Those of you lucky enough to be stoking fires at home will have noticed that the temperature is dropping and will continue to do so. As winter approaches, we have had drops from the brands that deliver those great outdoor garments. Aero, Runabout and Filson are all currently stocked and waiting to take care of your body temperature needs. However, one maker in our stable brings us a truly iconic piece: Buzz Rickson’s USN N1 Deck Jacket.
Buzz Rickson Navy Department N1 Deck Jacket
The Deck jacket was designed to keep sailors and naval personnel warm on board whist bracing the biting Atlantic Sea. Cotton grosgrain jungle cloth on the outside with an alpaca and wool interior did the trick. First they were made in Naval blue then this changed to the khaki colour as it was deemed more suitable for the stencils and military embellishments that adorned them. In addition to strong outer layer and warm lining, the wool knit ribbed cuff and drawstring bottom to kept the cold out making it a solid piece for the winter, or even summer if you're in the North Sea!
Buzz Rickson have produced the original Navy Issue model, and the later, more commonly seen Khaki Issue colour and we now have both on our racks depending on your taste. Made in Japan, the Buzz Rickson's brand is a purveyor of true replica clothing with fastidious attention to detail and quality, creating pieces to be worn and loved for a lifetime. Established in 1993, it takes its name from Steve McQueen’s character Captain Buzz Rickson in the film ‘The War Lover’ where McQueen plays a bomber pilot.
Steve McQueen as Pilot Buzz Rickson in The War Lover
Most jackets were built for a specific purpose, and the N1 is no different, but a truly great piece of design is something attractive and functional. The terrifying theatre of war has created many things, amphetamines for one... yes really! (they were hatched up by a chemist to keep bombers awake on their missions) but more importantly, and legally, some amazing pieces of outerwear. They were built for a specific function and they were built to last, two of the many reasons why they remain timeless and continue to be manufactured and sold year in, year out. Before the second world war there was the Reefer Jacket, which became the famous woollen Pea Coat, a naval staple that is still well known and widely worn today, also the clip front deck jacket (see below) made as an evolution of the N1 so heavily gloved cold hands could more easily open and close the jackets wind flap. This design feature still exists today in various incarnations, most notably on the front of Nigel Cabourn’s signature piece, the Cameraman Fishtail Parka, an amalgam of two jackets. Said jacket is currently featured in our window and is made of L24 Ventile, another fabric that came about as a result of war; but that's another story.
A USN Clip Front Deck Jacket in Use on Deck
Vietnam gave birth to the ever popular A2 deck jacket, a modified version of its predecessor the N1, and also the Tropical Combat Jacket, which is another one on our racks. Probably the most recognisable to come out this era is the much copied but never bettered M65 field jacket, which went from fighting the Vietcong to Taxi Driver and onwards from there...
Motorcycle Gang Member in a Spot of Bother Wearing an N1 Deck Jacket
For almost a century military clothing has been a huge influence on civilian fashion, especially post WW2 when all the garments produced began to filter into army surplus stores and were readily available for the ‘lay-man’ to purchase. The Hells Angels were formed in 1948 by WWII veterans, some of them ex-bomber crew, wearing a combination of old military jackets and leathers complete with their own additions and modifications. Later, screen legends such as James Dean and Paul Newman were photographed in many an iconic military jacket, not to mention the original godfather himself, Marlon Brando, who shot to fame with The Wild One and with it catapulted the perfecto leather jacket into legendary status, along with the more affordable white t-shirt and blue jeans....
Buzz Rickson's N1 Jackets, Jeans, White T-Shirts and Leather Jackets are all things we love. Why not pop in and check them out before Winter fully takes hold.