[DEEP DIVE] FIELD PARKA
Welcome back to "DEEP DIVE" where we take a look into the inspiration behind some of our favorite Engineered Garments pieces. In this installation, we are featuring the "Field Parka", a loving tribute to the classic American trail and mountaineering outdoors jackets of the 1960’s and 70’s.
As American borders spread west, its people saw the natural world as something to subdue and conquer, not enjoy. Writers and thinkers like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were some of the first to define a new relationship with nature and engaged in an austere form of recreation within the wilderness. (Thoreau’s book “Walden” is a defining influence on Engineered Garments Fall/Winter 2021 collection “Life in the Woods”). Later in the 19th century, John Muir, sometimes referred to as “John of the Mountains”, electrified the country with progressive ideas about nature, preservation, and spirituality, going on to found one of the nation’s first conservation societies - the Sierra Club - setting the groundwork for the preservation movement for decades to come.
It would take nearly 80 more years for outdoor enjoyment to become widespread. With the advent of the hippie movement in the 1960’s, magazines like The Whole Earth Catalog became the doctrine of the time, rejecting societal materialism and connecting like-minded individuals through counter cultural ideas and an abiding love for nature. Pleasure in outdoor recreation exited the monied elite’s hunting lodges and joined the cultural revolution, settling among the hikers and climbers of California, in places like Yosemite, Sequoia National Park, and Big Sur.
Much of the available outdoors equipment of the time came from Europe and Japan, where alpine recreation had been cultivated for longer. Determined to make their own version, the American bohemians formed companies like Sierra Designs, The North Face, Holubar and Marmot. The people making these clothes weren’t traditional designers, but loved being outside so much that they were able to produce innovative, lightweight and stylish products - making it easy for themselves and their communities to enjoy outdoor hobbies.
The Engineered Garments rendition takes inspiration from the mountain parkas manufactured by those companies. Part of the EG catalog since 2005, and adjusted slightly each year, the Field Parka plays a major role in each Fall/Winter collection, assuming the coveted spot of designer Daiki Suzuki’s favorite item. Growing up as an active member of his high school’s hiking club, he lusted after these mountain parkas, which were only available via mail order from Tokyo. As he puts it, it’s fine to wear a simple pair of Fatigue Pants or sweatshirt, but if you wear a Field Parka, it has to be cool.
This versatile item is filled to the brim with features (literally, as the parka’s hood sports a compact brim). Cinching is available on the bottom hem, waist, and around the hood, providing easily regulated airflow. The parka is also home to a host of pockets, with three flap pockets on the front and two across the back, in addition to the zip pockets placed onto the left front breast, left arm, and on the back. Of course, there are two more pockets on the inside - if you need them. The front of the parka features a combination zip/button closure, giving even more customization options to the wearer. Finally, the adjustable extended sleeve cuffs - lined with corduroy in signature EG fashion - can be snapped into the inside of the sleeve as needed. The result is a sturdy, go-anywhere parka that begs to be in the open air.
While its roots lie in mountains, the Field Parka is able to go with you through whatever terrain you wish to explore.
The Field Parka is available the following fabrics:
- Black Flight Satin Nylon
- Olive Flight Satin Nylon
- Black PC Poplin
- Dark Navy PC Poplin
- Khaki PC Poplin
Available in-store and online at nepenthesny.com