Stories / November 2019

Why Grenfell is hard to Beat

Inspired by the Beatniks and classic British outerwear, this season’s Grenfell collection is full of warm, rich fabrics with a touch of 50s panache.

Few brands elicit the same type of mutual appreciation from menswear enthusiasts as Grenfell. There’s something so reliable, so clearly well-crafted about the British brand’s selection of outerwear. And that would be enough, except that the garments are produced in England (in London, no less) and are designed with the perfect balance of heritage and contemporaneity. Since Walter Haythornwaite first developed a special type of cloth to aid medical missionary Sir Wilfred Grenfell on his expeditions abroad, their textiles have been worn in the wild by Amelia Earheart, mountaineer Eric Shipton, and driver Stirling Moss. As a mark of respect, the brand established themselves under Sir Wilfred’s own name. Since the 1920s, Grenfell have been producing outerwear that are testament to the great man, entering a new chapter under the stewardship of the Azam family, who have once again revived the brand to the glory of its former years.

The seasons of autumn and winter are when Grenfell truly shines. No time is better suited to consider how we can stay warm and dry, as summer days are replaced by harsh winds and relentless downpours (particularly if you live in Britain). The latest collection brings us back to the 1950s, informed by English classics and the bohemian beat scene. Made most famous by Jack Kerouac’s book, ‘On the Road’, in which the author adventures across the rugged landscapes of the United States, beat culture represented a period of poetry and relaxed masculinity. Students, particularly in New York City, were re-interpreting British classics, like the trench coat or tweed blazer to fit into their easy-going, expressive lifestyles – and subsequently, the look was adopted around the globe, and influenced Ivy League and Hollywood styles that we still wear and appreciate today. Not that Grenfell have forfeited the hard-wearing, expedition-inspired nature of their outerwear. But it’s exciting to see how such durable fabrics and wools are being put creatively to use, remaining practical while being inspired. It’s the same philosophy that drives the Azam clan, and menswear enthusiasts are loving it.

 

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