Three Months with The Rake x Grenfell Despatch Rider

One of menswear’s favourite photographers, Robert Spangle’s military background means he can spot a garment that works in every terrain a mile off. Or, indeed, a thousand yards…
Photography by Zach Dodds.

Some designs you take for good, and for granted. The best of these, those that become staples of the wardrobe and the suitcase, are bought at face value, but with use find exponential utility, and in this irreplaceable value. A single trip (albeit lasting 115 days, and spanning every mode of transport, from motorcycle, taxi, bus, train, 25 flights and lastly a horse) can render one garment so proven that you would no more leave it behind than you would your passport. That garment is myThe Rakex Grenfell Despatch Rider.

With three months of rain forecast for London, Milan, and Paris, driving snow in Kiev (with a light chance of Russian military aggression), hail and sub-zero temperatures in NYC, Stockholm, and Oslo, and a bizarre mix of torrential rain and 28 degree weather in Spain, I knew my next trip would require outerwear nothing short of nature-proof. To this end, I found the Rider unimpeachable.

In thetrenchdepartment, the ankle-brushing Rider lacks nothing. A waterproof natural weave (synthetics make me break out in taste, sorry), an extended, fur-lined collar that covers to the ears, throat latch, detachableplaid wool lining, and a robust belt, with the added bonus of a) being blue in colour, and b) being of the fitted variety that wouldn't raise eyebrows when walking by l’Ecole De Femmes or get shot at by jumpygendarmariemarines when rushing down the street, late as usual, with a camera tucked away in its waterproof interior. Notably, it is not the standard tan of the traditional trench. Having decided to spend as much time living (not to be confused with making a living) out of a suitcase, my wardrobe choices narrow. And not wanting to be confused with the all-black uniform of the serious photographer, designer, darling artist, poet, or tech start up, I've stuck to hues of blues. You would be hard-pressed to find another colour that carries the values of honesty, beauty, ennui, royalty and working class ethics across a majority of cultures on earth.

With wear, the nuances of theDespatch Riderunfolded unto me, the perfection of design reaching that rare point of exponential utility. Features I dismissed or overlooked solved sartorial problems I wasn't even aware that I had.


Robert Spangle


April 2017


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