Mackintosh – Handmade British Outerwear since 1823
View Mackintosh Fashion collections on London Fashion Review Blog
Origins and History of the Mackintosh Brand
In 1820’s Britain, well before the invention of the motorcar, horse-drawn carriages rode back and forth through rainy streets. At the time, it was difficult for people to protect themselves from the elements due to a lack of waterproof clothing, except those that were oiled. That was until 1823, when George Macintosh, a chemist from Glasgow, invented the waterproof fabric, Mackintosh Cloth. Coats made of the Mackintosh Cloth were factory produced for sale a year later and quickly became the jacket of choice for rainy weather and horse riding. Improvements in their waterproof fabrics led to Mackintosh being adopted as the British Army coat for World War I and II, and as the uniform overcoat for British Rail.
Tradition, heritage and craftsmanship are of paramount importance to the brand and are key to the success of the Mackintosh brand. Mackintosh continues to keep their heritage alive by producing their rubberised coats using the same procedures used in the 19th Century. The brand proudly sews in a “Genuinely Handmade” label into each of its coats as evidence of their traditional process and craftsmanship. Mackintosh has just a single factory in Cumbernauld near Glasgow. The brand ensures all of their coats are made in Britain, with each Mackintosh coat-maker undertaking a three-year apprenticeship in their factories.
In the mid-1990’s, the Mackintosh brand hit trouble. The company which owned the brand at the time, Traditional Weatherwear was on the verge of closing the factory in Cumbernauld near Glasgow, bringing the whole Mackintosh brand on the brink of closure. Luckily, the brand was purchased by young entrepreneur Daniel Dunko, a sales executive who once trained as an apprentice in the Mackintosh factory floor. Dunko saw potential in reviving the Mackintosh label as a British luxury brand, by developing connections with top designers including Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs. In 2007, Japanese company Yagi Tsusho, which also handles Moncler and Barbour, purchased the Mackintosh brand, continuing efforts to collaborate with modern-day trendsetting brand names.
In 2011, Mackintosh opened their first standalone flagship store in London’s Mayfair.
- 1823: Charles Macintosh, a chemist in Glasgow, patented his invention for his waterproof Mackintosh cloth.
- 1824: The first Mackintosh coats were produced for sale in the family’s factory, Charles Macintosh and Co. of Glasgow.
- 1830: The Charles Macintosh Company merged with the Manchester clothing company, Thomas Hancock, who had also been experimenting with rubber coated fabrics.
- 1843: Thomas Hancock patented a method for vulcanising rubber (a process in which rubber is bonded with fabric), which solved issues with smell, stiffness and melting in hot weather that the early Macintosh coats had.
- 1925: The Mackintosh brand was acquired by Dunlop Rubber.
- 1980’s: The Mackintosh brand begins to collaborate with leading fashion houses including Hermes and Celine.
- 1995: The brand was on the verge of closing operations, until a buy out from young entrepreneur, Daniel Dunko.
- 2000: The brand’s global presence was recognised with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise, for success in the international trade.
- Early 2000’s: The brand underwent a reinvention, ditching the Traditional Weatherwear name and opening stores in Japan and a joint retail space with Globe-Trotter luggage in upmarket Burlington Arcade in London.
- 2006: The Company’s collaboration with designer Erdem Moralioglu’s begins.
- 2007: Japanese company, Yahi Tsusho, purchase Mackintosh.
- 2010: Mackintosh collaborates with French brand Kitsune for the first time, with a capsule collection for the Autumn/Winter 2010 season. The collaboration continued with a second capsule collection for the Spring/Summer 2011 season.
- 2011: The first Mackintosh standalone store opens on Mount Street in Mayfair, London.
Recent Collaborations of Mackintosh
Mackintosh continues to collaborate with leading fashion brands; recent collaborations include:
- Kitsune: In 2010, Mackintosh collaborated with French label, Kitsune, for the first time with the capsule collection ‘Voyageur Tokyo’ consisting of three pieces representing three key cities for both brands; Tokyo, Paris and London. A second collaboration came in 2011 with the ‘Mackintosh Voyageur’ representing three further cities: Rome, Berlin and Stockholm.
- Monocle: In 2010 Mackintosh teamed up with Monocle magazine to create these blankets. Made from top quality wool on the brand’s looms in Scotland.
- Converse: In 2011, Mackintosh collaborates with classic American footwear brand Converse. The iconic ‘Jack Purcell’ style of Converse, receives Mackintosh colours made with waterproof rubberized cotton. The collaboration is rounded off with a matching Mackintosh raincoat.
Future of the Mackintosh Brand
“Global warming has been very good to us…Rainwear used to be a very seasonal product, but now it sells well all year round.” – Gary Bott, Brand Manager for Mackinosh.
Mackintosh has, thanks to their innovations in waterproof fabrics, created a niche product that, especially in today’s climate, is always in demand. The brand has well and truly recovered from the set-back it faced in the mid-1990’s, with and the brand undergoing rapid expansion in Japan during the early 2000’s. To this day, the Mackintosh coat has reached iconic status. By the end of 2011, the brand will have increased its number of stores in Japan in 70 and have an expected turnover in the UK at £5 million.
In the future, expect the brand to continue its expansion in the Asian region, possibly open further standalone stores on the UK and continue collaborating with leading fashion houses.
To view the recent collections of Mackintosh, visit the official Mackintosh website.
Mackintosh Women’s Outwear
Mackintosh Men’s Outwear