Craft / August 2017

The Hidden Genius of Norwegian Rain Coats

Hailing from the wettest city on Earth, Norwegian Rain produces beautifully tailored outerwear that hikes the phrase “rain proof” to the cirrostratus.

Norwegian Rain's Alexander Helle and T-Michael.

Precipitation, in Norway’s second city, is no nuisance: it’s a way of life. Nestled on the west coast of the country, Bergen has 240 days of rain per year. In the late 2000s it rained for 85 days straight. If the Inuit do indeed have 50 words for snow, one might expect the regularly deluged Bergener to have 50 more than that for the condensed aqueous vapour that constantly assaults the city. And so, make no mistake, Norwegian Rain – an outerwear label founded there in 2008 – knows how to make garments that repel water.

Norwegian Rain’s jackets have three layers – a water-repellent outer shell, a high tech membrane laminated to the inside and a satin lining that hides technological wizardry such as heat-sealing films applied to sleeves and concealed water tunnels. Add to that beautifully tailored shoulders (you can wear your bulkiest, 30-micron tweed under these coats), detachable hoods/storm flaps and hi-tech Japanese fabrics made from recycled fibres and organic cotton (these involve an 80 per cent reduction of CO2, water and energy), and what you have are the most sophisticated, effective and desirable raincoats we at The Rake can recall encountering.

The brand’s founder and creative director, business graduate Alexander Helle, was spending time soaking up the sartorial nuances of Milan, during a study exchange at Bocconi University, when he had an idea for turning tradition, technology and style into the ultimate sartorial triumvirate. Bringing on board a bespoke tailor and designer who goes by the name T-Michael – a Norway resident who, with 17 years of tailoring experience as owner and creative director of his own brand – helped the idea come to fruition. In 2016, the brand opened its first home away from home in St James’s, where London’s rain-soaked denizens were understandably seduced by the brand’s exquisitely tailored and sharp silhouettes (Tommy Nutter is a major influence), expert construction methods and high-tech waterproof, windproof and breathable fabrics from Japan: a country with which the brand has such a strong affinity, it regularly puts out a nine-man team for the Tokyo Tweed Run.

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