Posts Tagged ‘clothing’

Bearing up to travelling glories

Friday, June 24th, 2022

Back in the days when I was reviewing clothing and equipment for outdoors and travel magazines, I was sent a lot of products which would be used for the period of the review, and then might end up being stored away somewhere. Ultimately, I gave away piles of clothing items to the likes of Rohan’s “Gift your Gear,” or to homeless charities. There was a point when I wondered whether every homeless person in Norwich was wearing something I’d donated.

But my early 1990s Karrimor Alpiniste fleece jacket kept on going. It travelled extensively over the past 30 years or so, but has also seen vastly more use at home – what these days you might call my “Go To” fleece jacket. Why? It was a combination of the slimline cut in a lightweight Polartec fleece fabric, comfortable across a wide range of conditions, and the pocket layout. It had a very shallow scooped back – just enough to make some difference when in more active use, but not so much to look out of place when worn to the pub! It also had a detachable hood which snapped on to press studs around the collar, although I tended not to use that so much. I suppose I could have kept it going by having a new main zip fitted, along with new Lycra trim on the cuffs and bottom hem, but the fabric itself was wearing a little thin, so it was probably not worth refurbishing.

It’s also taken several years and one or two medical episodes including Covid to make me realise that I’m not going to be travelling up to six months a year the way I used to any more, but it would be nice for that favourite jacket not to end up simply in a recycling bin. So how to draw a line under a particular part of my life without forgetting it entirely? I’m something of an arctophile – whenever I travelled, I always had a small bear called Bill with me. Apart from being my devoted travelling companion, he was a great icebreaker in situations that might warrant a little levity, and on occasion he also conspired to get me into trouble! And so I asked talented bear artist Marcia Hastings of Clumsy Bears to transform my Karrimor Alpiniste fleece jacket into a keepsake bear, something that will sit in my lounge and remind me of extraordinary times past.

Apart from the Alpiniste fleece, my travelling clothes of choice tended to come from travel clothing company Rohan. I was great friends with the company’s founder Paul Howcroft, and pretty much every time I saw him he would thrust a pair of trousers or a jacket into my hands with “Tell me what you think of this.” Rohan’s lightweight, pack small, easy care clothes matched my style of travel perfectly, and there wouldn’t have been a single trip on which I wasn’t wearing something from Rohan. So to complete my keepsake bear, made from fleece which has travelled all over the world, his dungarees have been carefully crafted from a pair of Rohan Bags shorts which no longer fit. Here we have the only Rohan Bags dungarees in existence!

Marcia admits that some aspects of the project were rather more challenging than usual, not least because I wanted to retain a flavour of some of the features of the original garments, including zips and embroidered logos. And the fleece certainly had worn pretty thin – she had to add some subtle reinforcement here and there to ensure the bear kept his shape.

As you can see, the resulting bear is a truly handsome little chap, and a credit to Marcia’s artistic skills. The only thing left now is to come up with a name for him!

Badge of distinction

Monday, May 16th, 2011

While I mentioned last week that there still isn’t much to see at the moment of Circumnavigation Record 2011‘s round the world superboat Good Heart, there’s one little spin-off that’s about to materialise which I can show you.

Belfast-based Ski and Sports Ltd have joined us as our official clothing supplier, and they’ve just turned out some shirts for the crew. Each sports a beautifully embroidered logo of Good Heart bestriding the world, giving us that all-important brand image for when we start to hit the media with crew photos, TV interviews and the like.

But our followers will be able to get a piece of the action, too, details of which will be announced soon. A whole range of Circumnavigation Record clothing will be available, so that you can support the project directly in a very practical and visible way. More to the point, once we smash the round the world record, you may just find your garment assuming the status of a collector’s item. Now there’s an intriguing prospect!

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