From the original concept, to the introduction of new innovative fabric technologies combined with a thorough in-house and field testing program, we are the choice of today’s champions and the brand aspired to by ocean-goers who want to wear the absolute pinnacle of sailing technology.
We catch up with our Technical Product Design team to take you right back to where we start with the initial concept of a Henri Lloyd sailing jacket; and then how we develop that through to the finished product.
Step 1 – The Wearer
“With such variety and complexity in the sport, it’s important to focus in on the specific end use before we start designing; what problems are we trying to solve? What needs are we looking to address? Exposure to foul weather – how exposed and for how long – is an obvious criteria, but also the type of boat, the deck and the activity levels of each crew member are also important factors. Technology and innovation in boat design is also constantly moving, creating new challenges for the sailor and, therefore us.”
Step 2 – The Fabric
After establishing what type of sailing the jacket needs to serve, it’s time to start thinking fabrics.
“The general trend in technical clothing is towards lighter and, where possible, stretch fabrics. In the marine environment, however, we have to balance these attributes with a much higher level of protection. Especially in our Offshore products. Taking the Elite 2.0 range for example, we worked closely with Gore-TEX® to make sure weather protection and durability were maintained at the trusted levels we need, whilst striving for a massive increase in breathability. The result was the lightest most breathable offshore gear we’ve ever produced.”
When it comes to professional offshore sailing in extreme conditions, you need kit that keeps you dry, for the longest amount of time. Ease of movement and comfort are biggies too. We work closely with our fabric partners to constantly develop new innovations in sailing garment technology.
Step 3 – The Colour
Depending on your chosen type of sailing, colour can play an important factor in your kit. When adventurer Sir Frances Chichester set sail to become the first person to single-handedly circumnavigate the world, he chose a Henri Lloyd Consort Jacket in green. Then, a colour unheard of in sailing due to poor visibility in the sea, his response was ‘Who will be there to see me?’
For Sir Frances, colour didn’t matter, but for team sailing activities in extreme conditions, such as the Clipper Race Crew – being seen is crucial.
“We focus on performance and modernity when we design. Marine classics such as red and yellow appeal to the traditionalists and deliver on the safety front too, whilst navy and white remain perennial favourites. But we also see influences from wider fashion and sportswear trends gaining traction and more contemporary clean brights are taking over.”
“Hi-Vis is also an important safety feature. All of our sailing jackets feature high-vis or part high-vis, from the offshore range, with its opti-vision hood system, to our coastal range with theirs hoods and reflector panels – a signal to the world that you are a serious sailor.”
Step 4 – Adding a touch of Henri Lloyd
It wouldn’t be a Henri Lloyd jacket if it wasn’t made to last. There’s a huge amount of experience and know-how that goes into one of our marine jackets. The quality is built in – it can’t wash off.
“From the position of every seam to the honing of key features like the STRETCHnSEAL inner cuff, attention to detail is a critical part of the design process. Henri Lloyd has been at the forefront of ground-breaking innovations such as taping seams to produce a 100% waterproof garment, and the use of Velcro (to name just two) since the beginning. There’s a pioneering spirit here which imbues everything we do and we’re all proud to continue this legacy.”