When it comes to natural coating, Ventile is the finest in the world. And it’s for good reason. Not only is it completely water-repellent and made from the highest-quality, extra-long staple cotton, but it also has a history to match.
The story of Ventile begins in Manchester. The British city was and still is a centre for textile innovation and in the 1930s, scientists at the Shirley Institute were looking for a new cotton fabric for fire hoses. They wove and compressed extra-long staple, super-fine cotton so tightly that it became totally water-resistant. When touching water, the fibres expanded preventing any from getting through.
During the Second World War, scientists realised their fabric could be repurposed for clothing. Ventile as we now know it was born. Rubber during the war was incredibly valuable so finding a 100% cotton, 100% waterproof alternative was a huge breakthrough and it was immediately rolled out by the RAF for aircrew flight suits. Light and breathable, it was comfortable in the cockpit while its waterproof properties were critical for protecting pilots should they land in the sea. The new suits increased the survival chances of those pilots tenfold. In fact, 80% who landed in water wearing Ventile survived.
After the war, Ventile’s reputation as the best natural waterproof made it popular in wider society. In 1953, it was used by Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay in their first successful summit of Mount Everest and it continued to be the choice of explorers and mountaineers throughout the century. Sir Ranulph Feinnes, for example, wore it on his expedition across the Arctic in the early 80s.
The company that manufactures Ventile today is devoted to making the fabric as sustainable as possible. Like Sunspel, they source only the highest-quality extra-long staple cotton and ensure it comes from trusted sources. The fabric is also PFC-free, meaning there are no harmful waterproofing chemicals used in the process. It is still completely natural.
We have introduced two timeless coating designs to our collection. Made using the lightest weight Ventile fabric available, our new Mac and Parka are ideal for work all year round. They are breathable, 100% natural and 100% water-resistant, and the quality of the fabric ensures they will be for many years to come. Like so much of our collection, these are the pinnacle of luxury.