Get Your Coats Out – It’s Winter!

Get Your Coats Out – It’s Winter!

Dig into the closest for your old puffy jacket – it’s set to be one of the biggest coat trends for Fall/Winter 2016/2017.

Celebrating it’s 80th birthday this year, the puffy jacket has re-emerged on the runways, with iterations in every size, shape, color and length, elevating the puffer from faux pas to fashion forward.

Puffer Jacket A cozy coat becoming the next “it” trend. Images from Alexander McQueen, Marques ‘ Almeida, and Isa Arfen FW16/17 shows
Photo: Kim WestonArnold / Indigital.tv; Photo: Yannis Vlamos / Indigital.tv; Photo: Courtesy of Isa Arfen, courtesy of Vogue.com

But do you know the origins of the puffy jacket came from a near-death experience?

During the 1930s, Eddie Bauer, a shop owner of a small outdoors gear shop, went on a fishing trip in the wilderness of Washington State with a friend. As he started to climb out of the steep river canyon back to the car, he felt tired and needed to rest. It was getting dark and cold, and his wool jacket became waterlogged and filled with frost. On the verge of hypothermia, Bauer was able to alert his friend by firing shots from his revolver who came back and helped him to the car.

As an outdoorsman, Bauer realized he needed to create a breathable, warm jacket that would be light enough to withstand the cold. Little did he know, that the quilted down technology he used for his 1936 Skyliner jacket, would become one of the top trends decades later.

Patented in 1940, Bauer wanted to design something that wouldn’t soak up moisture or weigh down the wearer. Inspired by a story he heard about the Russian military experimenting with down feathers in the past, he decided to try it out for himself.

Bauer worked with feather merchants to get high quality goose down, and created a prototype jacket with a local seamstress. In order to keep the down from escaping, he quilted the jacket with small diamonds to evenly distribute the heat, block wind, and keep the down from escaping, and added alpaca-lined sleeves.

patent puffy jacketGoogle Patents for Eddie Bauer’s Puffy Jacket, The Skyliner

Since Bauer started selling the Skyliner jacket in 1936, he has been known as the origin of the down puffer jacket, and the small shop owner emerged as a leading brand name for outdoors wear.

firs catalog jacket puffyImages for the Blizzard Proof and Skyliner Jackets in the inaugural Eddie Bauer catalog. Photo courtesy of the Eddie Bauer Archives, and Mental Floss.

Over the years, the designs of Bauer’s down jackets have changed, as new materials became available, and today designers are inspired to create their own take on this 80-year fashion trend.

Who knows where the future of puffy jacket design will take us, but it’s great to know that the jacket from 10 years ago can come out again.

Want to learn more about the top digital trends in fashion? Click here to learn more.

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Dana Soffer

Dana Soffer

Director, Corporate Marketing
Dana has over 15 years experience in international marketing and communications for leading global B2B and B2C companies. She currently develops and executives corporate marketing communication strategies, builds brand identity and manages public relation efforts. Dana has a BA in Human Behavior & Marketing from Colman College of Management.