Though our autumn drop is very much on the horizon, behind the scenes we're spinning other plates too. One such item of rotating crockery has 'Spring/Summer 2024' written on it, and for the first time since we started taking Hikerdelic seriously, it is a range that doesn't have a version of our Conway Jacket at its heart.
In its place, we developed a different style of jacket, more technical, and named it the Nuway, an evolution of the Conway. With this break in play comes an opportunity for us to reflect on a jacket that has become something of an icon for Hikerdelic, and also set up the six versions we have lined up for this season too.
The Conway was first developed with military in mind. Though the lineage of smocks extends back several centuries and takes in farming as well as fashion, the iteration we're most connected to is the version worn in the middle part of the 20th century and beyond.
Traditionally built to act as a roomy outer layer and made from tightly woven cottons, the smock found widespread use in the harsh, cold conditions endured by the Allies during World War 2 in particular. Though the British Army pioneered a lot of classic military styles, the Scandinavians were naturally better prepared for extreme low temperatures and they employed the smock as part of this.
Much of our research and development for our own smock centred on the 1950s to the 1970s, when conflict had largely ended. The legacy of the practical clothing of the 1940s plus an active population looking for adventure meant the rise in outdoor exploration. Synthetic fabrics were developed and outerwear such as the smock evolved. But not before the status of the smock and its origins found new appreciators via the procession of post-war cinema, such as 1965's Heroes of Telemark (above).
Cottage industries grew into clothing and equipment brands, some of which dominate the outdoor clothing landscape today. But that golden era of 'gear' was the key inspiration behind our Conway Jacket. The patch logo on the sleeve together with strategically placed pockets and drawcords on the hem and hood made for something that paid homage to the outerwear innovations of post-war Scandinavia, but in a way that made sense for the modern day.
Once a design was finalised, it required a name, and as a brand finding its feet on a local scale, a local hero provided inspiration. James Conway was from the same streets where the early seeds of Hikerdelic were sown, a short walk from Stockport's famous viaduct. His humble origins felt fitting with our brand, but it was his celebrated role during WW2 that provided us with further inspiration. As part of Operation Frankton, Conway and his comrades went behind enemy lines in December 1942.
In a bid to sabotage German ships by attaching limpet mines to them, Conway and 9 others paddled five collapsible canoes close to the enemy vessels under the cover of darkness. It was to be a huge propaganda victory, but one which would cost most of the Marines - including Conway - their lives.
Their story was the basis of a popular film released in 1956, called The Cockleshell Heroes. Today Conway's achievements are celebrated with a statue in the centre of his hometown, where he fittingly appears to be wearing a fetching piece of outerwear.
The first two versions of the Conway Jacket were released as part of our Autumn/Winter 2020 range, and came in navy blue and yellow.
Since then, there have been a total of 24 versions to have found their way into the world. We thought it was a good time to list the 18 to have been released so far, in one place for the first time. Six more will emerge in the coming weeks, more of which later.
SS21 Limited Edition
Purple (web only)
Orange (web only)
AW21 Limited Edition
Black (web only)
Royal Blue (Working Class Heroes only)