I was recently asked to comment on a 9 news story re the rise in popularity of puffer jackets. A once outdoor functional hiking staple, the puffer jacket can be found everywhere from the runway right through to the discount department store.

Invented in 1935 by outdoor adventurer Eddie Bauer, who’s aim it was to spread the warmth of a jacket lining more evenly and making it more effective. A highly functional piece of clothing was born.

So somewhere between 1935 and today, the puffer jacket has undergone the same fate as many an activewear item, falling victim to the rise of functional fashion. Streetwear is big business now and the puffer, in all its iterations, sits warmly in this space. We have seen versions from the likes of Vetements, Balenciaga, Burberry and most recently in Tom Ford’s Autum/Winter 2019 collection. And must-have celebrity brand pairings have adorned the backs of contemporaries such from Karlie Kloss, Hailey Baldwin to Gigi Hadid and even ex British prime minister Theresa May; meaning an inevitable filtering down to the fast fashion and discount department store high street.

But does quality matter when it’s fashion… perhaps not. Especially in our mild Australian climate, where ‘yes’ it can get cold, but the needs of Eddie Bauer-a-likes avoiding hypothermia are not manifest daily. It is a great example of the adoption of trend over function and the globalised take-up through the different retail strata.

We have seen functional fashion enter the runway for a while now so I can’t see us jumping back to the trench coat just yet, it still has some way to play out. In truth the trend is less functional fashion and more rugged style appropriation. Either way, expect to see herds of puffers on the sports field this Saturday morning, from the parents to the tots, and not an ice pick in sight.

Watch the channel 9 news story here

Author Jessica Sinclair

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