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The word Duffle originally referred to a heavy woollen cloth closely woven for warmth and manufactured in the Belgian Town of Duffel. However over the years it has come to signify a hooded coat with distinctive toggle fastenings which was adapted by the British Navy and used by officers and men of the watch to protect against the biting Atlantic and North Sea winds.
The toggles could be unfastened whilst wearing thick gloves, and hoods were carefully designed to fit over peaked Naval caps. Photographs of servicemen during the 1914-18 war show a duffle type coat. Between the end of World War I and the start of World War II the coat was modified into the traditional Naval Duffle. Gloverall still maintains this Naval link through the iconic 'Monty' and its application to the service.
Five years after the end of World War II Gloves and Overall wholesalers H&F Morris, Harold and Freda, were offered a large quantity of surplus military Duffle Coats which quickly sold out in camping and leisure wear shops.
This success prompts Harold, son of a master tailor, and Freda to produce their own Duffle coats for their new company Gloverall. After adding Car coats and reefer jackets it becomes an established British casual outerwear company. The Gloverall Duffle coat creates a lot of interest from Canada, France, Sweden and the USA and Gloverall’s exporting begins.
Gloverall Duffle coats are being exported all around the world and become a true British classic.
In 1962 to keep up with demand a new custom built casual outerwear clothing factory is opened in Northamptonshire. Gloverall’s design team innovate more fashionable duffle and casual outerwear making them even more popular. New markets are developed in the rest of Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. By the end of the 1960s Gloverall has achieved significant sales in well over forty countries.
North America, USA and Scandinavia become major markets and by the mid 1970s Japan becomes Gloverall’s biggest export market.
Gloverall export sales are recognised in the Silver Jubilee Honours list. Gloverall supply coats to the British Transglobe Expedition which includes its patron HRH Prince of Wales. Men’s and Women’s Duffle jackets, Bomber jackets. Capes and classic British warmer overcoats are added to the Gloverall range.
Gloverall design and make Duffle coats for the British Olympic team competing in the Winter Olympics at Lake Placid in Canada.
The Customer Awareness League of British Outerwear puts Gloverall in the top three. Gloverall become the first winners of the British Apparel Export Award.
HRH Princess Anne visits Gloverall in her first year as President of the British Knitting and Clothing Export Council.
Gloverall achieves a huge honour and wins the Queens Award for Export.
Now a much desired outerwear label, Gloverall increases its range by including super wax and heavy duty cottons, micro fibres, reversible woollen Duffle coats. Coats and jackets in cotton cambric padded out with Goose down, luxury fabrics, pure wool Elysian Herringbones, Harris Tweeds and Cashmere mixes. By the mid 1990s outerwear accessories include hats and scarves. South Korea market is developed.
Gloverall, now well established and selling in major stores worldwide, commemorates its Golden Jubilee in 2001 with a special edition Duffle coat made from 100% Angora wool.
In 2010 Gloverall, on approaching its 60th Anniversary, reproduce modern versions of its iconic 1950s Duffle coat with the original checkback designs and the Car coat which was so popular in the 1950s when cars had inadequate heating.
The 1951 Collection takes its lead from a set of black-and-white photographs chronicling the early days of British Grand Prix.
Photographed wearing Gloverall’s iconic Monty Duffle coat, Brooks is captured alongside racing legends Sterling Moss and Mike Hawthorn while racing at the Monaco Grand Prix in 1957.
The 1951 Collection makes a contemporary reevaluation of the Monty duffle coat, updating the classic boiled wool style featuring appliqué racking inspired motifs and pins. Other outerwear highlights include all-weather raincoats, sport mid-length car coats and quilted rally jackets.
Premium British fabrics are prominent. Tweeds from Abraham Moon, Fox Brothers and Harris Tweed feature alongside waxed coated cottons by Halley Stevens and boned cottons by British Millerain.