Welcome back to "DEEP DIVE," where we look into the inspiration behind some of our favorite Engineered Garments pieces. This installment features the "SAS Jacket," a military-style jacket inspired by the British Special Air Service (SAS).
The paratrooper changed the face of modern warfare. Beyond land and sea, the advent of aircraft introduced a third way to deploy troops into the battlefield, allowing forces to bypass emplaced fortifications and establish footholds in enemy territory. The first Russian soldiers to be equipped with parachutes emerged during the 1930s. Less than a decade later, Germany under the Nazi regime dropped their Fallschirmjäger - the German Luftwaffe's paratrooper branch - over Belgium and the Netherlands, swiftly conquering much of Western Europe.
In 1941, the British government organized a group of parachuting commandos to operate behind enemy lines during the North African Campaign, naming this regiment the British Special Air Service (SAS). The group outfitted their soldiers in oversmocks, borrowing from the German paratrooper design, which featured integrated lower sections extending to just above the knee. The British Army soon replaced this item with the Denison Smock, designed by Major Mervyn Dennison, who worked in a military camouflage unit.
Designed for utility and combat readiness, it featured ample, easily accessible pockets for equipment, a robust zippered front for quick donning and removal, and tight-knitted cuffs to prevent snagging during parachuting operations. Additionally, there were two internal chest pockets for maps or documents, essential for intelligence on covert raids behind enemy lines.
The early version, known as the "First Pattern," was characterized by a half-length zipper and buttoned cuffs. The later "Second Pattern," introduced post-1944, brought enhancements like a full-length zipper for improved practicality and redesigned pockets for better accessibility. These modifications reflected the evolving tactical requirements of SAS operatives in various combat scenarios.
The standout feature of the Denison Smock was its camouflage pattern. Initially, these patterns were hand-painted, giving each smock a unique appearance. The design, commonly called the "brushstroke" pattern, was a pioneering camouflage style for the British Army, optimized for effectiveness in the varied European and African landscapes.
The Denison Smock has been synonymous with the valor and expertise of the SAS since its inception. Initially issued exclusively to paratroopers and SAS operatives, the smock was a badge of distinction, signaling the wearer's elite status. The Denison smock's legacy extended beyond military circles in the post-war era. It emerged as a coveted item among collectors and enthusiasts, and its rugged, practical design, coupled with its unique camouflage pattern, resonated in civilian fashion. The smock's influence was evident in various clothing styles, symbolizing rebellion and non-conformity, particularly within certain youth subcultures.
Inspired by the "Second Pattern" Denison Smock, the Engineered Garments SAS Jacket incorporates a full front zipper and a four-pocket layout. Additionally, this model features a range of specifications from Daiki Suzuki, the designer of Engineered Garments, including hand warmers, twin rear pockets, a collar tab, and quilted satin lining. Daiki also introduces a hood, further increasing the garment's functionality and warmth.
The Engineered Garments SAS Jacket pays homage to a revered artifact in military history, writing another chapter in the legacy of the SAS and British airborne forces. Its enduring appeal lies in its distinctive design and practicality and its representation of a rich history of bravery, innovation, and excellence in military service.
The SAS Jacket is available in the following fabrics:
Dark Brown Polyester Wool Tweed Bouclé
Khaki Acrylic Wool Gunclub Check
Olive Polyester Fake Melton
Red Polyester Fake Melton
Tan Polyester Fake Melton
Available in-store and online at nepenthesny.com