Spiewak has dressed firefighters, police officers, soldiers and extreme adventurers for 110 years. Now, the uniform manufacturer which outfitted soldiers in wool jackets during World War I has relaunched its lifestyle division with a selection of coats for active men and a special collection of 10 iconic jackets pulled from the brand’s considerable archives.
“Americans are drawn to historic looks, modern feels, and utility,” says Maurizio Donadi, who was hired to steer the relaunch. “This brand is drenched in history and utility, it just needed some fresh air.”
The process began about two years ago when the company’s fashion division was bought by WP Lavori in Corso, an Italian company often tapped to revive fading heritage brands. WP and Donadi found that while Spiewak has a base of loyal customers who buy the brand’s signature items like bomber jackets and snorkel parkas (waist-length jackets originally worn by the U.S. Air Force that zip nearly to the hood, leaving only a small opening at the top), there were plenty of people who just wanted sturdy pieces.
“We took these iconic police and military references that Spiewak is known for and built from it two lines,” Donadi says. “One capturing the brand’s history, one carrying us into the future. Everything is designed for protection. That will never change.”
The legacy line is called Spiewak Golden Fleece, a nod to the Golden Fleece in Greek mythology and the brand’s logo. It features 10 jackets from the company’s archives. Although the pieces have been subtly tweaked to bring the fit up to date, the idea is that they’ll keep the martial spirit alive.
The main line targets shoppers who want utility-focused outerwear and the emphasis is on fabric innovation, Donadi says. The materials will be lighter, the items will be packable for easier travel, and every item will be more flexible.
The uniform division operates independently from the civilian line, but is making similar updates, said Roy Spiewak, the company’s CEO (his great-grandfather, Isaac Spiewak, founded the brand in 1904 after immigrating to the U.S. from Poland). A century ago, it wasn’t unusual for uniforms to be made from horsehide, genuine leather, cotton duck and sheepskin. Today, the house experiments with synthetics and nylons to maximize flexibility, breathability and durability. Almost everything should be waterproof and light-weight, he said, and much like the fashion pieces, should be able to survive the apocalypse.
“Back in 1964, my father helped develop a fabric from the seat covers of trucks,” Spiewak said. “It became a staple in our jackets and was indestructible. I’m not sure people who bought those jackets in the 1980s are still wearing them, but I promise you they’re in tact.”
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