A Favourite Five with a difference here from STAND fanzine editor Seb White.
You’d be hard pressed to find a label, these days that didn’t mention the word ‘heritage’ and in some cases, like Barbour for example, it’s part of what makes it well… pretty damn good and dare I use another buzz word, ‘a timeless classic’.
Even the mainstream are at it, take the seemingly unstoppable proliferation of Superdry. Despite having less ‘heritage’ than Milton Keynes Dons they’ve managed to concoct a whole look based on manufactured iconography featuring Japanese text and retro Americana, incredibly even the ladies are wearing it.
So it’s with great weariness and trepidation when any new kid on the block claims to be stepped in history and influences.
Realm and Empire is an exception to that rule.
These guys aren’t just making things up, they have full and unlimited access to the archives of the Imperial War Museum and its collection of over 600,000 items. Be it a drawing from a sailor from 1941, a wartime poster, a hat used by Commandos, or even a coat worn by a sailor on the harsh Atlantic sea all those years ago, R&E are directly inspired by the conflicts that have shaped Great Britain.
The items for Autumn Winter 2013 are naval themed, focusing on the sea battles which, for an island nation surrounded by the enemy, were pivotal. They’ve even shot their lookbook on the decks of HMS Belfast moored on the River Thames and one of the IWM locations.
In Proper Mag style here are my favourite fives from the new collection…
Full Ahead T-Shirt
War posters and slogans, it wasn’t just Keep Calm and Carry On. This tee has a design based on a poster with a British Naval Officer using a speaking tube, with an industrial cog pointing to full production, this was all about encouraging industry.
Anyone can do a sweatshirt with a logo, but it takes something to do a full bodied drawing. This sweater features 1941 drawing of HMS Shropshire’s four pom-pom anti-aircraft weapons (the name given to the guns on account of the noise they made while being fired), by Herbert Hastings Williams, a South African architect who served in the Royal Navy. HMS Shropshire was a heavy cruiser awarded the Atlantic 1941 and Arctic 1941 battle honours for her wartime services.
Classic Boat Neck sweater
Realm & Empire’s first crack at knitwear. These Boat Neck jumpers, which are wider than normal, were designed to make it easier for the jumper to be removed when wet. Ideal for those away days when you ditch the coat and the British weather catches you out.
Long before Eric Cantona, the mariners made the collar up look fashionable with the famous Pea Coat. The Atlantic was as hostile place as any in the Second World War and the large collar could at least provide some protection from the elements. R&E’s take on this iconic look is perhaps the standout piece of the season, and it has wooden buttons. Fact fans, despite being forever linked with the sea the name originates from the Dutch word for a pilot’s jacket pijjakker.
We’ve seen it on all the films we used to watch on a Sunday. R&E have raided (scuse the pun) the archives and produced their own version of the commando hat made of 100% merino wool.