For those interested in fashion, British designer Nigel Cabourn needs no introduction. An emblematic figure of contemporary fashion, he is known for his vintage pieces inspired from the worlds of army, workwear or mountaineering. Nigel Cabourn is inspired by History. The history of those for who the garment is not only a garment but also a useful and comfortable travel companion. Nigel Cabourn seeks inspiration, reinvents and brings history further: there is in his creations, the attitude of a youth that never ages.
The main guideline of the eponymous brand is about inspiring from historical expeditions to replicate vintage garments as closely as possible, using the best quality and sourced materials. The symbolic « Cameraman Jacket » of Cabourn collection has been inspired from the parka worn by British mountaineer Wilfrid Noyce during the first Mount Everest expedition in 1953. For the other emblematic jacket of the brand « Antartic Parka », Nigel Cabourn used the ventile material used in the thirties by the British Army. The designer works with the suppliers of the different armies but also brings the objects he bargain-hunts back to life.
Nigel Cabourn is not only a designer but also a passionate collector; he owns one of the largest collections of vintage pieces from the worlds of Army, mountaineering, and work. For 40 years, he has been browsing in garage sales, second-hand shops and other flea markets to find those treasures of the past from which he gets inspiration. Today Nigel Cabourn’s collection is composed of 4000 pieces that relive all moments of the lives of soldiers and explorers: office jackets, parkas, pullovers, pouches, t-shirts, etc.
By reinventing heritage, Nigel Cabourn does « transitive design », an important design process for klokers: the term of transitive design appears at the end of the nineteenth century and refers to industrial products bridging the past and the future. This is the first time a concept introduces the idea of emotional memory in the cold world of industry. Objects from transitive design are neither vintage nor retro but are part of a world in perpetual motion, change and impermanence of things.
Because beyond the garment or the watch, there is above all the story of those who wear them.
[Photo credit: Nigel Cabourn]