When such an exhaustive list of boxes are so emphatically ticked that you almost feel guilty not owning a garment, you know you’re onto something. That’s the case with 7L’s Stoll Smock.
First of all, as a confirmed smockbroker myself, I’ve seen my fair share of overhead hooded jackets from down the years. From military examples through the gear revolution of the 60s and 70s, up to the late 80s and early 90s of ski and hiking brands, there’s something inherently appealing about a smock, as opposed to a full zip hooded jacket. There’s a place for both, obviously, but the maneuverability and comfort of a smock has always appealed to my relaxed take on clothing. I absolutely hate formalwear and this is its antithesis.
As a garment, the smock is equally appealing to Jamie Lundy’s sense of utility and function. After spending all of his working life in a family engineering business, he stared the landmark age of 40 in the face and found himself increasingly unfulfilled. A spell of soul-searching ensued and through the ups and downs of this, he emerged with renewed creative energy, the vast majority of which he poured into 7L.
Having never run a clothing brand before, he set to work on availing himself with any and all information and contacts he may need to arm himself with in pursuit of success. In this spell, he met Mike Stoll, of the historic Cooper and Stollbrand factory here in Manchester. It’s perhaps formulaic to say, but Manchester is known for its penchant for technical outerwear, and in Cooper and Stollbrand exists a history of combating the clouds through rainwear manufacture, just a short stroll from the city centre.
Fast forward an intensive few years of brand building and the emergence of an impressive HQ retail space in Alderley Edge, the Stoll Smock was born.
Taking inspiration from a piece of classic outerwear made by American outdoor institution REI, the Stoll Smock will resonate with any male interested in resolutely male things. Sadly, the spectre of conflict in Europe appears to have reared its head again, but the remnants of World War Two were always present in popular culture for much of the second half of the 21st century. In fashion, the influence of military garments is well-established. In more contemporary culture, the hooded jacket is never not cool, and in my eyes, the smock is unrivalled in this regard.
Patriotism in the modern-day takes many forms, a few of them pretty ugly. But few could complain at the unique Britishness displayed in this story. Constructed in Manchester using fabrics exclusively of UK origin, specifically Dundee in Scotland, this is good patriotism, the type that simply reinforces community in a modern setting, not to mention one that leaves far less of a carbon footprint than making overseas.
If this has whet your appetite, you can find more at 7L now.