ORIGINS: AM2-1 MODULAR PARKA (FULL SYSTEM)
The story of our signature outerwear – the APPLIED ART FORMS Modular Parka (Full System)
A/A/F signature garment
When we launched APPLIED ART FORMS we wanted to make sure we created something of a ‘hero’ piece for the collection. A garment which would stand the test of time beyond seasonal trends and our ‘modular parka’ became that garment. Our intention would be that this coat system would become a staple offering for the brand on an annual basis with little need to modify or update the design going forward.
The concept for the coat is that it can be worn across all seasons by creating an outer shell into which two different liners can be buttoned in; a padded body warmer for Spring and Autumn seasons and a full-sleeve liner coat for winter. The shell of the coat alone can be worn in Summer. So the effective warmth is customisable across all seasons.
We decided to make the length of the coat adjustable also. Unmodified, it is a full length coat akin to a trench coat – but small velcro tabs are present to allow the bottom of the coat to be folded up to make it more like a knee-length jacket.
To add to the variation further, we developed an interchangeable collar system which allows the wearer to choose between a full hood, an officer collar, a field-jacket style collar with a concealed hood – or if desired, no collar at all. These hoods and collars can also be worn simultaneously to create other strong looks.
The coat system is predominantly made from Ventile cotton - a material which I have developed a mild obsession for over the years. This fabric is of British origin having been developed in Manchester in the 1940’s for the Royal Air Force. It is a very densely woven cotton which has natural water repellant properties - if you splash water on the fabric it will just bead and roll off. The added benefit of this natural material is that it breathes and will age and fade beautifully over time - which just makes the coat look better and better (as demonstrated by some of the 70 year old Ventile garments which are in the A/A/F archive).
A coat for life
The modular and interchangeable nature of the coat draws inspiration from some of the WWII era US army coats and the fabric story is very British, so this is somewhat of a hybrid design. As with many of our garments we began the design process by cutting and modifying vintage garments – a process more like sculpture than traditional fashion design – before handing over the prototype to our pattern maker to make all the elements work together perfectly; an extremely challenging process. It was important to us that the liners were made wearable as stand-alone garments and so with the body warmer and full-sleeve liner coat, we added zip closures and pockets to allow them to function on their own.
Of course, we have created a modern-day fit with an updated silhouette and my hope is to see how these coats look more and more beautiful over time. Mine is certainly breaking in and fading the way I hoped. This system is designed to be a coat for life and is currently available in two colours – black and ecru.
Guy Berryman, Creative Director