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Mackintosh: an insider profile

Scottish raincoat brand Mackintosh designed the original mackintosh coat in 1824. Now a signature piece in the history of British fashion, we get an inside look into the heritage of the ever-stylish mac that protects from all wet-weather conditions

Rebecca Rhys-Evans
Rebecca Rhys-Evans,

A truly heritage brand, Mackintosh launched its iconic raincoat in 1824. It takes its name from Charles Macintosh, the Scottish inventor, architect and chemist who designed the rubberised waterproof fabric that makes the garment so effective. Although today many use the term mackintosh as a generic word to describe any raincoat, only those pieces made by the brand, by hand, in its factory just outside Glasgow, are true originals.

The first ever mac was sold in 1824 and, after Macintosh’s company merged with the clothing company of manufacturing engineer Thomas Hancock in 1830, the waterproof rubber coats soon became popular all over the UK. It was this merger and collaboration of skills that enabled the original models to lose their strong scent, difficult stiffness and tendency to melt in hot weather. Mackintosh soon began supplying the coats to the British Army, British railways and UK police force.

The design makes for a good winter coat, being both durable in all wet-weather conditions and sophisticated enough for a smarter city style. The Mackintosh collection of coats is as quintessentially British as the weather it protects against.

The brand’s factory, based just outside Glasgow, is home to some of Scotland’s finest craftsmen who have spent years honing their skills. Each garment is handmade and features taped and glued seams to give a seamless appearance. Today, Mackintosh has established itself as a leading luxury clothing brand, offering protective outerwear designs for men and women beyond the classic raincoat style. Wool pea coats, classic trenches and duffel and goose-down padded jackets are among the many pieces you can find at the brand’s flagship London store.

The house has collaborated with some of the industry’s finest European designers, including Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Liberty London, and spring/summer 2018 will see a collection with Maison Margiela. Under the creative direction of John Galliano, two limited-edition menswear pieces will be available – a white lab coat similar to the Maison Margiela in-house uniform that was established shortly after the label was founded in 1988, and a slate grey trench coat. The range includes other styles for men and women that have taken inspiration from the Mackintosh archives. 

Mackintosh, 19 Conduit Street, London W1S 2BH, +44 (0)20 7493 4667



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