How to: Design a Wet Weather Jacket - Behind the Scenes

How to: Design a Wet Weather Jacket - Behind the Scenes

From the original concept, to the refining of new innovative fabric technologies combined with a rigorous quality control and field testing program, all of our jackets are well and truly tried and tested well before they hit the store racks.

"Ever since we started our focus has been on wet weather gear that is affordable for our customer. From designing and manufacturing in our own Sydney factory in the early days - our focus has always been on the highest quality control from start to finish."

Here's a little sneak peak behind the scenes with our design and manufacturing team to see how each of our products evolve - starting from the initial concept, how it's developed and then right through to the finished product ending up ready to buy from your favourite chandlery.

Step 1 – The Wearer

"The most important thing is our customer - so the most important question when we start any design is 'who's going to be wearing it?' All of our jackets are used for not just sailing, but a whole range of activities on and off the water. With such a variety of potential uses, it’s important to know the specific end use before we even start designing. What are we trying to achieve? What problems, if any are we trying to solve? What needs are we looking to address? And can we make it better?

The most obvious criteria is exposure to foul weather. How exposed is the wearer going to be and for how long? What activity will it be used for? If it's for sailing - what type of boat, what would conditions be like on the deck and what are the activity levels of each crew member going to be? These are important factors. Technology and innovation in boat design is also constantly changing, so we need to make sure all of our products are also."

Step 2 – The Fabric

"After establishing what activity the jacket needs to serve, it’s time to start thinking fabrics.

We're always looking to make things better and the general trend in technical gear is towards lighter and more wearable fabrics. In the marine environment especially, we have to also make sure there's a high level of durability and protection.

Our PB20 fabric originally came about after some treacherous offshore sailing. The first concept was designed, tested, refined and tested again. We went through these steps over and over again until we were 100% satisfied with the end product. That was over almost forty years ago. Since then, we've continued to improve on everything from breathability, comfort and durability.

When it comes to offshore sailing in extreme conditions, you need gear that keeps you dry, for the longest amount of time. Comfort is massive too. We work closely with our factories and fabric partners to constantly update all of our garment technology." 

Step 3 – The Colour

"Colour is always a crucial factor especially when we're talking safety. Hi-Vis is always an important safety feature. All of our sailing jackets feature high-vis or part high-vis - from the Southerly Offshore range to our Pacific Coastal range with theirs hoods and reflector panels – it's important that our gear not only looks good but it works.

Red and blue have become Burke 'classics' - it's what we're known for. Our Superdry range has become so iconic within the Burke range - we can't see a day that will ever change from the Burke blue. It's the same as our Yachtsmans Bag - this iconic bag can be found in just about every sailing club across Australia. 

But who knows? Some of our original kit was yellow - even white was around in the early days."

Step 4 – Adding the 'Burke' touch

"It's not Burke if it's not made to last. There’s a huge amount of experience and know-how that goes into every one of our marine jackets. The quality is built in – it can’t wash off.

From the position of every seam, every pocket and any other detail that's needed is a critical part of the design process. We've been doing this for well over forty years. We've been at the forefront of innovations such as taping seams to produce a 100% waterproof garment - we've been doing this since the days in our Sydney factory. We love what we do and genuinely love coming to work every day. The question is always - Can we make it better?”

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