242014-169ProductMelton Wool Pea Coat
history Pea coat
The pea coat is one of the oldest garments that is still worn in its traditional version. Made from coarse and heavy wool in navy blue, it has been used by sailors on the North Sea since the 1700s; in the following century it was adopted as official uniform by both the British and US navies. The name comes from the Dutch word ‘pij’, which described the resistant cloth in the original jackets.
The coat was designed to protect against cold and wind, and to allow for free movement during outdoor ship work. The style is close-fitting, double-breasted with wide lapels, hip-length and slightly flared with an indented waist. Turned up, the distinctive oversized collar functions almost like a hood, and the two vertical slit pockets are lined to keep the hands warm. The coat traditionally fastens with six or eight buttons etched with a fouled anchor symbol.
Pea coats became popular in the late 1940s, inspired by the style of American sailors, and were brought into French fashion two decades later when masculine shapes were re-interpreted to form a new and androgynous female look.
Melton is traditionally a thick, firm and heavyweight fabric used primarily for coats and in collar linings. Its solid and wind-resistant surface is achieved in two steps: the fabric is first woven with wool in a tight twill or plain-weave structure, then given a smooth, felted finish, which completely conceals the weave.
The finishing itself involves creating a heavily compressed cloth where the fibres are tightly matted together, then raised and cropped to a uniform length. This results in a dense and non-directional nap with a dull, brushed appearance.
The name comes from the village of Melton Mowbray in central England, where the fabric originated as a material for hunting jackets. It has also been used for navy coats and uniforms.
history La marinière
The striped sailor’s jumper, known as la marinière (the sailor), tricot rayé(striped knit) or chandail (jumper), became the official undershirt of the French navy in the spring of 1858.
An official bulletin specified the exact number and width of the stripes, stating that the body of the shirt should be patterned with 21 white stripes and 20 or 21 indigo-blue stripes, the white stripes being twice as wide – 20 millimetres – as the blue.
Variations of striped clothing had been worn by seamen in Western Europe since the 1600s and the sailor’s jumper originated as a fisherman’s garment, famously worn by onion and garlic merchants on the English Channel and on the Brittany peninsula. Tightly knitted from unwashed sheep’s wool, it provided protection from wind and water on the seas, and, made with a seamless tube construction, it was gentle and comfortable against the skin. The contrasting stripes made it easier to spot a man overboard.
In the 1910s and 1920s, traditional workwear was copied and adopted by artists and intellectuals, and by fashion design. The sailor’s jumper, also made in combed cotton, became a trend in the bohemian communities of Saint-Tropez and Antibes on the French Riviera; and together with soft jersey knits and a more androgynous silhouette, the ‘nautical style’ was an important inspiration for the modernisation of womenswear.
Artifex is a Romanian apparel manufacturer known for qualitative garments and its use of latest equipment. The fully renovated factory was founded in 2005 after a Swiss couture brand merged with a local Romanian factory. Based in Focsani – on the shores of the Milcov River – Artifex’s home city has a rich textile tradition. Employing about 1,400 professionals, Artifex produces women’s jackets, top skirts, pants and dresses for ARKET, as well as children’s blazers and trousers.