Too Soon? Mallory-Inspired Jacket

British fashion designer uses famous mountaineers as inspiration

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What is the deal with designers? The fashion world can’t seem to get enough inspiration from outdoor/adventure peeps like us these days. Are we outdoorsy folks unexpectedly hot or something? (My early answer is an unqualified yes.)

The latest entrant into all this fashion/outdoor love comes from “more-English-than-the-English” designer Nigel Cabourn, who takes his meticulous design and styling cues from British mountaineering heroes of yesteryear. The Cameraman, above left, is supposedly a stitch-for-stitch recreation of a jacket worn by the photographer who accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary’s successful first ascent of Everest (nevermind that Hillary was a Kiwi).

Even weirder is Cabourn’s Canadian Mountain coat (above right), modeled after the one George Mallory wore on Everest and was found dead in 75 years later. Not exactly a successful technical piece of gear, but at least Mallory died in style.

This recent couture invasion into the outdoor world has me pining for a little good ol’, clunky Gore-Tex, but since both jackets cost north of $1600, I don’t think I’ll be caught dead in them anytime soon.* You?

—Ted Alvarez

The Cabourn Identity (

*Too soon? It’s been 75 years, people!

Image Credit: Opening Ceremony