"I saw her in Piccadilly.
She had an air of savoir faire....
...everybody moving, everybody grooving:
People got the London look"
Made in England said the label of the 'London Look' of utilitarian but fashionable coats in the late 1960s to mid 1970s
but Like Peter Noone and Herman's Hermits, they were manufactured in Manchester cotton mills, with SnugKoat, a label pioneered by Keppler & Sons Ltd.
I first encountered this coat label early 1980s after a Carnaby st vintage store found 'dead stock' in a local shop in the Piccadilly area as it was undergoing
renovation; so first thing I thought of when I saw this lovely coat was the first line from the 'London Look' by Herman's Hermits. Peter Noone of course went solo
and did a cover of Bowie's 'Oh You Pretty Thing' early 1970s at the same time these coats really established themselves in fashionable working class girl's wardrobes
The brands iconic lightweight panelled faux fur fitted jackets were a sensation appealing particularly to working class women
who had just started to drive, but heating wasn't a feature in most cars. These coats were easy to wear to drive or travel in
then belted for a stylish look; the dolly bird about town look so popular at the time. So popular were they that by the late 1970s they were considered 'common'; a victim of their own success.
The standard model was manufactured for several years but there were rare variations, and these had a Gold Label rather than the Union Jack
made in England one. Manufactured in Sedgewick Mill on Red Hill Street in Ancoats Manchester, 130 machinists producing a range of coats
from wool & sheepskin trim to their famous faux furs. They had a showroom on Lever Street and a warehouse/showroom on Oldham Road,
and provided coats wholesale to London & Norther dept stores, boutiques, and catalogues like Freemans.
At this time 'Made in England' was synonymous with quality and British fashion manufacture enjoyed a mini boom once again, with several
other coating makers and wholesalers located in these areas.
This coat has been checked & signed by designer 'Walter', and with their Gold Label, & numbered, the faux fur has a more durable cotton content rather
than pure nylon, & was probably designed as a special for a unique client or higher end.
Certainly is better quality fabric than the standard SnugKoat faux fur which while still surviving & worn have often seen better days. These
better quality pieces are rare, particularly with single or multiple faix leather stripes on the back, and panels that aren't as likely to have deteriorated with
the 'peeling'. In fact, this one is immaculate and the belt has the early 1970s long draping dagger end belt synonymous with the 'London Look'.
Sadly the mills are now closed and are luxury flats, as mass produced fast fashion tat from China flooded UK high streets, and the company
appears to have folded around 2002.
A piece of working class history, the iconic snugkoat faux furs enjoyed something of a revival particularly in Manchester early 1990s with the days of the Hacienda
and the Stone Rises and The Happy Mondays. They were the ideal warm jacket for the girl to queue for the club and in grunge style. having raided it from their mum's
(who may have even worked at the factory) wardrobe. They remain a utilitarian working class glamour icon when in good condition.
This is a UK size 16 marked but vintage sizes means it's probably more suited to a UK size 12 though I am an 8 and would certainly wear though outsize for me the belt works.
It is a very dark brown rich chocolate not like the lighter dark brown ones that are better known, and there is no front button line or arm panel
just the hip ones and back of collar.