Most chore jackets made today aren't built to last as long as the jackets made a hundred years ago. It's a shame because beauty comes with age. We love seeing wear lines show through, fades and fixes that come when a jacket has been well loved.
For Batch No.1, we're working with Berto Industria Tessile, a mill based just outside Venice, in a town called Bovolenta, Italy. Berto have been weaving fabrics for over 130 years, always based entirely in the same town, never outsourcing any part of the process.
From 1850 to 1920, Berto made sails for boats in nearby Venice, by 1950 they'd moved on to specialise in workwear. Since the 1960s their teams have been working on denim innovation and dabbling in indigo dying.
We got in touch with Berto to tell them about our jacket and ask whether they had any suitable swatches that suited what we were aiming for:
Soft to touch, but durable to last years
A fabric with character to it
In an envelope from Italy, we received 8 swatches for fabrics Berto recommended. Each option was beautiful, and each one would have resulted in an entirely different jacket. Decision time. There was clearly one swatch that stood out to both of us. A Reverse Bull Denim, with a clean, uniform texture on the outside, and a lined, slubby texture on the inside. It's full of character, hard as nails and soft AF.
"Sergio meet Alessandra, Alessandra meet Sergio."
The problem was, of all the swatches, this was the one that Berto didn't actually make anymore, it was a denim from their archive, and they didn't have any stock left. You know that feeling when you've seen exactly what you want, then it's not available anymore.
Luckily for us, Berto has good people as well as good technology, ethics and fabrics. The good people of Berto helped us make a bespoke roll of Reverse Bull Denim, enough for just 300 jackets. The making took 10 weeks from start to finish, and of course, took place entirely in Bovolenta.
Meanwhile, we needed to make sure our fabric stood up to everyday wear, and so testing began. We opened lab dips (big vats of dye) so we could get the colours just right. And we tested for shrinkage, so make sure we could create a jacket that would be pre-shrunk, so you'll have no nasty surprises.
4 bespoke colours