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History of the parka

/ Words: Melanie van Berkel

/ Category: In-depth

/ Published: October 2021

History of the parka

Whether you’re conquering another rainstorm or going for a winter walk in the park, the parka has you covered. This multifunctional coat has collected a lot of fans through the years. We are not going to lie; the parka has a special place in our heart. We introduced The Parka as the  first item of the impeccable wardrobe in 2015 hence it identifies the start of Teym.

The parka isn’t solely a fashion item, it’s safe to say the parka has a read worthy history that goes all the way back to the Inuit in the Arctic region of Canada. After its invention, the parka made several notorious comebacks which makes it a true classic.

In this blog we’ll guide you through the history of the parka and we’ll tell you more about our own parka.

The origin of the parka

The parka was invented by the Inuit of the Canadian Arctic. They called the jacket ‘Amauti’. The jacket was made of caribou skin and often coated with fish oil to keep the Inuit warm and dry in the freezing weather conditions. It was mostly worn by women, because the coat didn’t only keep the wearer warm; the coat used to have an extra hood-like pocket to keep their babies warm while surviving in the cold. The big kangaroo pouch look-alike hood doesn’t exist anymore, but the parka still has its remarkable big pockets. That’s not the only thing the first parka left behind. The parka is named after its predecessor. In the Nenets language the word parka means ‘animal skin’, the fabric the Inuit used for the first version of the coat.

The parka during the war

During WWII, the US army was inspired by the ‘Amauti. Therefore, they decided to use the design to make jackets for their soldiers. The designers adapted the design of the parka to the soldier’s needs. This version of the parka looks more like the parka we know nowadays. The cold resistant coats were perfect for pilots and soldiers stationed in cold areas. They used the big pockets to store their ammunition, food and medical supplies. The oversized shape fitted perfectly over the voluminous soldier uniforms. The parka developed into various shapes throughout the war as demands evolved continuously. After the original B-9 parka, designed by Eddie Bauer, the N3-B parka made an appearance on the fields. The so-called Snorkel parka had a zipper all the way up and covered almost the whole soldier’s face. Even though it kept the soldiers from becoming an enormous ice crystal, the parka was not quite suitable for the war. The hood restricted their hearing and line of vision, which made them an easier target for attack.

During the Korean War the famous fishtail parka was invented. They named the coat after the back of the parka, which looked like a fish tail. They invented a split rear, so the soldier could tie both ends around his legs to keep him warm in the cold Korean climate. Even though we don’t need to tie our jackets around our legs anymore, the fishtail still is one of the most famous features of the parka.

The parka: From fighting to fashion

In the 60’s, Italian style inspired young rebels were starting to dominate the British streets. The so-called mods looked like day and night next to their arch enemies; the rockers. The mods wore fancy tailored clothes, Chelsea boots and caused a boost in the popularity of the parka. The members of this subculture used the parka to keep their sharp, crispy looks clean when they were riding their Vespas. They made an important statement with their signature looks.

 

During the 90’s, Liam Gallangher was highly influenced by 1960’s fashion and combined the mods style with sportswear. Therefore, it’s not quite a surprise the Oasis frontman also embraced the parka. They became inseparable and he often wore this fashion item during his shows. He made the parka, bucket hats and tracksuits the signature look of the band.

The Teym Parka: where it all began

Teym’s fashion journey all started with the production of The Parka in 2015. Founder Maxime spent years searching for the perfect parka, but she couldn’t find what she was looking for. There was one solution; she decided to make her own. She quit her job as a designer for a big fashion house and took the plunge. Ever since she has been working on Teym’s Impeccable Wardrobe every day.

Back in 2015, Maxime didn’t copy paste the original version of the parka. She made a modern version which ticks all the boxes. A qualitative warm and weatherproof jacket that will stand the test of time. To make sure the parka will last a lifetime, she eliminated all the unnecessary details. This also includes the fish tail, because we don’t tie our jacket around our legs anymore to survive the cold.

Sustainable parka

As a sustainable fashion label, Teym introduces products which don’t harm the planet and the people who are working with us. Our Parkas are made in Kaunas, Lithuania, where a small team works hard to make the best products possible. 

We’ve chosen to work with premium Italian Techno Polyamide. The Parka is lined with vegan synthetic fibres that are lightweight and dry quickly when wet. We hear you wondering, why do you use synthetic fibers instead of organic fibers? We believe that putting quality and design first is the core of sustainability.  Synthetic fibres make the coat of a much better quality and improves its functionality and will therefore be used for a much longer time.

 

 Are you interested in The Parka? Take a look at our collection.