We asked Will Varnam would he be up for showing us his top 3 jackets for us. Here’s what Will put together for us.
I’ve been collecting American military and vintage pieces for 15 years, with a focus on uniforms worn by the US Marine Corps and US Navy during WWII. I was always drawn towards the practicality, utilitarian design and just plain ‘cool’ of HBTs and deck jackets…Many of the details you find in these old garments have stood the test of time and are still just as functional today. My interest was also influenced by classic war movies like PT-109, The Fighting Seabees and Guadalcanal Diary. I’m currently working on building an archive of my collection to assist designers, collectors and researchers with similar interests. Thanks to Lee at GTE for the opportunity to share some of my favourite outerwear pieces from my collection. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
US Marine Corps P1942 Camouflage Utility Jacket.
At the beginning of WWII, The US Marine Corps didn’t have a camouflage uniform to outfit their troops. As a result, the P1942 (or ‘P42’ as it’s known to collectors) was introduced and first saw large scale action in November 1943. It’s a classic workwear design made from herringbone twill fabric with patch pockets, press stud closure and is fully reversible. The Eagle, Globe and Anchor insignia (or ‘EGA’) features prominently on the chest pockets.
USAAF Eddie Bauer B9 Down Parka
From one of the giants of practical outdoor clothing, this B9 Parka was manufactured by the Eddie Bauer company for the US Air Force during the 1940s. It is down filled and features an elasticated waist, hip pockets and a fur hood. Many civilian clothing companies (including Abercrombie & Fitch…) manufactured clothing for the war effort during WWII and Eddie Bauer was an obvious choice given their expertise in outdoor clothing. This is a piece which stands the test of time and is hugely practical for the British winter!
1950s Japanese ‘Sukajan’ Souvenir Jacket.
An item which is currently under the fashion spotlight – the ‘sukajan’ or souvenir jacket. These jackets were initially made ‘in country’ for soldiers who were posted to Japan for occupation duty. They would have been manufactured and stitched by local tailors, according to the desires of the customer. Often embellished with maps, eagles, tigers and dragons, these would have been sent home to family or worn off-duty for a night on the town! This example is a common design and not specific to a particular unit, but nevertheless a text book example of its type. Fully reversible for orange to black it features a tiger on the reverse with ‘Japan’ and the chest is adorned with eagles.