(NB: The Fielding is available to try in a couple of sizes in the PS pop-up, which runs from today until Saturday at 20 Savile Row. Details here.)
Cromford Leather on London’s Chiltern Street make the most beautiful leather coats and jackets. The finest calf, suede and shearling, and great value given the normal designer mark-up on expensive pieces of outerwear.
We did our first collaboration two years ago, creating a double-breasted shearling coat, first in olive green and then a dark brown. I was really happy with them, and sizes are still available as Cromford buy the skins and then make to order.
But given the quality of the pieces, and the amount of shearling involved in a double-breasted, they were fairly expensive – £2750 for a standard size and £3375 for made to measure (including VAT). It didn’t help that we put a double layer in the collar and lapels to give them extra body.
So this year I wanted to make something simpler and easier, with the same beautiful shearling but perhaps more casual as well. The result is what we’re calling the Fielding: a western-style overshirt, with a shearling body and grained leather collar.
The collar has that property I particularly value in outerwear: staying up at the back and folding down gracefully at the front. This particular leather also softens over time, shaping and moulding. I’ve included a photo of it in my hands below, to give more sense of the softness.
The leather is used again on the inside of the cuffs, which is usually for strength but also makes a nice design detail, particularly if the sleeves are a little long and you can get away with folding them back, as I like to.
The pearl snaps, meanwhile, have tarnished brass mounts as I think it gives the coat a softer, more aged feel, certainly more than the chrome or gold-coloured alternatives.
On the front, those snaps fasten two chest pockets, which I made deeper and wider than on most western overshirts.
They couldn’t be too big of course, or it would all start to look a little silly, but they will fit a small wallet, keys and some mobile phones. They measure 12 by 14cm (usable rectangular space, not to the point).
My phone (Pixel 6) is too tall, but it sits nicely in the inbreast pocket. You can’t put internal pockets anywhere on a shearling coat, because the stitching would show (this is just stitched-together sheepskins remember). But it is possible to put one on the back of an outbreast pocket, as we’ve done.
Because that inbreast pocket is cut tight, it comfortably holds most phones (pushing them into the soft, fluffy wool) even if they poke out of the top. (It measures 10.5 by 12cm.)
That shearling is the same lovely merino as the previous Cromford coats, with a semi-curly wool on the inside. There’s lots of shearling out there, but when you feel this one in person you realise quite how nice good shearling can be (anyone that’s in London – come to the pop-up from today and try it in person).
The colour is a mid-brown, the most versatile choice I could think of. Good with jeans and brown waxed boots (above) and with charcoal flannels and black boots.
Also, surprisingly good with stronger colours – like the black roll neck and the red flannel shirt pictured lower down.
One last detail that makes me happy – the line of the yoke on the back. It’s clearly western, but has quite a subtle, undulating line, matching up with the seams on the sleeves.
The coat’s western influence will be clear to anyone that focuses on it, but I think the dark colours and lack of extraneous detailing mean the Fielding looks mostly just like a big, cosy winter overshirt.
On the subject of size, I could honestly wear either a medium or a large. I went with a large because I wanted it to be really roomy, and allow me to fit anything under it – even an undershirt, a shirt, and the chunkiest roll neck all together on a cold winter’s day.
A medium would be fine on the chest with a shirt, or a regular two-ply crewneck. It would also be a truer length on the sleeve, but as I said I like folding them back.
The coats can be made to measure, which I know almost half of readers did last time with the double-breasted. A lot of existing Cromford customers use that route, because Sarah and Pauline are so lovely and the uplift in price isn’t that high.
The ready-made coats are £1850, the made-to-measure £2310 (including VAT). As with the previous coat, these are ordered through Cromford, not PS.
One other thing on the made to measure.
Cromford always have little remnants of skins around the workshop, in bags, drawers, or hanging on the walls. So I thought it would be nice to offer customers some of these as a subtle design change, on the inbreast pocket.
My coat and the ready-made ones have the cowhide as the inbreast (shown below). But for an extra £150 with the made to measure, customers can use a brown snakeskin or a brown ponyskin instead (next image).
It isn’t my style, but I know specific friends who would love this opportunity to add something exotic but hidden. So I thought it was a nice way to re-use those remnants, and given them a new lease of life.
- The Fielding shearling coat is made in London by Cromford Leather
- Ordering is through their website and contact here
- The shearling is a fine merino sheep with cut semi-curly wool
- As with much shearling, it is a by-product of the lamb industry
- The leather on the collar and cuffs is semi-aniline grain cowhide
- In terms of care, shearling is similar to suede: not the best in the rain, but not as bad as many people think either. See video here on caring for suede
- Price is £1850 in standard sizes and £2310 made to measure (both including VAT)
- One of every size is available to buy now, with replacements taking two to three weeks to make
- MTM takes roughly eight weeks and involves a consultation and a toile fitting
- The MTM must be in the same style as this coat, but otherwise there are no limitations
- I am wearing a large, but could happily wear a medium if I wore largely 2-ply knits. I am six-foot tall with a 39-inch chest
- Measurements are available through Cromford on request. They like to discuss sizing in person to make sure it is right for the customer
Photography: Alex Natt