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Parka, history and origin of the cold-proof winter jacket

When we decided to create an outerwear for the winter that was padded and sustainable, we chose inspire ourself to a garment with a history, whose characteristics had been appreciated by people over the years.

This is why we chose the Parka, and we created it respecting its main characteristics and what made it an iconic and timeless garment.

So, how was this iconic garment with a very long history born, a symbol of very different cultures and historical periods?

The first jacket to shelter from the cold in history: the Parka and the Inuit


Certainly not vegan-friendly, the first Parka in history is the one used by Inuit cultures. Warm, snug hoods and treated, water-repellent leathers padded with the furs of arctic animals.

The origin of the word itself creates a very strong contrast with Rifò's cruelty-free Parka, since in the Nenets language of the Siberian populations, it really means "animal skin".

Precisely for this very ancient ethnic origin, following in the footsteps of Inuit civilizations, we can trace the ancestors of our current parkas since prehistoric times.

The Parka as a military jacket

We find the parka as a technical jacket, made with waterproof materials and used in quite extreme cold situations. parka-militare-vintage

Other styles that preceded the parka that came to our days emerged during the wars, waterproof thanks to glass fibers and padded with various materials including fleece. The model most similar to the parka as we imagine it today is the M-51 of the US Army, which spread among the military during the Korean War.

The Parka in Mods subculture

To conclude the use that has given the parka all the personality and style that distinguish it today. This garment was in fact the symbol of the Mods culture, which since the 1950s and on several occasions has established itself among young people who, through their style, wanted to affirm belonging to a subculture.


The Mods were in fact a group of young Londoners who between the 50s and 60s listened to modern jazz, from which came the name Mods. In the name of the new, of change and of a "modernism" attentive to style (very often made up of Italian accessories), they build an imaginary by citing the military sphere. In fact, they wear this very comfortable jacket to protect themselves from the cold even on a motorbike. It is in fact riding Piaggio Vespas with a thousand lights, and precisely wearing the iconic green jacket with attached patches, that the rivalry with the antagonist subculture occurs: the rockers, who instead rode motorcycles, listen to rock and roll and dress mainly in skin.

The Mods culture view a revival at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s. In this period, other iconic Parkas appeared in the world of music, in particular those of the Gallagher brothers, from the British-pop group Oasis.

Parka today: new eco-friendly and cruelty-free materials

Today there are many Parka styles, often offered by technical clothing brands for the mountains or in any case for the cold.

The main features that distinguish the parka still today are certainly the hood, sometimes made of fur, the water-repellent fabric, a length at least up to the thigh and the possibility of a drawstring to tighten it at the waist.

With its sustainable parka, Rifò wanted to take these characteristics and propose them in an alternative made with recycled and eco-friendly materials. We wanted to make a jacket for the winter that was warm but made with vegan and cruelty-free materials.

You can discover the Rifò parka in this focus, where we explain all the research and characteristics behind this sustainable design garment.

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