The truly trans-seasonal coat is akin to the Holy Grail of menswear. There are smart overcoats in soft cashmere that are perfect for autumn, but when the January and February winds take hold only a gigantic down-filled coat will do. Emel + Aris founder Rana Nakhal Solset grew up in Canada, while her husband is from Norway – both countries that face extreme winter conditions. They now live in London, where, she says “the norm is to experience two or three seasons in the same day”. After extensive research, she has just launched the Smart Coat, with a clever inbuilt heating system with three temperature settings.
Wearable tech is nothing new, but few brands have managed to combine it with such serious luxury. Emel + Aris has created two styles of men’s coat, both featuring the integrated heating system – a mac (£1,295) and an overcoat (£1,395, first picture); the former is made from a navy rain-resistant Loro Piana cotton, the latter is in a slim cut, also in Loro Piana fabric, in a cashmere and wool blend, available in black, navy or grey. There are also two sister styles for women: a navy trench (£1,195) and belted wrap coat (£1,395, second picture), in the same fabric and colours. All the garments are made in England.
“For many years I worked with luxury brands in fashion and interiors magazines,” explains Nakhal Solset. “When it came to creating my own brand, I set my sights on one textile brand – Loro Piana. The textiles are beautiful and luxurious; they are the best. But they are also innovative – the Storm System, which we use for our mac, means the most delicate fabrics are weather-proof. My mission is to deliver the best style, cut and fabric and then use technology to enhance what is already the perfect coat.”
The polymer heatable element within each garment weighs around 100g and is near impossible to detect by the wearer. The lithium ion battery – which is charged using a standard USB connection – can heat the coat for between eight and 10 hours on the lowest setting, and three hours on the highest setting. “It is advancements in battery technology that have been a big contributor to the reality of the Smart Coat,” says Solset. “Our compact power bank is about the size of an iPhone 5 and weighs 200g. Not long ago you would have needed a backpack to carry that much power.”