Elements of Trench Coat Construction
It makes sense that a water-resistant coat developed in a rainy country. In 1823 in northern England, Charles Macintosh came up with a rubber-based substance. Sandwiched between cotton layers, it made a waterproof fabric. Early difficulties—the fabric stank and was heavy, stiff in the cold, and sticky in the heat—were overcome, and demand grew. John Emary opened a shop in London in 1851 and featured garments made from his own rainproof cloth, called aquascutum. Then Thomas Burberry invented gabardine in 1879. Originally waterproofed with lanolin before being woven, the fibers were wool or wool and cotton. Gabardine’s tight, twill weave made it water-resistant and durable. He began using it for overcoats.
In his book, Military Style Invades Fashion, (Phaidon Press, 2016) author Timothy Godbold sums up the history and appeal of the trench coat:…
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