There are creations that change a whole sector. In mobile telephony, the arrival of the iPhone meant the beginning of the smartphone. The windbreaker is a garment that changed the world of jackets and coats. When the weather is rainy and it's cold, there's nothing better than a streetwear windbreaker!
The windbreaker is designed to resist, as its name indicates, the wind and cold temperatures. Of course, it is not the first garment to protect oneself from bad weather conditions. Our ancestors used animal skins and furs to keep their bodies warm and fight the cold.
Originally, the clothes that were created were meant to resist low temperatures. It was not specifically to fight the wind. The goal was to fight the cold by bringing a heat boost to the body. This way, the person wearing the garment would have a higher body temperature, which would compensate for the cold climate that prevailed in the winter and fall.
The windbreaker is therefore a type of clothing that drew its inspiration from the clothes of skins and furs that our ancestors wore. Technology has made it possible to have garments that are specifically designed to combat bad weather conditions. This is the case of the rainwear.
The furs allowed to have a protection against the cold but not the rain. With these, one would get soaked and have no choice but to let the coat dry before wearing it again. The first modern rainwear was created in Scotland (a country where the weather is rainy) by the chemist Charles Macintosh. In 1824, he invented a piece that was made from the material of the tarpaulin. Charles had also used a rubber core softened by naphtha to form two pieces of cloth.
This was the first sign of a garment specifically made for inclement weather. But he's not the only one, and some of today's designs are derived from what was done in the past.
Among the coats that strongly resemble the windbreaker, the anorak is rather well placed. It is also called the parka.
A long time ago, the people of Siberia and Alaska, the Inuit, adopted the parka. It was then made of several skins of different animals. The Inuit used seal and caribou skins to make clothing that would protect them from the rain. The skins were sandwiched as each side was turned towards the outside while the hair came inside to trap the warm air and retain it. Here is what the Inuit parka was made of. This allowed them to resist the icy conditions experienced at the edge of the Arctic. The parka was also waterproof thanks to the application of seal fat on the top. So even in the rain, the parka was a good protection.
Did you know that the word parka was derived from the name "parqaaq"? This name means warmth and refers to the feeling that the jacket gives, regardless of the temperature outside.
At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, western explorers adopted the jacket in their wardrobe. This is how the parka became popular around the world. Modified versions were created for winter sports such as skiing. During the Second World War, the American and German armies used this principle to create military jackets capable of protecting the soldier from any weather scenario. In the 1960s, the parka is also a symbol of a protest movement that will take place (yes May 1968 we think of you). Many students decorated this garment with symbols of peace and doves in particular.
The Inuits were thus the precursors of the anoraks that we know today. There is no doubt that the fact of having a parka so developed allowed the emergence of other types of clothing that we know today. We obviously think of the windbreaker. But they are not quite the same jackets.
The difference with the parka is that the windbreaker offers protection against gusts of wind can be particularly strong and cold. The parka also allows it but does not offer protection as we know it now with the windbreaker. The incoming air cannot get inside a garment like a windbreaker because it is perfectly smooth. The parka is a garment that protects from rain and bad conditions. The windbreaker will better filter the air that arrives, particularly cold in winter.
The history of this very special garment begins in 1965. The windbreaker is also called k-way, which sounds English. But it is not, the k-way is a French invention, cock-a-doodle-doo! This type of clothing is actually a brand, created by Léon-Claude Duhamel. The windbreaker was therefore born with the brand k-way.
In 1965, Duhamel is an entrepreneur in the textile sector. He is the son of a trouser manufacturer in Harnes, in the Pas-de-Calais, a highly industrial region. At the same time, in Belgium, the company Sofinal proposed to his father, Léon, to test a new product. It is about the coated nylon. The trouser manufacturer proposed to his son, Léon-Claude, to work on an idea of application of this new material on a garment. His goal was to create a jacket that would allow each child to get rid of his rain gear, which once wet is heavy and uncomfortable to wear. Léon-Claude also wants to allow his creation to be folded so that it can be stored in a fanny pack.
We take this opportunity to tell you that you can discover our collection of fanny packs if you want to store your windbreaker inside.
His idea goes to the end and the coated nylon windbreaker was born. During the launch of this brand new product, Léon-Claude named it "En-cas". This echoes the idea of taking a garment that protects against the rain, for "in case of rain". The pouch is then separated from the garment.
In 1966, one year after its official launch, the windbreaker changed its name to "en-K". Under the impetus of the Havas communications agency headed by Mr. Castaing, the name was changed to "k-way" in order to have an international dimension and to sound correctly in every language of the world. The term "way" is trendy and refers to the American way of life. 250,000 copies are sold, proof of the success of the name change.
The year 1968 is significant because Léon-Claude Duhamel loses his father, and he makes it his mission to continue to make the company prosper. In the 1970s, the K-way brand became associated with the French Alpine ski team. This shows that the garment, like the parka, is very useful for winter sports enthusiasts. Everything seems to be successful because the product meets a commercial success. The windbreaker is indeed made of an innovative material. Many advantages are noted compared to a classic rainwear: light, waterproof and flexible. Its technical performance is accompanied by a colorful look that does not go unnoticed and seduces many people.
During the 1980s, the k-way brand was to be sold to the Blue Bell group but the French government blocked the sale. The Elysée is indeed anxious to preserve the French heritage. The company will then finance by itself its extension to the American market. But it was a failure. In 1985, due to differences in strategy, Yves and Jacotte Moinet, the sister of Léon-Claude, left the company. The creator is then alone at the helm. From 1988 onwards, sales of windbreakers dropped, as did the company's profitability.
As you can see, the history of the windbreaker is closely linked to the history of the k-way. Many alternatives to the original model exist today but this was not the case in the past.
In 1991, the Italian tire brand Pirelli bought the company, which was close to bankruptcy. Initially manufactured in the Pas-de-Calais, where it was born, its production is definitively moved to the other side of France with factories in Portugal and North Africa. The year 1995 is the year of the change of the brand to a generic name. Sales of the k-way dropped from 500 million francs in 1992 to 100 million in 1996. Asian competition is taking its toll.
The slump towards the year 2000 is followed by the takeover by the Italian group BasicNet. This company is based in Turin and owns successful brands such as Kappa or Superga. And the k-way will then show that it is waterproof to the weather, as the coated nylon makes it waterproof to the rain. Previously focused on a public that lives in areas where it rains more and where the wind is strong enough, the brand k-way then turns to the side of fashion.
The windbreaker, rather utilitarian garment, becomes a fashion accessory. The strategy is simple: upmarket, development of products and accessories made in collaboration. The opening of physical sales outlets and limited series also contribute to the return of the k-way to the forefront. Pieces created by Philippe Starck or Marc Jacobs or collaborations with brands such as Maje or L'Eclaireur work particularly well.
Léon-Claude Duhamel explains: "When I walk around New York and I see a K-Way store on Broadway, it's a great joy. I wanted this America, but I never succeeded. "
BasicNet simply felt the return to 80's fashion and the most stylish streetwear look. If you don't know, in 1980, Sophie Marceau wore a k-way in the movie La Boum, an undeniable hit. The bet is successful for the Italian company that managed to implant the k-way in the streetwear look while maintaining its identity. The collections still have their classics with the models Leon, Claude or Eiffel.
The style is not the only thing that has been updated at the brand k-way and the windbreaker. The technique has also been reworked on the windbreaker, which improves the performance of the garment. Now ripstop nylon is used, which makes the jacket lighter and more breathable. The windbreaker is now more comfortable while performing well.
To have the proof that the k-way is now back on the front of the scene, you just have to see that its original logo and its 3 stripes are worn by stars like Lady Gaga, Rita Ora, Jonah Hill or Bradley Cooper.
The k-way windbreaker is such a mythical product. But at Tenshi, we wanted to put our stamp on the windbreaker with a unique collection. Stay safe from the wind, stay dry and wear your best streetwear look with our windbreakers.
If you like colors and being spotted for your streetwear style, the Natori model is the one you need. In case you want to stay in more classic and darker tones, several windbreakers will suit you. The Hira windbreaker is a classic style with a very sober black or white color. To keep it simple, Hiro is a popular model with its gray color and wider design.
Finally, show off your Japanese streetwear appeal with the Hoko and Tawada windbreakers, which feature lettering on the chest or back. All that's left to do is make your choice !
By Credit & Debit Cards, Paypal or Apple Pay
For all orders over $100
We're available 7 days a week
Reply within 24 hours
Not loving it?
Free return within 30 days