The Irvin Flying Jacket
On a recent trip to see my folks my Dad showed me his newly purchased Irvin sheepskin flying jacket that he managed to find on a second hand stall. I wasn’t expecting to like the jacket as much as I did but it looked great, was warm and no-where near as bulky as I’d pictured it to be.
I started to think, could the flying jacket become as popular as other British coats with similar heritage? It can be paired with jeans or chords, looks great with desert or more substantial boots and has the sort of heritage that most brands are envious of, so, why not? Most classic men’s coats and jackets originate from a military background and the Irvin flying jacket can boast this trait also. In the 1930s the British Air Ministry asked aviation pioneer and parachute manufacturer Leslie Irvin to design a jacket for pilots to survive cold, high altitudes, and the Irvin flying jacket was born.
From his Letchworth factory, Irvin had been manufacturing parachutes since 1926 and became the main supplier of the jacket to the RAF after it proved popular among pilots.
So if you are looking for something different this winter, a coat that is extremely warm and not seen at every turn, try and find yourself an Irvin flying jacket. Originals retail at around £600 but second hand jackets have that worn-in look and will obviously be a lot kinder on your wallet. They are hard to come by but so at one stage were Bellstaff coats and they can now be found all over. Ebay has a fair few but these still go for £300+ so it’s well worth keeping your eyes peeled at charity shops and vintage clothes fairs.