Debenhams has revealed the world’s most unlikely fashion icon, as the grumpy and notoriously badly dressed hill walker Alfred Wainwright becomes the driving force behind a new dress code appearing on British streets.
Alfred Wainwright’s famous Lake District guides appears to have inspired so many to follow in his footsteps that niche, all-weather clothing styles have made the giant leap from crag edge to the catwalk, according to fashion store Debenhams.
Demand for hiking style jackets, trousers, t-shirts, socks, rucksacks and boots has soared over the last two years following a series of television and radio programmes about Wainwright and his life.
Debenhams Director of Menswear Buying, Paul Baldwin, commented: “We’re calling it ‘Wainwright Chic’. Men and women have fallen in love with the rugged outdoor image the hill climbing clothing style portrays, and want to wear it every day.
“At one time, these specialist clothes would have been bought only by long distance hill walkers and mountaineers.
“Now, however, you’re more likely to see them worn on the streets of Kensington and Chelsea than Scafell or Grisedale Pike”.
The greatest irony is that Wainwright himself had a somewhat eclectic taste in men’s clothing. Many of his epic walks were conducted in an ancient flat cap and a battered, belted coat worn over a frumpy Fair Isle jumper which had seen better days. Badly fitting trousers held up by style-less braces were tucked into thick, grey woollen socks, which he allowed to accumulate in a haphazard manner, around the tops of crude but functional boots.