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Premiere Performance: The Truth Behind EtaProof Ventile


Origins are Important

Few forms of cotton stack up to the 100% long staple fiber found in woven Ventile. The dense fibers have a unique swelling property - which yields cut-above weatherproofing. Rarely will we find natural products that provide such a high level or comfort, style and performance.

If you’re here, you’re probably somewhat familiar with (or, at least interested in) the story of Ventile. There are obsessively deep internet rabbit holes dedicated to archived Military gear. Safe to say, there’s a lot of literature out there. Here’s an abridged history.

Before the The Royal Air Force commissioned them to create flight suits, scientists from The Shirley Institute created Ventile as a substitute for flax yarn. Originally used to line fire hoses, the water proof fiber they’d invented proved perfect for preventing downed British pilots from succumbing to hypothermia in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic in the early stages of the Second World War. The high-tech Ventile immersion suits created for the RAF were flexible enough to feel comfortable in the cockpit - but warm enough to provide protection when wet.


 

Preparation and intentionality become necessary at our edges, whether they be above the English Channel or atop the Himalayas. Tenzig Norgay, Sir Edmund Hillary, and the rest of the team on John Hunt’s 1953 Everest expedition realized they needed gear made from fabric dually capable of insulation and mobility.

The key here for Ventile is its breathability. Natural fibers make great insulators. A lot of materials are waterproof - but they're often sweaty on the inside, barring insulation holes. And how protective, or waterproof is a jacket with holes cut for breathability? Why climb a mountain in a waterproof plastic bag? 

The Shirley Institute invented Ventile in the 1930’s, but the production of materials took place at Talbot Weaving outside of Manchester, England. Their wooden looms wove the yarn into fabric which was then dyed. For a solid forty years, Talbot Weaving had their own weave, dye, and finish process. The Talbot Weaving dye house closed down in the mid 80’s, and soon, they were no longer able to dye and finish their Ventile Fabrics in the United Kingdom. Talbot turned to Switzerland for potential partners in Ventile production. In the latter half of the 1980’s, it was difficult to produce anything in Europe. Especially high quality Ventile. Talbot struggled to find an effective, long term partner for dyeing and finishing in Switzerland.

Independent of Talbot’s search, Stotz and Co., a Swiss manufacturer, began their own weave, dye and finish process, producing their own "Ventile" fabric. It was called “EtaProof”. After months of research and development, Stotz and Co.'s began to produce EtaProof for consumer goods. Shortly there after, Stotz and Co. became the world leader in “Ventile” production. In fact, their EtaProof weave was so fantastic that Talbot Weaving began ordering their licensed Ventile from the Swiss manufacturer.

The owner operators of Talbot Weaving retired in 2017. Stotz and Co. acquired the naming rights to Ventile shortly thereafter.

Enter AT

So a made in the USA brand is looking to make a trench coat, using British technology, which was subsequently outsourced, and eventually sold to a Swiss manufacturer?

American Trench takes material personally. When it comes to outerwear, it comes down to quality and performance. And nothing performs better than Ventile. We mentioned this earlier but natural fibers have many benefits, but in outerwear the biggest may be breathability. Again, waterproofing is important, but not uncommon among outerwear. But synthetic waterproof gear tends to be a sweat bag; Natural fibers are remarkably breezy despite remaining well insulated.

If you’re buying a trench coat from us, you’re going to ask yourself, “Why does the Ventile coat cost two or three times as much as the Three Layer?” “Why would I pay that much more? What’s so special about Ventile?” You probably don’t fly F-35’s. You won’t be atop Mt. Everest or K-2 anytime soon, either. Ventile is life saving in those settings. How is a subway commute at all congruent?

The best clothes are ones worn often. That doesn’t mean they're tattered, or worn in. Ventile won’t just hide wear and tear. It will prevent it. Life saving? Metaphorically. But in a world of buying fewer, better things, high quality Ventile guarantees long-term performance.