K Way: the story of the perfect summer cagoule

K-way-leon-half-zip-jacket

The cagoule (or kagool) depending on your preference has been a staple in many a wardrobe since the 1960s. Made of nylon, it’s the archetypal one-job garment. It doesn’t promise that it’ll help you attract beautiful women or get you a table at the best restaurants. It just keeps you dry when it’s raining. Useful in Britain then. 

The K-Way is perhaps the archetypal cagoule. Invented in 1965 by Frenchman Leon-Claude Duhamel, it was inspired by the the sight of his fellow Parisians trudging home in the rain, trying to protect themselves against the elements in clothes that weren’t up to the job. His solution – a nylon windcheater that could be folded up into a lightweight bag – was immediately embraced by the people, and he sold 250,000 in the first year alone.

On first examination, the K-Way isn’t inherently special, but it has elements that lift it above the rest of the waterproofs that can bought on the high street. First, there’s the ever-so-slightly tailored shape, which lends the coat a subtle design feel that makes it feel less utilitarian and anonymous. Second, there’s the coloured piping round the zip and the unmistakable logo, which give the jacket character. The fact that it really does keep every drop of rain out merely seals the deal. 

In Britain, the cagoule, for all its unpretentious simplicity, has an extra element to its story: the casuals of the late 1970s and early ’80s. In Liverpool, where the look first surfaced, Peter Storm’s green cagoule was an integral part of out the scally outfit, along with straight-legged jeans and Adidas Samba trainers. When the Awaydays film came out in 2009, the young mob were wearing replica Peter Storms. And they looked good.

With Peter Storm seemingly unwilling to cash in on their history in casual, it’s been left to K-Way to fill the void, providing a cheap yet undeniably class garment to thousands of savvy men, who want something stylish to protect them against the elements. With its ‘Leon’ (smock) and ‘Claude’ (full zip) models, it does exactly that. 

You can buy K Way at Steeple Pine by clicking here








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