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History of the Parka

History of the Parka

The term parka derives from the Nenet language (spoken in Russia) and means "animal skin". The history of the parka is to be traced back to the Inuit people, who originally used to wear three layers of animal skin, one on top of the other, one of fox, one of seal and one of polar bear fur.

During WWII, military clothing designers reinterpreted it for the American soldiers, making it with cotton canvas, fur interiors and a drawstring on the waist that could be tightened to keep the cold out.

In 1951, a new type of parka came on the market created especially for the US Army enlisted for the Korean War, much more suitable for the Korean climate, with a removable liner for the hottest periods, and waterproof fabric more suitable to the monsoon season.


In 1954, the well-known brand Refrigiwear made a parka with technical fabrics for the Meatpacking District workers, who spent most of their working hours in cold storage for meat. The same jacket became a favorite of sportsmen participating in the famous 1600 km race between Alaska and Canada.



At the end of the fifties it became the iconic “Mods” Jacket, who wore it in green, like those of the soldiers, tight at the waist and with a dovetail, very often enriched with patches or pins; besides being fashionable, it was comfortable to wear when riding on their mopeds. From this moment, the parka became the symbol of youth rebellion, especially during the sixties and seventies. In 1973, he also appeared on the cover of the Who LP Quadrophenia.




At the beginning of the nineties, the parka became part of the “grunge style”: Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder didn't miss it.

Among the celebrities in the entertainment industry who brought it back to the fore is Kate Moss, photographed with the Sex Pistols song title “God Save The Queen” written on the back of a parka. And again in 2008 she posed with her parka on the cover of Vogue UK.



The first to bring it on the catwalk were Burberry, Fay and Aquascutum. Today we can find different kind of parkas, long above the knee or short below the waist; not only in green, but in different colors, with leather sleeves, lined for the colder periods or lighter for mid-seasons, with or without hood; its price range varies greatly depending on the brand, so it is definitely a coat jacket accessible to everyone.


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