I’d been wanting a safari jacket for some time.
I’ll make no secret of it; I was jealous of all my overseas compadres sporting these and looking fantastic.
They represented the perfect in-between garment to me.
Compatible with anything from jeans + tee to slacks and a tie, or meeting at the middle with jeans and a tie, these safaris (especially the belted ones) were immensely appealing to me.
But I could not get one at an affordable price point in Australia for the life of me.
I’m not a fan of importing expensive garments, due to the cost and hassle of trying to nail an RTW fit.
Yes, I’ll import vintage stuff, like my Corneliani linen jacket, but my limit stops at around $200AUD.
I knew that most of my Australian associates were experiencing similar difficulties, so given my work and ability to do so, I set out to design one for myself and make the safari jacket more readily accessible.
Narrowing Down the Design Options
The sheer number of options for different takes on the safari jacket that have come to light over the past twelve months is staggering.
I’ve seen styles ranging from completely unstructured belted shirts, to fully structured, traditional sportcoat style constructions with four front pockets.
Given that I couldn’t just go and look at others in the flesh, getting a feel for them in the process, I had to visualise myself in both styles of garment.
I gathered a sizeable inspiration album of past and present people wearing safaris; everyone from Hemingway to some of the most stylish guys on Insta.
Then I wanted to consider the cost-effectiveness of producing it.
There wouldn’t be any point in me bringing out a safari if it wasn’t affordable.
Which immediately eliminated the idea of a traditionally structured tailored jacket in a safari style.
The cost price of that, versus a shirt-style jacket, revealed a notable difference.
Also, the shirt style is more traditional to the garment’s roots, and in my opinion, a more versatile wear.
Putting it All Together
With the list of ideas narrowed down, the fun part came up.
Putting together design diagrams, selecting the final details, and submitting the prototype for production.
First on the must-have list was a belt, in matching fabric.
The belt is what drew me most to the safari jacket style in the first place.
I’m a fan of the metal double-D ring style fastening, so I went with that.
It allows the wearer to tie the knot however he pleases.
I chose bellows pockets all around, with button-through patch flaps and pleats.
They add a great bit of character to the design, and are right at home with the origins.
For the back, I specified a box pleat and centre vent.
The pleat runs all the way from below the yoke to the end of the garment, giving ease of movement and a sleek line down the back.
Box pleats are a design detail that, sadly, don’t get utilised too often these days.
I’d like to think I’ll be helping to bring it back.
Box pleats have been a dead design detail for too long. They’re an example of the aesthetics-meets-function sensibilities of times gone by.
Lamenting their loss?
Let’s be the change we want to see.
Given the shirt style construction, I opted for a shirt style collar rather than a lapel.
It can be pressed to roll to the second or third button, to give the illusion of a lapel.
Maximum versatility, and it looks great either way.
Given that it was the middle of winter when I was making this design, I elected to have it made up in a 320g green woollen flannel.
Safari jackets are traditionally made up in lightweight fabrics like linen for summer, but I wasn’t going to wait until summer to bring the design to life.
I’m very pleased with how it came out.
The good news is, with Beg Your Pardon being a made-to-measure store, this design is available in just about any fabric style possible.
Which means that linens and summer fabrics will happen in the warm months.
I’ll certainly be having a linen one cut for myself to enjoy this summer.
I’d like to think I came through on the price-conscious side of things, as well.
At a base price of $495 (including house fabric; other fabrics depend on the mill’s price), it’s quite an affordable made to measure option.
I hope to see some of you, my fellow Australians, sport these.
We’d been without safari jackets for long enough!
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