Gaberdine was invented in 1879 by Thomas Burberry, the founder of the Burberry fashion house in Hampshire England.
The original fabric, typically made from worsted wool or cotton, was treated with waterproofing before being tightly woven into it’s signature durable twill. The genius of Burberry was figuring out how to use a weaving technique to create a water-repellent textile made from natural fibers (like wool & cotton) to replace the heavy, non-breathing rubberized fabrics that had been the only option for wet conditions at the time.
Due to gabardine’s innovative performance qualities, Burberry’s fabric quickly became a big hit with explorers and adventurers of his day. It was worn by polar explorers like Ronald Amundsen, the first man to reach the South Pole in 1911, and Ernest Shackleton, the legendary leader of three British polar expeditions. So, like a lot of historical menswear, this fabric started with a great purpose and a focus on functionality.
Eventually the use of gaberdine grew over time and it was used for a lot more than rain coats. Bespoke tailors adopted it for pocket linings and garment trims, where durability and strength (while remaining lightweight) were priorities. As fabric spinning and weaving techniques continued to improve (as they do every year), gaberdines became thinner, lighter, stronger and more versatile. Today men swear by gabardine for use in suits, trousers, overcoats, windbreakers, etc. primarily because it is unmatched in terms of strength-per-ounce.
For our SS ’17 collection, I knew I wanted to find the perfect 4-season version, and I did. Our pure wool gaberdine is a 9 ounce cloth woven in Italy and available in three rich colors: Tobacco, Burgundy and Royal.
To give you an idea of the 4-season versatility of this fabric, I took the Tobacco version for a spin around SoHo.
Thanks, as always, for reading.
Yours in style,
Photography by Alex Crawford.
Source: Articles of Style