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Nicola Mira
Sep 27, 2019
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Element breathes new life into WW2 uniforms with Nigel Cabourn collaboration

Translated by
Nicola Mira
Sep 27, 2019

For the last 50 years, British designer Nigel Cabourn has drawn inspiration from vintage apparel, especially military outfits from the two world wars. He unearths them, collects them (he has amassed no fewer than 4,000 items in his personal studio) and reinterprets them for his label.

Looks from the Element - Cabourn collaboration - Element

On the first day of the Paris Fashion Week, Cabourn and the designers of US streetwear brand Element presented the first fruits of their collaboration at the Nous concept store in rue Cambon, Paris, in whose courtyard a team of Element skateboarders rode a purpose-built half-pipe.

Cabourn has worked with Converse, and will soon do so with Vans, to introduce the new generations to what he regards as genuine vintage apparel. For Elements, the Newcastle-born designer, who launched his own label in 1973, has actually done more. “The connection with Element is obvious. Johnny Schillereff [the founder of Element] grew up in a military family and has travelled extensively, following his parents’ assignments. A collection based on vintage apparel from WW2 clearly meant something to him,” said Cabourn.

The European design team for Element, a brand owned by the Boardriders group, worked with Cabourn to infuse a contemporary street feel to jackets and clothes inspired by WW2 uniforms.

Nigel Cabourn at Nous concept store on September 23 2019 - OG FNW

The British designer’s love for textures is evident in some of the winter outerwear, and there are references to Element’s ‘Wolfeboro’ jackets too. The line will be presented at the Army Gym store in London on October 30.

It will be available at some 50 edgy multibrand retailers and vintage specialists, like End Clothing in the UK and American Rag in the USA, and will also be distributed in Japan, where Cabourn, via his financial partner, operates 12 stores, including three for womenswear.


The collaboration will continue in the Spring/Summer 2020, with lighter items inspired by cricket outfits and skate culture. A third seasonal collection is on the cards for winter 2020.


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