Something Special for the Rain

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San Francisco was hit with a pretty big storm yesterday, so I broke out my Mackintosh again and was reminded of how I love this coat. Like most people, I mainly wear wool, cotton, and linen, but rainy days offer the opportunity to wear something unique – something like Mackintosh’s bonded cotton. Here two pieces of fabric are bonded together using a rubber adhesive, the pieces are then cut and sewn, and the resulting garment is made waterproof by taping the seams. Andrew Yamoto over at A Suitable Wardrobe recently described Mackintosh coats as clothes that “rustle like sails,” and said they have an oddly comforting smell – like that of old, reliable camping gear – with their mix of rubber, canvas, and glue. I don’t think a better description can be given, but you have to wear a Mackintosh coat in order to understand the appeal. The specialness of the cloth just doesn’t come through a computer screen. 

The company has expanded a lot in recent years. Along with their main label, they have two growing sublines in Japan aimed at hipper, younger customers. There’s Traditional Weatherwear (the company’s original name before they changed it to Mackintosh) and Mackintosh Philosophy. Both include things such as Mackintosh jeans and sweaters, which – thankfully – are not made from bonded cotton. Distribution is limited to Japan.

The company’s best offerings, however, are still their mainline, traditional raincoats, which are available throughout the world. Some notable models to consider:

  • Dunkeld: A slim-fitting coat that comes down to your knees, for those who want a more traditional look (or simply more protection). This is the model I own, and you can find it this season at Trunk Clothiers and Unionmade.
  • Dunoon: A contemporary, shorter-fitting version of the Dunkeld. Better for casualwear and light showers, given its length, it features slanted side entry pockets and, at times, a removable hood. You can find this model at End, Mr. Porter, East Dane, and No Man Walks Alone.
  • Dalkeith: A mid-length model that’s somewhere in between the Dunkeld and Dunoon. The Dalkeith features a corduroy collar and flapped pockets with corduroy underside trims. The pockets also feature two subtle rivets on either side. Available at A Suitable Wardrobe, No Man Walks Alone, and J. Peterman.
  • Monkton: The company’s trenchcoat, which drapes a bit differently from your more common gabardine. You can find it at No Man Walks Alone.
  • Special collaborations: Mackintosh collaborates with other brands on a regular basis. In recent years, there’s been Comme des Garcon, Junya Wantanabe, and Nigel Cabourn. This season, they’ve made a few things for Band of Outsiders and C.H.C.M. There’s also this really beautiful line with Hyke, although it’s for women only.

Incidentally, Daniel Dunko – who set up the Mackintosh brand in the ‘90s (as before that, they were just a manufacturer) – recently left the company after he sold it to some Japanese investors. He now has a new label called Hancock (named after Charles Macintosh’s partner Thomas Hancock), which offers slightly more youthful takes on bonded cotton raincoats. For the more traditionally minded, they also make riding coats for Cordings (something that Mackintosh used to produce, but no longer). Worth keeping an eye on if you’re as in love with this fabric as I am.

(Photos via Mackintosh, Freemans Sporting Club, Trunk Clothiers, rcny1, Oi Polloi, Cordings, No Man Walks Alone, and C.H.C.M)

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