The Edmund Hillary Collection takes its design cues from the 1953 Everest Expedition, and Edmund Hillary's subsequent adventures in the Antarctic. It combines style with function to create a unique look for today. Materials and construction techniques from historic garments have been used to create statement pieces that will stand the test of time.
One of the most iconic jackets in our collection is a replica of the one worn by Ed Hillary during the ascent of Everest in 1953. In Summit we have replicated the original fabric and colour but with updated and authentic accessories in brass. It is produced from Ventile, a famous weather-proof densely woven cotton in the iconic Royal blue. www.ventile.co.uk
The down-fill jacket was critical for keeping warm at high altitude.
Eddie Bauer first invented the down-fill parka in 1936. It has come a long way since then - our Khumbu parka is a replica of the one worn by Ed Hillary in 1953. Khumbu is produced from a British, densely woven down-proof cotton and has a 450 fill power, enough to keep out the cold in winter temperatures.
All our down is ethically sourced by Minardi Piumi, one of the world's most respected suppliers. www.minardipiume.it
Our down-fill parka Ice Fall emulates the one worn by Tenzing Norgay in the famous picture taken close to the summit on 29th May 1953. It has the same 450 fill power as Khumbu, but the outer fabric is an extremely lightweight rip-stop material. Also being shorter, it allows the wearer to move freely, and is therefore well-suited to climbing and skiing.
One iconic piece of the 1940's and 1950's is the traditional British Parka, with roots in military and utility wear. Parkas were worn as standard issue during World War 2, and the popularity of the style has carried forward to today. Our version called Himalaya is produced from a British lightly waxed cotton, giving a vintage appearance. Serac is shorter parka, with a double-front pocket construction taken from an old military design. www.waxedcotton.com
During our research through the thousands of pictures held in the archives of the Royal Geographical Society, we came across images of Everest expedition team members and Sherpas wearing lambswool sweaters, mostly with a shawl collar construction for extra comfort and warmth. Our replicas of these can be seen in Lukla, Nepal and South Col, all knitted from beautifully soft British lambswool supplied by Z. Hinchliffe of Huddersfield, a thriving business since 1766. www.zhinchliffe.co.uk
Our hand-knitted sweaters take their inspiration from the past, combined with a design that embodies the brand. The Argyle knit is a replica of one worn by Ed Hillary on holiday, Peak knit was inspired by the Nepalese landscape, and Snowflake speaks for itself.
Hand-knitted hats and scarves also feature in the range, with our bobble hats depicting the peaks of Everest.
Mid layers and base layers have always been key to retaining heat, but back in 1953 Ed Hillary and the expedition team wouldn't have had access to today's modern fabrics - they'd have worn layers of fine wool and cotton. One of the most efficient garments worn would have been a very soft and fine gauge sweater, which we have replicated in our Voe knitwear, named after a particularly hardy breed of Shetland sheep that provide the wool. Available October 2018
All photos courtesy of The Royal Geographical Society in London, the Auckland Museum in New Zealand and the Hillary Family.