As far as business models go, building an appliance that lasts forever is considered a poor idea. From the producers side, that is. From a consumer side it’s a bloody marvellous idea, as it saves us replacing the piece of shit washing machine every few years or so,. Less money, less hassle, and have does anyone even slightly enjoy trying to work out which household appliance is the best buy?
It’s sort of like that with clothes as well, though with clothes there is a fashion aspect that plays into things. The fashion aspect is of course the device by which the garment industry makes what we have obsolete, sort of in the same way as when your dishwasher implodes the week before Xmas. I have previously written about unfashionable fashion and dad style, and this is where I think salvation lies.
Given that you clicked into this post thinking you’d read about the Monitaly Mountain Parka, I’d best swerve back on track here and explain how this works: You buy a parka, which is neither fashionable or unfashionable, but it will last for ages, and it will provide sterling service. Much like a Dualit toaster. The only perceivable problems with it are that you have to stump up a down payment up front, and once you have one of them you may find you want more.
Monitaly though is the brainchild of Yuki Matsuda and his MEG Company. You’ll also see his name bandied around when it comes to Yuketen footwear and Epperson Mountaineering gear. There is something strange going on when it comes to Japanese gentlemen designing parkas and having them made in the USA. You have Engineered Garments and Battenwear up to the same tricks, and their parkas are also excellent jackets.
Monitaly introduced the Mountain parka for the Autumn/Winter season of 2009 and have kept them going since. Each autumn in a few different colours, slight changes in fabric and details, but basically that first version was a rock solid design and has stood the test of time. There is also a version for Spring/Summer which is thinner and unlined. And has a few fewer pockets.
Pockets. Therein lies something of the allure of the parka. How many pockets does a jacket need? Going by the observable laws of parkas the more the merrier. The Monitaly is now up to two front pockets, which double as hand warmers, plus two chest pockets, one regular and one with a zipped horisontal entry. Then there are two on the back, following the same concept of flap and zipped horisontal entry. And another three on the inside. Should add up to a fine nine pockets. Handy.
As a winter jacket though, what does a parka like this offer? For starters an outer fabric of waxed canvas. Thick and waxy. Showerproof more than waterproof, but that depends on your service schedule. Keep it well waxed and it’s golden. There’s even a summer version made from vintage US Army tents.
Then there is a wool lining. This helps, although on really cold days you’ll want to add a layer of wool. If this was a course in winter dressing, that thermal layer the wool provides is chapter one. The thermal properties are only as good as the still air though, so if you have a gale force blowing through your parka, that air is worth nothing. So you’ll want to zip up tight, with a ruggedly dimensioned metal zip, and a storm flap over that. Keep that insulating air nice and still. Check check check.
Oh, and make sure the cuffs can be adjusted. Don’t want the wind finding it’s way up there either. Check. And a hood, make it lined in wool and with a drawstring to snug it up. Check check. That would be about all you need to keep cosy, at least from the belt up.
And there you have it. Arguably one of the finest and most sensible jackets you can buy. A true bastion of #Dadstyle and longevity. Rare enough to mean you don’t see them everywhere, cool enough for connoisseurs to give you the nod of approval, quality enough to feel the truest of inner smugness.
Quite incidentally, I have a couple of these on my For Sale page currently… What did I say about parka addiction?