From the archives Shopping From The Present

Obsession – Brown’s Beach Vests and Jackets

Brown’s beach fabric, a unique wool-cotton blend, was developed in 1901 for general outdoor use.  This hard wearing, water repellent, slightly elasticized fabric was sewn up into simple vests and jacket styles which are still being made today by Japanese repro brands like Okayama Denim and Sugar Cane Co.  One can also source original, historical versions on ebay or through second hand, vintage hand dealers. Here’s a maroon Brown’s vest from the 1940s that sold for three thousand dollars on ebay.   According to this terrific post by Vintage Workwear, Brown’s Beach is the fabric that kept Admiral Byrd warm at the South Pole (“the best buy in warmth and comfort ever known”). 
Sugar Cane vest at Reveille (now closed heritage shop in Portland, Oregon)
I first encountered the amazing Brown’s Beach fabric during a recent trip to Reveille in Portland.  The shop, which sells Japanese brands like Momotaro, Post O’Alls, Rising Sun and Self Edge, had a few vests and jackets on display.  I immediately fell in love with the brown’s beach vest, made by Sugar Cane Co.   In addition to the snug, body hugging “monkey” fit, the vest resembled my beloved  Woolrich, four pocket Railroad vest
Hefty, two ply weave with fuzzy, fleece facing


Brown’s Beach Lapel Jacket
Sugar Cane Lapel Jacket

8 thoughts on “Obsession – Brown’s Beach Vests and Jackets”

  1. Love this. Do you know of any other resources stateside for the sugar cane beach jacket? Reveille doesn’t have them in their webshop. Would love to get a sugar cane version of the shirt-collar style.

  2. I have seen a vest with a Brown’s Beach jacket tag, but at the bottom it has the location of Woonsocket RI,,,,,,,,,,, can u give me any information ?

  3. Great article. I happen to come across this site while looking for market value of one I am about to sell. This piece of information not only is very informative and educational, but it will help educate the consumer about the product. I love when I find anything, clothing, jewelry, or furniture that has a story to tell, especially a part of history to coincide with it. It just give so much more of an authentic meaningful value to the item. Usually when I look at clothing I am thinking about somewhere I will wear it to in the future. Its not often that I get to think of my clothing as a part of history. Most clothes made today won’t even last that long. Not to mention, it reminds us of a time when we had items made in America from manufacturing companies with man labor, hard work and dedication. We are in a time where labor and manufacturing is something of the past, at least for now. Thanks for sharing.

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