In the beginning there was the 1970’s…
A darker decade than the previous 60’s but non-the-less hopeful. Lacking the colour and the creativity of pop art art hippy culture. Struggling to change. It was this thirst for change that was the greatest driver in the creation of Rohan Designs in Skipton North Yorkshire.
The UK outdoor clothing market, like most markets at the time, was slow to change. The walkers wardrobe was either the clothes they stood up in or breeches made from wool or cotton and cotton jackets over jumpers and wool shirts. Nothing wrong with that but they took days to dry and remember the itch. Quick drying and lightweight had still to come. Style was a dirty word.
Jackets changed first with groundbreaking garments such as G&H Cagjak and the Helly Hanson Neoprene and coated PVC jacket to name a couple. The market still clung to cotton jackets such from Blacks – a great garment bomb proof. Over the head with the big centre cargo pocket any colour just so long as it was orange. Slowly things on the jacket front started to change with the use of the new coated fabrics. In fact this was the point that the industry left the protection factor resting on the fabric itself and moved towards what actually coated the fibre or fabric. We are still in this area of discovery. Rucksack change quicker powered by the interesting dynamic between Karrimor and early Berghaus. Leg wear was still in the wilderness – trousers who thought about them. Very few before Rohan.
If you would like to read more about this period with regard to the British Outdoor Scene take a look at an in-depth record of the equipment movers and shakers for the years in question by Mike Pars ons and Mary Rose. Invisible of Everest : Innovation and the Gear Makers (2003) The British Outdoor Trade between 1960 and 1990. A great read.
So I invite your own memories of the British outdoor scene before the early 1970’s. Pictures, places, your memories, walks, climbs, expeditions any thing that you would like to share. Let’s set the scene and don’t forget to tell us about your early outdoor clothing.
What did you wear on the hills and dales before you found Rohan?
Come on think hard it will come to you.
photo credit to AP photo/polydor