London Boat Show: Fashion - Marine inspired fashion goes major

LOOK COOL, stay warm. And dry. One of the buzz words in fashion has, for some time now, been functionality and sailing clothes have been at the forefront of that trend, which has also seen sports clothes move from specialist shops and outlets to the rails of the high street majors.

It was British designers who took the European catwalks by storm and now, as the function angle begins to be picked up in Europe, so are British manufacturers like Henri Lloyd, Musto and Douglas Gill have been finding a ready market for clothes born out of a marine background. Nor, for once, is their any bleating about exports being rocked by the high exchange rate value of the pound. Daniel White, of Henri Lloyd, and Nigel Musto agree when they say that price and the pound are not the defining factors, but style and quality.

Musto also points to the integrity of the clothes on offer. "You cannot design and innovate new sports clothes from behind a desk," says Musto, who took to the sharp end in 1998 by completing, with Andy Hindley the two-handed Round Britain and Ireland Race in a 60-footer.

And this means, much more quickly than in motor racing or much more relevantly than buying an off-road vehicle, that the technical developments for specialist applications filter down to the average user much more quickly.

One of those is in the choice of fabrics, where materials that both breathe, so reducing condensation on the inside, but which also keep the water out are in much more general use. "These fabrics are now beginning to have a much greater impact on a market where not only is there a lot of repeat business, but a tendency to replace a much-loved jacket with the same again," says White. "But these new materials are now coming in at mid-price and we hope people will begin to choose the new thing. But, as the Italians say, every year is a new painting, it's a real roller coaster out there. Hit it right and you are the golden boy; hit it wrong and you are history." He also knows he is, to some extent, in competition with other sports who want to persuade non-participants to buy their clothes and so look part of the scene.

As Musto points out, however, the clothes he is producing have to perform in the environment for which they are designed. The same clothes which must keep you warm when sitting doing nothing and dry when great dollops of water are being thrown over the bow of a yacht have also to allow you to work hard and unfettered. The trick has been to find the path between the bulk which would normally be associated with the first two and the light freedom preferable for the second.

For Musto that has meant incorporating some of the techniques developed for ocean racing into clothes for inshore racing. And those include making a smock, with seals at neck and wrists, instead of jackets, which needed all sorts of flaps and closures to keep those nasty rivulets of water trickling down the back of the neck. Gill, too, have produced a similar garment after using the American Whitbread Race entry Chessie Racing as a test bed.

That racing heritage continues for Musto with the launch at the Boat Show of the Pete Goss range. The link goes further than just clothes as Musto are major sponsors of Goss's entry in The Race, a no holds barred, non-stop dash around the world in boats of unlimited size and design and scheduled to start on 31 December 2000.

And Gill continues to back and provide the clothes for Britain's Olympic squad. All of which, says Liz Rushall, helps to reinforce the credibility of those clothes to High Street buyers. As she says, even someone walking the dog in the park wants to know that the technical features which led them to choose the clothes in the first place are genuine.

But there is still a steady market for a good set of oilies, trousers and jacket, with safety features that are not just harnesses, but colours and reflective patches that mean you should first stay aboard but second be more visible in the water if you go overboard. But for those who want really high fashion there is always Prada.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Chemistry Teacher

    £85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

    English Teacher

    £85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

    English Teacher

    £100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: [ Megan Smith 22/09/2014 17:00:...

    Foundation and KS1 Teacher

    £100 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Foundation and Key Stage 1...

    Day In a Page

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments