The D-43 'Sport' Jacket

The D-43 'Sport' Jacket

 

Writer Leanne Cloudsdale takes us on a jacket-focused, nostalgia-fuelled journey that leads us to our latest piece of the outerwear: the D-43 'Sport'.

 

When it comes to personal style references, most people refer to their internal moodboard for inspiration. As unique and individual as we are, it’s a human software system that never gets switched off – always running in the background, like an ever-expanding bin bag bursting with memories, mistakes and new ideas. If we attempted to pie-chart the contents, there’d probably be a heady mix of images from films, snapshots of people we’ve fancied (or wanted to dress like) in the street, pages torn from old magazines, and Polaroids of our parents in their youth.

I’m ashamed to admit that a 2% slither of my fashion pie-chart would include a couple of double page spreads from a copy of the NME from 1995, featuring Britpop rabble-rousers Damon Albarn and Liam Gallagher. For anyone unfamiliar with the narrative, it was when British guitar bands and faux rivals, Blur and Oasis, went head-to-head in the charts by releasing singles on the same day. This perfectly timed media storm had record shops rubbing their hands with glee, as hordes of indie kids rushed into town to buy their favoured CD or 7inch single (yeah – remember those?). Any muso worth his salt knows it wasn’t anything to do with song writing prowess, rock ‘n’ roll antics or deliberately ruffled mod haircuts – this was CLASS WAR.

But before I start chucking down some communist manifesto vibes and get side-tracked talking about how both bands reignited the UK’s North/South divide and love of retro outerwear, let’s whizz back to simpler times – 1953 to be precise. The mid-century era was characterised by tough folk who’d been hardened by a wartime diet of powdered egg and potatoes, and it was also (in my opinion anyway) a great time for anoraks. Around 15% of my sartorial brain map is hogged by images of Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing weathering Mount Everest in some of the most densely pocketed cagoules known to mankind. No Gore-Tex here, gents, just true grit and the determination to succeed.

 

Pockets have always been major players for me – which is one of the reasons I loved that '90s sports-casual chemistry between Liam and Damon so much. I may as well admit that I had the pleasure of meeting the former one night in Hull, a week or two after the release of their debut ‘Supersonic’. Me and my pals had paid a couple of quid to see them play at the Adelphi – a grotty, living-room sized club with the world’s warmest beer and filthiest toilets. Sanitation aside, it was a good night and we ended up gassing to Liam, Noel and the others at the bar afterwards for a few hours (I’ll stop that part of the story there). Anyway, as a big Blur fan, what struck me most about Oasis' stage presence was how none of them removed their coats. Four songs in, their mop tops were dripping with sweat, but still they swaggered about with buttons fully fastened and zips pulled up to the chin.

With cinched in drawstring waists, pockets galore, and hefty collars they could pop for added drama, they’d managed to make that Ivy League 60/40 staple look, dare I say, cool? If that’s a bitter pill to swallow, perhaps I should explain it like this – they’d taken something you’d be more familiar seeing an off-duty J.F.K. sauntering around in, and made it look ‘street’. Those double-barrel pockets at the chest and hip were home to 20 Marlboro Lights, some bird’s landline number scrawled on the back of a beermat and a dog-eared packet of Durex. Thanks to the Gallagher brothers (and to some extent, Blur) the wearing of jackets and coats indoors became commonplace – a uniform for blokes of all backgrounds, shapes and sizes.

Little wonder(wall) then, that Drake’s have kicked off Spring 2021 with a remodelled, souped up D-43. Enter, stage left, the D-43 'Sport' edition. Like a Ford Escort with spoilers (or an Audi Quattro if ‘Country House’ was the single for you), this combines all the key components you’d expect from a military classic; epaulettes, buttoned cuffs, draw-corded waist and generous chest enhancing pockets, with a snazzy technical performance spin. Made from Japanese ‘ottoman’ weave fabric, the D-43 'Sport' is drizzle resistant due to its 69% cotton, 31% nylon fibre mix (a nod to the 60/40 fabrics of old), making it ideal for days when the weather can’t make its bloody mind up. Available in Navy, Olive and Ecru, it nails the tricky balance between modernity and nostalgia, which makes it the perfect jacket whether you're doing the big weekly shop, going on a socially-distanced first date, or playing your hit single to an army of fans at Wembley.

 

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