An homage to English outerwear – Aquascutum

Given our digital age, this should be good times for older, heritage brands. After all, it is easy for consumers to spot a brand from the distant or not so distant past and post about it in social media. Unfortunately, heritage brands seem to be dropping left and right with no slowdown in sight. This seems the potential fate of the English heritage outerwear brand Aquascutum, which closed its flagship Regent St store during the pandemic and has ceased operations in the UK.

Aquascutum brochure
Aquascutum brochure (2009). Photo credit: Aquascutum.

This is quite a shame since Aquascutum is second only to Burberry in terms of English (and more broadly speaking UK) outerwear brands. Although Burberry may have won the battle of the trench coat, Aquascutum has arguably shown as much, if not more, fabric innovation throughout its history. Indeed it was founded a few years before Burberry. However, the point is not to take sides but to celebrate a worthy brand.

Aquascutum label
Label inside my Aquascutum rain coat. Photo credit: Juhn Maing.

I feel very fortunate to have bought an Aquascutum trench coat in their London flagship store on Regent St more than a decade ago. Whilst in the store I also picked up the Aquascutum brochure which lays out their history and process, and managed to find it after all these years. Here are a few photos from the brochure:

Although we may be in the process of losing Aquascutum, a number of UK fabric and outerwear brands still carry the heritage torch – Barbour, Mackintosh, Chrysalis, Hancock, Millerain and Ventile, among others.

Special thanks to Tim Mureau for inspiring me to write this post about Aquascutum.

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