Willis & Geiger
Before the days of North Face, Goretex, dayglo vests, Realtree camo, and other hideous modern synthetic sportswear, there was Willis & Geiger. The brand harks back to the days when outdoor sporting was the landed gentry’s pursuit. Their most popular jackets were made from cotton poplin, which was the preferred fabric used by British colonists when on safari.
I won’t go into the history here, since it’s already been done excellently at the F.M. Allen Campsmoke blog. The short of it is: a venerable niche sporting outfitter was bought and sold several times in the early 90′s. Each new owner had no idea what to do with the brand. Now out of production for about twenty years, this safari wear is fetching big bucks on eBay.
I had the luck of unearthing two amazing Willis & Geiger Hemingway safari jackets recently. Happily, they attracted a frenzy of bidding from collectors.
The Hemingway Bush Jacket, according to Lost World Inc:
The natural choice for guys who don’t like belts on their jackets, attached or not. According to Willis & Geiger Outfitters, Ernest Hemingway himself designed this classic in the 1950s, specifying to the late, great Howard Geiger an elasticized waist as well as more dedicated hunting features than our Safari Bush Jacket. This waist construction works deftly in concert with the stylish inverted pleat back for all sorts of twisty outdoor and travel manipulations. Supportive but comfortable. Padded shooting patch; cartridge strip; bellowed front lower pockets; button sleeve pocket; button roll-up sleeve; button epaulet. Super for travel: lightweight, highly water resistant, very durable and stores virtually whatever one might need. Easily and popularly worn at night for genteel settings. Elegance and strength.
Searches on eBay also turn up items such as W&G wristwatches, eyeglasses, shoes, and belts. I’m guessing many were manufactured in the mid 90′s as the new owners kept trying to figure out a way to cash in on the brand.
Select examples of sold items on ebay in the past 90 days:
Towards the end, things went downhill, and the brand was extended into questionable styles:
Fortunately Willis & Geiger of the past lives on through ebay, and continues to inspire: