When chemist Charles Macintosh developed a way to rubberise cotton, the iconic waterproof fabric and Mackintosh raincoat were born. Suited to the vagaries of the weather in its native Scotland, Mackintosh is still being handmade in its Scottish factory 200 years after it was first created.
Today Mackintosh is a firmly established luxuryname that combines updated technology with traditional techniques, heritage and craftsmanship. When the company first began, the emphasis was on practicality, so Mackintosh created leg straps in some of its earlier coats, allowing the wearer to ride a horse while keeping the outerwear close to the rider’s legs. To stop rainwater running down the coat between the top buttons, many of the original style trench coats were made with a ‘gun flap’.
Mackintosh fabric has been such an integral part of British life that, in the late 1960s, the company made the uniforms for British Rail staff. Since then, the brand has worked with some of the best and most fashion-forward houses in the world such as Céline, Balenciaga, J.W. Anderson, Porter Bags and many more. Mackintosh also collaborated with Vetements for a number of seasons to create new, edgy styles, and for Spring/Summer
2018 they have partnered with Maison Margiela.
‘We do not want to move away from our core values, such as quality, heritage and craftsmanship, however, we are also focusing our efforts towards our contemporary evolution, while maintaining our identity as a luxury brand,’ says Andrea Austoni, Global Commercial Director.
While Mackintosh embraces new technology and trends, a traditional Mackintosh coat is still made by hand from start to finish by the same coat-maker, so each coat can be traced back to the individual who made it. Coat making is a painstaking process which takes up to three years to learn, and this artisanal aspect is what sets the Mackintosh apart.
The product was, and still is, a revolutionary design, continuing to honour the rubberised, bonded cotton pieces in its own collections. The most crucial element is the fabric – two layers of cotton, bonded with rubber that is dyed to match the outer cotton layers perfectly. The gluing process allows for a seamless garment that is completely waterproof – Mackintosh still uses the same process in its Scottish factory. This fabrication is unique to the brand and its clients take great pride in its durability. What’s more, Mackintosh has evolved in terms of colour palette, pattern, hardware and style to create ever more luxe pieces.
Flagship stores are located on London’s Conduit Street and in Aoyama and Tokyo Ginza Six in Tokyo. Most recently, its first US flagship opened on New York’s Madison Avenue. With these stores, further global stockists and the launch of a new e-commerce site, the British brand brings the world of Mackintosh to a global clientele.
Mackintosh’s popularity extends beyond its loyal customers to appeal to a younger audience, attracted initially by the more fashion-forward pieces. The launch of a new designer collection, helmed by Kiko Kostadinov, further establishes the brand at the forefront of fashion. After all, there are not many luxury heritage brands who have some of the world’s biggest stars clamouring to visit their factory to pursue collaborations.
MACKINTOSH 19 CONDUIT STREET, LONDON W1S 2BHP +44 (0)20 7493 4667