Over the years, the image of the duffle coat has had a radical makeover. At one time considered the preserve of struggling students, beatniks, festival goers and protest marchers, the duffle coat is now fashionably cool. Today, the Gloverall duffle coat is known throughout the British and international fashion scene.
The original duffle was more about practicality than style. The story began around 1887 when sailors in the Merchant Navy needed warm, weatherproof clothing. The forerunners of today's style were short, front closing and had very little variation in size. No doubt smaller seamen found them uncomfortably bulky. The early duffle, made from a rough, black woollen fabric, was named after the Belgian town of Dufel. But, contrary to popular belief, the duffle was not made in the Belgian town, nor was it made from Dufel fabric. By the turn of the century, design modifications produced a duffle that used adjustable studs to fasten the hood tighter to the face.
During World War II, Sir Bernard (Monty) Montgomery helped popularise the duffle coat and even today the Montgomery duffle coat remains a best-selling design. In the 1950s, Harold Morris, working in the gloves and overall business, purchased military duffle coats in large quantities to sell to civilians. Demand for the mens duffle coat quickly grew. Harold, demonstrating entrepreneurial insight, realised the potential and manufactured more to suit demand. Gradually, with input from his tailor father, they created a duffle that was to become the Gloverall brand. Within a decade, the Gloverall duffle coat was enjoying widespread success and was popular among both men and women.
The new creation had cleaner lines with a more structured fit. Instead of a standard lining they used tartan and stamped their individuality on future Gloverall duffles.
Today, the Gloverall style of oversized hood, two large pockets and four horn-toggle wooden fastenings, complete with either leather looping or rope, are instantly recognisable. For warmth, quality and style, Gloverall duffles tick all the boxes.