Fencing Jacket - Case Study
Design of Form
This is my SPES "Officer" Fencing Jacket it is a jacket designed for Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA). As it is designed for a specific activity, this piece of clothing primarily favours function over form, however, in this particular jacket's design considerations, form is not compromised in the least.
This jacket is designed to emulate the aesthetic of historical fencing jackets of the late 19th, and early 20th century. This design appeals to some modern practitioners of HEMA as period-accurate attire displays one's interest in such things and often facilitates a discussion with fellow practitioners.
Due to this jacket's unique aesthetic, especially compared to other examples of fencing jacket, it may be worn outside of fencing activities without alluding to its true, practical, purpose (provided one doesn't look at the overtly sewn-on external tags too hard).
This jacket is available in several different colours (at an increased price). However, its default colour is black. Black has become the default colour for most HEMA gear, colloquially known as "HEMA Black" due to its prevalence. This, I believe, is to intentionally counter the modern sport fencing convention of having fencing equipment in all-white.
Design of Function
As this jacket is design for HEMA, its features reflect the needs such an activity necessitates:
Padded and puncture resistant material (to reduce chances of injury)
High collar and folded-over neck guard (to protect the neck from errant thrusts)
Overlapping chest flaps (For greater safety on critical areas)
There are a few quality-of-life features built into this jacket which assist with its functionality:
The Zipper has an extra-long cord attached to it. This is useful because HEMA activities usually require one to wear large and cumbersome gloves which greatly reduce dexterity, the zipper cord reduces the minimum dexterity required to operate the jacket's closure mechanism.
The Sleeves have V cut-outs on the underside of them, allowing them to open up slightly. This once again, aids in the use and wearing of large protective gloves.
The snap fasteners. Although made redundant by the zip (and are a huge pain in the ass to button all 9 of them up), the snap fasteners ensure the jacket cannot be opened accidentally, and incidentally make the wearer look hella cool.
The Adjustable Belt allows the garment to be fitted more securely to the wearer's form, this enhances the aesthetics, and also prevents displacement of vital protective elements while in use.
Although this jacket has the aesthetic of a late 19th century fencing jacket, its composed of modern elements and materials (50% Cotton - 50% Polyester outer shell, and 100% Polyester Lining) such as a zipper, and snap fasteners for its method of closure, and a built-in adjustable belt for fitting.
The modern resurgence of HEMA has created an interest in historically inspired equipment, thus the creation of a functional modern fencing jacket in a Victorian style. The original Victorian fencing jackets this item is based on were originally an emulation of contemporary military attire.
Many European militaries had similar looking jackets present in their uniforms (some still do in ceremonial dress). The aesthetic this fencing jacket aims to emulate was present in the ages of history many HEMA practitioners source their instructive fencing material from.
Elliot Watson, Illustrator with a background in historical swordsmanship and all the weird and wonderful trappings that entails.