September 2011

IMAGE: XY FACTOR Sharp Dressing

The alliance of Christopher Raeburn and Victorinox makes for cutting-edge fashion

The knack for turning reappropriated military fabrics (parachutes, uniforms and the like) into high-end garments, sold under his Remade in England label, has worked well for U.K. designer Christopher Raeburn.a

Now, Raeburn, in partnership with Swiss Army knifemaker Victorinox, has created an outerwear and accessory capsule collection called Remade in Switzerland. The line, which debuted at New York Fashion Week in February and is out this month, was created from goods found in Swiss Army surplus stores, and all feature a motif inspired by something Raeburn stumbled upon.

“I found a box of these horseshoe nails,” he told me at his Fashion Week launch, holding up a tapered, square-headed metal nail. “And I just fell in love with them. They’re simple, straightforward and iconic looking. And each one has this little Swiss-flag emblem [stamped] into them.” The nails appear as an allover pattern on garment linings (made of overdyed surplus Swiss Army cotton sheets), and the designer convinced Victorinox to melt down some of the actual nails and use them on the exterior scales (the part that’s usually made of red plastic) in a limited production of its Swiss Army knife.

There’s a captain’s coat made from re-purposed wool military toppers, an officer’s parka that began as sleeping-bag fabric, a hoodie crafted from parachute material, a scarf fashioned out of military blankets, a cocoon blouson upcycled from surplus military sleeping bags and a unisex recruit’s cap with fold-down ear flaps. Only 100 of each piece will be sold in a handful of boutiques around the globe and Victorinox stores, including the brand’s first West Coast outpost, slated to open at the Beverly Center in November. If you can’t wait that long, they should also be available locally at Ron Herman on Melrose—another first for the brand.

According to Raeburn, the collab-o-ration has been well received and will continue—but don’t bother looking for parachute-fabric swim trunks come spring. “We thought the collection kind of has a fall/winter sensibility to it,” Raeburn said recently.” So that’s what we’re planning for next.” $200–$2,250,