Triple A in a shed: Motorcycle clothing designer brings old-school tech bang up to date
Designer Ashley Watson has created a new wax jacket that meets the latest stringent CE testing with a triple-A rating. You might imagine this sort of work would involve vast sums of money from international conglomerates but like all good British businesses, most of the work was done by a single person in a shed.
Watson’s latest jacket is the Eversholt MkII, a new version of the Eversholt, which he tested on a multiple thousand mile trip across Europe. As well as some improvements to the jacket generally, he was keen that it should be certified to the highest protection rating, while still maintaining its classic construction.
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"Waxed cotton has been used since the 1930s," says Watson. "In motorcycle clothing, the alternative to waxed cotton is a laminated waterproof fabric. These perform brilliantly - until they get a puncture because the commercial machinery needed for a repair isn’t readily accessible; if the outer shell is damaged and begins to leak, you must either accept that you’ll get wet or buy a replacement. But waxed cotton can be reproofed any number of times at home."
However, Watson didn’t stop there, adding a seam-sealed waterproof drop-liner just to be doubly sure. To engineer in the protection, hidden behind the waxed-cotton outer is an incredibly strong hybrid Dyneema/Aramid abrasive resistant lining that can withstand the abrasive forces of a 70mph slide and helped to achieve the tough AAA rating.
Even the seam strength has been boosted, such that now the equivalent of a one inch strip of fabric could hold a 30kg weight. As if that wasn’t enough, the latest D3O Armour is used at the elbow, shoulder and back. Watson was also keen that the jacket be long lasting and sustainable.
"Waxed cotton can be easily maintained at home - making the garment function for longer. The Eversholt is designed to last for many years," says Watson. "Laminated waterproof fabrics (the alternative to waxed cotton) are woven from virgin synthetic yarns which are derived from fossil fuels.
"The adhesive used to bond the layers of these fabrics together mean that they can’t be recycled. In effect this means that after a relatively short lifecycle, a jacket made from a laminated fabric will become landfill and take centuries to decompose."
Watson is making just 300 of the first run of the Mk.II jacket, which will be available for £765.