The familiar silhouette of the Waterfront Coat is another homage to the early pattern of the classic USN P-Jacket, a.k.a. peacoat.
Sometime in Spring 2008, we released a denim version of that iconic manly garment, part ofthe “MFSC Naval Clothing Tailor” concept, our first full-fledge collection in collaboration with Sugar Cane Co. If a 10-button peacoat made from selvedge denim didn’t necessarily sound like a good idea back then either, it kinda caught on. Some of our jackets even made it to unlikely retail doors, finding their way to Sir Paul Smith’s store shelves in swinging London, or on J.Crew’s catalog, eventually ending-up on sale partly because, you know, raw denim in 2008 was not exactly the most convincing selling point in menswear…
In case you missed it and enjoy a bit of Costume History at times, a previous blog post, concocted while introducing the MF® indigo twill Caban Peacoat, quickly taps into the history of peacoats, a garment adopted by Navies around the World for over a Century.
For Fall 2016, our design approach was to ‘demilitarize’ the famed War Department-issued blue jacket, twisting a USN regulation uniform into a civvy garment, morphing the peacoat into a mackinaw coat.
The shell fabric we chose is an old mfsc favorite, a blend of linen and cotton woven in a heavily-textured herringbone twill pattern, milled for us in Japan. Inspired by the fabric of late 1800’s/early 1900’s Sapeurs Pompiers (french firemen) work uniforms (bourgerons), we originally issued a handsome ‘gunpowder black’ version of it, as featured on the Faro sack coat, waistcoat, and britches of our 2012 Men of the Frontier Collection.
Recognizing at the time how attractive this HBT fabric looked in its un-dyed, un-bleached state, our design department kept it on the back burner, as a contender for a future project. So here it is, at last, in all its natural beauty!
For the lining, we went with an American vintage classic. Canteen blankets have been a bit overplayed in ‘Heritage Fashion’ in recent years, cut and sewn into all kinds of improbable garments and accessories, so we opted to keep it fully concealed on the inside.
Troy Blankets come in several colorways, our 2010 “N-1H Tr0y” featured one of them, and we chose a stripe pattern of warm tones that was new to us this time, the flecked brown-dominant version.
Replacing the classic foul anchor black buttons with natural brown corrozo wood buttons contributed to the ‘maritime to workwear’ make-over.
If the resulting jacket looks quite different from previous MF® iterations of the classic USN peacoat, it still fits our eclectic vintage aesthetics, this time Corto Maltese meets Terry Malloy and his docker comrades.
Corto Maltese by Hugo Pratt (1981) Courtesy of Cong SA
Terry Malloy and the waterfont crew (1954) Courtesy of Getty Images
* Corto Maltese watercolor courtesy of Cong SA. Official website here.
* On set of “On The Waterfront” (1954), courtesy of Getty Images.
The “Waterfront Coat” is designed in California by Mister Freedom®, and manufactured in Japan by Sugar Cane Co.
An original MFSC pattern, freely inspired by early 1910’s -1930’s USN and US Coast Guard sailor wool peacoats, and 1930’s-40’s vintage mackinaw-type outdoor coats. FABRIC: Shell: A fancy 80% linen and 20% cotton blend fabric, HBT pattern, selvedge, milled in Japan. Lining: Soft-hand “Troy Blanket” wool blend fabric, 60% re-used wool, 28% cotton, 12% rayon). Brown dominant stripe. Woven in Japan.
NOTE: The combination and specifics of these two fabrics make the Waterfront Coat quite unfit for foul weather and extreme cold temperatures, but quite appropriate for moderately chilly days, and in-between seasons under temperate climates.
* Early USN peacoat pattern. * Canteen-type “Troy Blanket” wool blend stripe lining, brown dominant. * 10-button front closure.
* Brown corrozo wood buttons.
* Four outside pockets, two ‘hand warmer’ slash pockets and two flap closure pockets. All lined with golden brown cotton-wool blend corduroy.
* Inside chest pocket and traditional ‘cigarette’ pocket.
* Leather arrowhead reinforcement on pocket edges.
* Fabric selvedge conspicuously displayed inside pockets and on back vent.
* Removable chin strap (displaying either fabric if left dangling, or concealed if buttoned under the collar.)
* Traditional Zig-Zag pattern under-collar reinforcement stitching. * Double labeling, original MF® and mfsc woven labels.
* 100% cotton stitching, tonal.
* Made in Japan.
SIZING/FIT: The Waterfront Coat comes raw/unwashed/loomstate.
Although this garment can be worn as-is (raw), for a clean, pressed look, the pattern was adjusted to match a specific silhouette after an initial cold soak/hang dry process. Aside from fabric shrinkage, the HBT linen-cotton material takes on a ‘new life’ after this process. Linen fibers expand, the high-count stitching causes ‘roping’ and subtle twisting, the lining pulls the seams up a bit… and the garment looks about 50 years older, without the use of obnoxious chemical ‘vintage washes’ dear to our industry.
We suggest soaking the garment in cold water for about 3omn, occasional hand agitation, spin dry and hang dry. Please note that unless you live in the Atacama Desert, the Waterfront Coat might take about three days to fully dry. We do not recommend using a heat dryer. We do not recommend boiling this garment either, as the leather trims and lining will probably get ruined.
Please refer to the sizing chart to see if this garment’s proportions work for you. We suggest sizing down on the Waterfront Coat. I usually wear a Medium (38) in mfsc jackets, but opted for a Small (36). After the initial soak/hang dry procedure, I still had enough room to layer a mid-weight shirt and a close-fitting Cowboy denim jacket.
Do take in consideration that the Troy Blanket lining adds a bit of ‘puffiness’ compared to a thin cotton twill lining.
CARE: After the initial cold soak, we recommend taking the Waterfront Coat to your local eco-friendly dry cleaner for cleaning. Do not use a home washing machine to launder, as the coat is quite heavy and stiff when wet. Spot cleaning can be performed by using a damp cloth and common sense.
44 XX-Large Retail $799.95
“Marine Nationale Mer et Outremer” magazine, Feb 1948. Article by J. Raphael-Leygues.
Faking it in San Pedro (Courtesy of Tad from Clutch Magazine)
Caban peacoat, indigo x black twill Saigon Cowboy Fall 2015
In his 1828 study of the island of Sardinia, British naval officer William Henry Smyth mentions local gentlemen farmers sporting the cabbanu, “an article much resembling the pea-jacket of seamen.” Since most of you already own a copy of S.J. Honnorat’s handy Provençal-French dictionary published in 1846, you have undoubtedly noted that a caban then described a piece of heavy outerwear favored by sheep herders, sailors and fishermen of the Provence region, southeastern France.
With foggy origins dating back to the 15th century, the caban is to the contemporary French Marine Nationale seaman what the peacoat (pilot cloth jacket, P-jacket, pea jacket…) is to his USN seafaring counterpart, a solid foul weather double breasted wool coat typified by an iconic double row of anchor buttons. It is said that the versatile left or right buttoning let the wearer adapt to the wind direction, whether standing starboard or port side.
In the days of early navigators, sailors could pretty much wear what they pleased, and often whipped up their own functional outfits, sewing experts as they were due to the constant sail repair routine. Garments changed hands, were re-cut, adapted, recycled, customized, mended. Work clothes of deck hands were at times waterproofed with a mixture of tar, tallow and turpentine, a technique used on linen canvas spare sails in order to collect precious fresh rain water while at sea.
It can be irrelevantly observed here that, during the Age of Discovery, entering a crowded mess deck filled with sailors clad in their gunk-waxed finest, and more preoccupied by scurvy than ablutions (for centuries a bimonthly soap-less and salt water treat), must have guaranteed quite the exquisite olfactive experience.
The modern peacoat’s immediate ancestor seems to be of the paletot family, itself related to the cropped ‘reefer’ jackets. Short jackets proved practical while working aloft in the rigging. Nautical workwear and seamen jackets through the ages have followed the evolution of the carrying vessels, while adapting to the requisite of life on the Seven Seas. From the ancient knee-length hooded gowns of the 14th century mariners to today’s classic peacoat, a caban can be considered as a compromise between a cumbersome 17th century justaucorpsordoubletand a practical workman commoner jacket.
By 1876, the caban pretty much as it is known today becomes standard issue in the French Navy, featuring the familiar double breasted front closure, a set of (10, 8 or 6) anchor buttons, embroidered red anchor patch on collar, 3/4 length, in dense dark navy blue kersey cloth-type wool.
Interestingly, due to budget restrictions and the evolution of military regulations, the beloved caban (équipage, tenue n°41) ceased to be a standard issue in the French Marine Nationale in 2014.
Justaucorps 17th century fashion
Early 1800s sailor
Paletot modele 1858, courtesy Musée National de la Marine
French Navy six-button caban, 1986
Yves-Saint-Laurent fashion show, Southern France (1986)
PCF-38 Swift boat, Cai Ngay canal (1970) Department of Navy
Despite the above digression, a degree from Parsons won’t be necessary to notice that the MF® caban borrows its general pattern, not from the six-button French Navy-issued coat that once itched French conscripts’ necks on shore leave, but from the American WWI ten-button USN classic peacoat. We didn’t reinvent the ship’s wheel on this one, and lifted all the bells and whistles off of a vintage specimen from our archives.
Historically, if both French and American navies share common memories of navigating the muddy waters of Vietnam’s Mekong River or Red River (1940’s to 1970’s), it is unlikely that the local climate tempted many Dinassaut crews or their PBRBrown Water Navy successors to sport government-issued wool pea-coats while in country… Period photography testifies that searing heat and humidity called for shirtless outfits more often than full regulation attire, and I have yet to see a photo of a USN peacoat being worn in Vietnam. I might, as often, be wrong.
So, we couldn’t find any excuse for releasing this indigo twill peacoat as part of the Saigon Cowboy Fall 2015 story other than the vain desire to add another P-Jacket under our belt, and share a few historical markers. This jacket won’t work for 1940’s Indochina riverine flotillas reenacting indeed. Nostalgics of the GCMA‘s pirating days on Cù Lao Ré won’t be too impressed either. But, the Mister Freedom ® caban peacoat should do for other activities, such as looking ridiculously handsome at the grocery store.
The lining of our jacket features the fabric we previously introduced and discussed at length with the garrison trousers, the ‘controversial’ bariolage lézard aka French lizard camo. As often the case with linings, it is fully concealed on the inside of the jacket, and left to the discretion of the wearer to be subtly displayed on the removable/flippable chin-strap or not.
The mix of dark indigo blue and jungle green foliage tones of the MF® caban conveys, admittedly with zero historical accuracy, the “Forces Amphibies de la Marine en Indochine (FAIS or FAIN)” twist we wanted to give to this peacoat. This combo also reflects the whole vibe of our Fall 2016 Saigon Cowboy collection.
Pierre Combot, Flottille Amphibie Indochine Sud 1948-50 (Courtesy Thierry Combot)
Flottille Amphibie Indochine Sud 1948-50 (Courtesy Thierry Combot)
Cdo Jaubert Baie d’Along patrol 1951 (Courtesy M Pivin)
Cdo Jaubert Baie d’Along 1952 (Courtesy G Piccoz)
F.A.I.S (Force amphibie Indochine Sud) Avril 1948
Charles Schmid Mekong Delta FAIS (1948)
C Schmid FAIS Cambodian border (1948)
The shell fabric we chose is the heaviest twill we have had milled in Japan during our Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane 10 year-long collaborative saga.
This 16 Oz. indigo wrap x black weft twill will be nothing new to those familiar with the mfsc Midnight P-Jacket released during Fall 2010. If this heavy cotton indigo twill is not for the butter-soft spandex fabric amateur, it is quite the crowd-pleaser as it will develop a desirable patina overtime.
On a side note, the stiffness of a new 100% cotton twill garment should not be considered as a flaw, but perceived as the intrinsic feature of vintage-inspired apparel following certain standards and manufacturing ethics. Mister Freedom® garments are not processed with chemicals or laser machines in order to artificially age their appearance, nor are they sandblasted or stonewashed to ‘soften’ their hand. Unbeknownst to many ill-informed consumers, the garment-distressing industry is an extremely polluting one, and for those who refuse to participate in factory workers’ silicosis and river dumping, there are many brands out there offering non-distressed products.
A garment will soften naturally with normal wear, and what is lost to ‘instant comfort’ will be gained in eco-consciousness. For the diehard seekers of the “comfortable broken-in look”, there’s always vintage clothing.
The MF® Caban Peacoat is ‘designed’ in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan by Sugar Cane Co.
An original MFSC pattern, freely inspired by early 1910’s -1930’s USN and US Coast Guard sailor wool peacoats.
Shell: Heavy 100% cotton twill, 16 Oz. indigo warp x black weft, white selvedge ID, milled in Japan.
Lining: 100% cotton HBT ‘lizard’ camouflage fabric, milled and printed in Japan.
* 10 button front closure.
* Early USN type ’13 stars’ anchor buttons.
* Four pocket type, two ‘hand warmer’ slash pockets and two flap closure pockets. All lined with golden brown corduroy.
* Leather arrowhead reinforcement on pocket edges.
* Fabric selvedge conspicuously displayed inside pockets and on back vent.
* Removable chin strap.
* HBT ‘lizard’ camouflage fabric lining.
* Zig-Zag stand collar reinforcement stitching.
* Triple labeling on the inside, a nod to past MF® collections.
* Inside chest pocket and ‘cigarette’ pocket.
* 100% cotton stitching, faded ‘oxidized black’ color.
* Made in Japan.
Our caban peacoat comes raw/unwashed and will shrink to intended size after the following initial process:
* Fill washing machine tank with cold water, enough to immerse your jacket but mindful not to waste water.
* DO NOT RUN A WASH CYCLE.
* Soak the garment for 30-45 mn, agitating by hand occasionally to guarantee all fabric fibers are thoroughly soaking in water. This step shrinks the garment. Opting to use hot water might increase shrinkage and will also result in more indigo color loss.
* Turn dial to final spin, by-passing all washing cycles, and spin dry the garment.
* The fun part: briefly put-on the garment to ‘mold it’ and shape it to your body. This step will ‘set’ creases in arms and shoulders.
* Hang the garment and let dry overnight. Do not use a machine dryer.
When fully dry, the jacket will be very stiff from the re-activated starch still in the fibers, but that stiffness is temporary and will naturally subside with wear, as you move around.
The fit of the caban is true-to-size after the initial soak/dry process. If you are usually a Medium (38) in mfsc, you are a Medium (38) in the indigo caban peacoat.
Please refer to sizing chart for measurements. Please note our measurements reflect a 30mn cold soak/spin dry/line dry process, resulting in minimal shrinkage.
Caban Peacoat Size 38, post cold soak/hang dry
CARE: DO NOT MACHINE WASH.
This garment is too heavy and voluminous for a regular home washer, even one boasting “Heavy Duty”. A machine wash cycle will either ruin the jacket, the machine, or both.
Unless engaging in activities such as oil field extraction or industrial commercial fishing your coat should not need extensive cleaning. Professional eco-friendly dry-cleaning is recommended should heavy soiling occur. Spot cleaning with a wet rag is an option for minor stain.
Additionally, the initial soaking process can be repeated, with a minimal dose of eco-friendly detergent added to the bath to hand wash the garment. Again… DO NOT MACHINE WASH.
Note that the indigo twill of the caban will initially ‘bleed’ for a period of time and color transfer will temporarily stain light-colored garments and furniture.
Available RAW/unwashed SIZES: X-Small (34)
OK. It’s about time to drop this bomb. Latest and last piece of the MFSC Fall 2010 Collection to hit the ground, closing the “our sailor buddied up with our motor-cycle riders” concept ( Naval Clothing Tailor meets Speed Safe Clothing)… One of the easiest jacket to wear ever, with dungarees, chinos etc…No fear of the “Texas Tuxedo” dilemma, since the “midnight twill” fabric doesn’t look anything like ‘regular’ denim twill.
Here she goes:
PATTERN: An original MFSC pattern, inspired by early 1910’s -1920’s USN and US Coast Guard Melton wool Peacoats FABRIC: Body: Coarse weave 16 oz indigo “black back denim” twill (indigo warp x black weft), aka “Midnight Twill”. 100% cotton. White ID selvedge. Woven in Japan, exclusive MFSC. Indigo bleeding to be expected and anticipated. The white core of the indigo yarn will surface with proper wear and will give amazing patina to the coat over time. All kinds of blues! LINING: Inner full lining, 10 oz. plain weave indigo/natural white woven cloth, all cotton, woven in Japan CLOSURE: 10 button front, USN style early “13 Star” buttons. Full front closure with collar up and throat latch for windy deck conditions. POCKETS: Two outside slash “hand warmer” pockets and two flap pockets (all lined with 100% cotton wide wale corduroy). Inside chest pocket and “cigarette” pocket. The flaps are made from lighter 10 oz. “black back denim” with royal blue selvedge ID. STITCHING: All cotton thread stitching, ‘oxydized faded’ black colour. DETAILS: Owner’s own identification wide white sheeting neck label, ready for perso ID stenciling (a detail from early French military gear), back selvedge vent, concealed detachable throat latch under collar, ZigZag stand collar reinforcement stitching…
CLEANING: Can be hand rinsed with cold water and minimal soap, dry-cleanable. Extended wear and abuse recommended before washing is considered, to maximize patina over time. SHRINKAGE: With full washing/drying (again, not recommended, fabric will ‘marble’ with strong machine wash-cycle), a FULL size shrinkage is expected.
NOTE: The photos of the P-Jacket above are of a USED and worn coat. It was worn on/off for about 3-4 months, from raw condition… I just sprayed it with water early on, wore it until dry, to get some kind of minimal shrinkage in length and some fabric ‘twist’. I usually wear a 38, but sized down to a 36 since i wanted to wear this raw and never wash it.
The production MFSC P-Jackets are RAW and NOT distressed.
Designed in California by MISTER FREEDOM® and manufactured in japan by SUGAR CANE Co.
Available RAW (unwashed) Sizes 36, 38, 40, 42, 44
Call the store at (323) 653-2014 or mail email@example.com to get yours while they last. We ship internationally.