtail parka was first used by the United States Army in 1950 to help protect soldiers from the elements in the Korean War. Following the end of the Second World War the US army recognized the need for a new cold weather system for fighting in as the existing kit was inadequate; the fishtail parka solution was the result of a concerted design effort.

There are four main styles of fishtail parkas: the EX-48, M-48, M-51 and the M-65. The M stands for military, and the number is the year it was standardized. The EX-48 model was the first prototype or “experimental” precursor to all of them. The M-48 then being the first actual production model fishtail parka after the pattern being standardised on December 24, 1948.

The name fishtail comes from the fish tail extension at the back that could be folded up between the legs, much like a Knochensack, and fixed using snap connectors to add wind-proofing. The fishtail was fixed at the front for warmth or folded away at the back to improve freedom of movement when needed.

The EX-48 parka is distinctive as it has a left sleeve pocket and is made of thin poplin, only the later production M-48 parkas are made of the heavier sateen canvas type cotton. The EX-48 also has a thin fibre glass based liner that is very light and warm, the M-48 has a thicker wool pile liner with an integral hood liner made of wool. Both are distinguishable from any other type of parka by having the sleeve pocket. This was dropped for the M-51 onward The fur ruff on the hood is also fixed to the shell of an EX-48/M-48 and is of wolf, coyote or often wolverine. The M-48 parka was costly to produce and therefore only in production for around one year. The pockets were wool lined both inside and out. The cuffs had two buttons for securing tightly around a wearer’s wrist. The later more mass-produced M-51 parka had just the one cuff button. The liner had a built in chest pocket which again was unique to the M-48 parka.

The next revision was the M-51, made because the M48 was so good and of such high quality it was just too expensive to mass-produce.


The outer hood of the M-51 Fishtail Parka is integral to the parka shell, an added hood liner as well as a button in main liner make the M-51 a versatile 3 piece parka. The idea behind this 3 part system was to enable a more customisable parka that allowed for easier cleaning of the shell as the hood fur was on the detachable hood liner, not fixed to the shell as in the M-48. It also allowed for both liners to be buttoned in or our depending on the temperature and hence warmth required. It was also cheaper than the M-48 to mass-produce The early M-51 was made of heavy sateen cotton, the same material as the M-48. Later revisions of the M-51 were poplin based. The later liners were also revised from the “heavy when wet” wool pile to a lighter woolen loop or frieze wool design that dried easier and were far lighter. The frieze liners were constructed of mohair and were designed using a double loop system which repelled cold weather.

The M-65 fishtail parka has a detachable hood and was the last revision. It features a removable quilted liner made of light nylon / polyester batting which are modern synthetic materials. The M-65 fishtail parka first came in to production in 1968. These parkas featured synthetic fur on the hoods after an outcry from the fur lobby. As a result, only hoods for these parkas made in 1972 and for one year later have real fur.

Designed primarily for combat arms forces such as infantry, they are to be worn over other layers of clothing; alone, the fishtail parka is insufficient to protect against “dry cold” conditions (i.e. below about -10 °C). As such all fishtail parkas are big as they were designed to be worn over battle dress and other layers.

In the 1960s UK, the fishtail parka became a symbol of the mod subculture. Because of their practicality, cheapness and availability from army surplus shops, the parka was seen as the ideal garment for fending off the elements and protecting smarter clothes underneath from grease and dirt when on the mod’s vehicle of choice, the scooter. Its place in popular culture was assured by newspaper pictures of parka-clad mods during the Bank Holiday riots of the 1960s.

See here :

What is the reason for fur on hood jackets?

OK, this is super-interesting, because it’s non-trivial.

When a fluid moves around a body, the fluid flows around the body in a predictable manner. In particular, at the point where the fluid first encounters the body there is a phenomenon known as the bow wave effect. This is the tendency of the fluid to move outwards and around the body in advance of the leading edge of the body:

Now, here’s the important thing: Most of the fluid is in what is called laminar flow, meaning that it flows along the surface at more or less the speed of the fluid. But at the boundary layer, in particular the leading edge boundary, the turbulence causes the fluid to create a small vacuum. So in the area in green above, there is almost no flow at all.

Now, what does this have to do with parkas and fur trim? Well, it turns out that the bow wave effect is proportional to the area of the leading edge of the object that the flow is around. Or, to put this another way, the fur trim on a parka increases the effective area of the leading edge, leading to a larger bow wave effect and hence the creation of a zone of calm area right in front of your exposed face.

I myself have experienced the difference between parkas with and without fur trim many, many times, and the the difference is startling. Particularly when the wind is head-on, parkas with fur trim make the difference between relative comfort and rapid frostbite.

Cool, huh?

So, what’s super interesting is that while I know the exact answer to this question, and this was widespread knowlege of this in the arctic, there does not appear to be any literature on the subject. This would make a great Masters (or even PhD) thesis, and best of all you could do it in Engineering, Anthropology, Fashion… the possibilities are endless. I can even see the title now: Percieved and Actual Cooling As A Function Of Fur Trim-Induced Bow Wave Effects in Traditional Inuit Garments: An Empirical Approach.

Update to add: Viola Yee use


Adidas Jeans Mk II


If you’re an adi obsessive then chances are that there’s a special place in your heart/wardrobe for the adidas Jeans. Originally released in the mid seventies and unusually for adidas designed with being worn alongside denim in mind rather than winning a particular sport, the adidas Jeans soon became ‘the’ shoe to be seen in by clued up kids all over the UK. The updated MKII version that appeared in 1980 with it’s additional heel stabilizer and toe overlay proved even more popular timing it’s arrival with that of casual culture and all that jazz. adidas Originals have got it spot on with their current re-issue of the Jeans Mk II (I know this because Jeans fan/expert Brooksy said so on instagram) and I’ve just had a look in Hip Store who have got both red and green versions of the MKII available right now. Don’t hang about though as it might be another 35 years before they get re-issued again.










8 Classic Sportswear Brands That Are Back On Trend

Bring a touch of nostalgia to your casual getups with one of these retro activewear labels

 Nostalgia has become something of a pop culture phenomenon in recent years, with the arrival of the 2010s pushing the eighties and nineties firmly into the retro zone.

This revival of styles from times gone by has seen many once-popular brands re-emerge, tapping into the renewed obsession for all things old school. And with sports luxe currently dominating industry trends, it comes as no surprise that some classic activewear names are experiencing a renaissance, be it over ten, twenty or one hundred years later.

So, let us reintroduce you to eight sporting labels that are now back on the fashion radar – some of which you are sure to know from the first time around.


Athletic apparel brand Champion started out life way back in 1919, designing technical sportswear styles for professional athletes.

However, the label had its real heyday in the 1990s, being adopted as a sports-meets-streetwear brand for casual urban dressers.

Champion has now stormed back into the fashion charts, teaming up with the likes of Wood Wood, Todd Snyder and Urban Outfitters in the past year to bring its throwback pieces bang up to date.

Available at Size? and

Champion USA


Champion Satin Varsity Jacket, available at Size?, priced £115:

Champion Satin Varsity Jacket


Another brand that found popularity back in the nineties is Italian heritage label Ellesse, with its bold slogan sweatshirts now returning to satisfy the appetite of vintage lovers everywhere.

The label continues to stay true to its original designs, reissuing key pieces with contemporary elements for an updated look.

Available at ASOS.

Ellesse Sportswear


Ellesse Sweatshirt With Classic Logo, available at ASOS, priced £40:

Ellesse Sweatshirt With Classic Logo

Le Coq Sportif

Hands up if you once owned a Le Coq Sportif tracksuit? We certainly did, with the brand’s bold aesthetic considered on-trend back in the mid-nineties.

The French label first introduced its signature branded pieces in 1948, and has since gone on to become the official uniform supplier for a wide variety of sports teams – most notably Everton F.C..

If you’re not much of a football fan, do not fear, as the label is now focusing on vintage apparel that is bound to appeal to the modern man-about-town. We’re particular fans of its retro cycle wear range.

Available at

Le Coq Sportif Sportswear


Ultra Light Jersey, available at Le Coq Sportif, priced £66.50:

Le Coq Sportif Ultra Light Jersey

Fila Vintage

A cornerstone brand of the eighties football casuals subculture, Fila has held a place in retro lovers’ hearts since its late 20th century prime.

Today, the brand continues to harness its throwback appeal, launching a range of classic and original pieces under its Vintage sub-brand.

From track jackets to striped polo shirts, shoppers will be transported back to the eighties (in a good way) in no time.

Available at

Fila Vintage Sportswear


Fila Settanta Track Jacket, available at, priced £65:

Fila Settanta Track Jacket


Reebok’s popularity has shown no sign of faltering over its extensive lifetime, remaining one of the most successful sportswear brands in the world since it was founded back in 1895.

However, it was the trainer-mad days of the eighties and nineties that cemented it as a fashion leader, with key silhouettes such as the Pump and Classic becoming instant must-owns.

These signature styles are still being produced today, with new iterations and modern technology taking Reebok’s heritage designs to a whole new level.

Available at

Reebok Sportswear


Reebok Classic NPC UK II Trainers, available at Reebok, priced £62:

Reebok Classic NPC UK II Trainers


Running shoes have remained the speciality of US label Saucony for decades, with the brand producing technical footwear for professional athletes and budding runners alike.

Once famed for its practical appeal, the running shoe revival of recent years has seen Saucony’s classic silhouettes coveted by sneaker fans worldwide, for their simple yet striking aesthetic.

Modern day collaborations with the likes of Club Monaco and Penfield, along with limited edition releases, have helped Saucony smoothly enter the luxury trainer arena to become a key footwear player for the modern age.

Available at

Saucony Running Trainers


Saucony Suede Shadow 6000 Sneakers, available at Oki-ni, priced £95:

Saucony Suede Shadow 6000 Sneakers


Kappa is another Italian sportswear label that caters to both the professional and amateur athlete, providing the official uniforms for a range of football, basketball and hockey teams across the globe.

Although your everyday sportswear fan will probably hold vivid memories of its popper leg trousers emblazoned with oversized logos, Kappa now focuses on pared-back, technical styles for both working out and daily wear.

Available at

Kappa Sportswear


Kappa Track Jacket, available at ASOS, priced £45:

Kappa Track Jacket


Umbro’s diamond logo is sure to conjure up memories of your school days – bulky backpacks, branded sports socks and the like – with the Manchester-born label’s pieces going beyond their original purpose to be adopted by the style-conscious youth of the eighties and nineties.

After being acquired by Nike in 2007, the brand went through something of a revamp, focusing on its footballing heritage and vintage appeal to produce classic, stylish pieces complete with original features.

Available at

Umbro Sportswear


Umbro 1990s Training Away Football Jersey, available at Size?, priced £45:

Umbro 90s Training Away Football Jersey

%d bloggers like this: