Most fashion items that we use today were born from some kind of need: the three-roll-two jacket emerged when the three-button jacket went out of fashion, the button-down Oxford shirt appeared after the difficulties British polo players experienced during games, and the Chelsea boots were crafted to slip them on and off easily. There is also a practical purpose in the occurrence of the umbrella when traced back.

Shot by Jamie Ferguson

The umbrella is a functional fashion accessory that protects people from the rain however, the intended use of the early versions of the umbrella was to protect important people from the sunlight. According to archives, the umbrella was invented more than 4,000 years ago and was first used as a parasol in ancient civilisations such as Egypt, Assyria, Greece, India, and China. These early versions of the umbrella were much bigger than the umbrellas we use today. The term umbrella comes from the Latin word umbra meaning shadow, which is a meaningful reference to the origin of the umbrella.

The umbrella was introduced to Europe as a sunshade by the Ancient Egyptians however, it was the Romans who used the umbrella to protect themselves against the rain. The use of the umbrella disappeared in Europe during the Middle Ages however, it re-emerged in Italy at the end of the 16th century as it was regarded as a distinguishing mark for the Pope and clergy. 

In the 17th century, the usage of the umbrella spread to France, and finally, it started to be commonly used across Europe in the 1700’s. At the time, the umbrella had been considered a feminine accessory however, it was Jonas Hanway who changed this perception by carrying an umbrella in public in England for thirty years. This led to English gentlemen carrying umbrellas when wearing a suit and called it Hanway.

Shot by Jamie Ferguson

The umbrella was generally made in black until the 20th century however, it started to be produced in various colours and designs afterwards. Having a functional purpose, the umbrella is an elegant fashion accessory that has a complementary role when wearing a suit. Umbrellas that are crafted in solid colours such as black, navy blue, charcoal grey, and dark brown are a must have pieces for every gentleman who are interested in classic menswear, bespoke tailoring, high-end shoes, high-quality fabrics, and classic accessories.

The cover photo was shot by Alex Blake.