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For the past 16 years, Willem Baars has been responsible for the successful magazine JFK. The editor-in-chief of the international men's magazine writes a monthly opinion piece for Modefabriek.nl about everything that keeps him busy.
We’ve been calling them puffer jackets for many years, but Norma Kamali – the American designer who introduced them as a serious fashion item back in the 1970s – calls them ‘sleeping bag coats’. And it’s an apt name, because take a look at her ‘puffer jackets’ (they are still in her collection), and you’ll soon see that they are the most extreme, longest and most spacious incarnations imaginable: down to the ankles and with an undeniably spherical silhouette. Indeed, it’s difficult to think of anything else than a sleeping bag.
The puffer jacket has been trendy for a number of years, and it’s easy to understand why: they are light, comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, striking and – not unimportantly – incredibly warm. American trendwatchers put their enduring appeal down to the snail-like pace of the winter coat cycle: you only wear them for a small part of the year, and even then, for a tiny part of the day. In short, you don’t tire of a coat as quickly as with a sweater or pair of trousers that you wear all day. It has a certain logic.
I’m the proud owner of a great – even if I say so myself – jacket by Save the Duck, the sublabel of Moncler that has also been in the collection for years. As the name suggests, their USP is the animal-friendly filling they use in their garments. The technical filling created by Save the Duck is even eco-friendly, and it’s as warm and compact as actual duck down. The name of this special stuff? Plumtech.
European winters are no longer as cold as they once were, but puffers are still in the picture this coming winter. They were the key showstoppers at last winter’s shows by Philipp Plein and Moncler. Long coats in refreshingly striking colours with interesting details. You might question the price/quality ratio of the coats, but there are thankfully also options that are easier on your wallet.
Take the Danish fashion company Bestseller for example, who’ve set their sights on good-looking, cool (in the figurative sense of course, these coats are mega-warm) puffer jackets: Jack & Jones, Only & Sons and the more luxury Selected all have fantastic coats. Swedish label Elvine also stands out with several terrific puffers. White! An interesting colour, but it works – just check their online showroom. And there’s no doubting the jacket’s warm credentials: the brand has its roots in Gothenburg (Sweden), where sub-zero temperatures are the norm come winter. It goes without saying that Peak Performance and Napapijri are traditionally big hitters when it comes to outerwear, so they are certainly up to the task of designing imposing puffers.
The trendy Scandinavian brand Rains deserves an extra mention – their puffers are not only highly fashionable and functional, they also keep out every drop of H2O, and are made from a fabric that breathes when it comes into contact with water. Good job! And it’s nice to see the return of Japanese brand Edwin. With jeans, of course, but also with attractive quilted jackets, as we also refer to puffers here in the Netherlands. And last but certainly not least: Italian label Mason’s has a stunning puffer in their women’s collection. Long, but not too long, with something of a camouflage motif. Gorgeous! So there’s choice aplenty. Let’s hope for a cold winter!
Written by Willem Baars, editor-in-chief at JFK