A British clothing manufacturer is offering outdoor enthusiasts the chance of designing their own jackets.
PHD, based in Stalybridge in Greater Manchester, has launched an online system to custom-build a down jacket like that made for explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes’s upcoming Antarctic trek.
The company is offering the service for its range from an ultralight jacket right up to full-on models suitable for expeditions to the Greater Ranges.
A PHD spokesperson said: “Sir Ran Fiennes will be wearing a custom-built model during his attempt to be the first to cross the Antarctic continent in winter – The Coldest Journey on Earth.
“Now customers can design and order their own unique model online made to their body size and ready for use on Sunday strolls, on Everest, and everywhere in between.
“Using the same highest quality down fills and fabrics as Sir Ranulph specified for his polar jacket, customers can design jackets weighing as little as 338g (or 12oz), about the same as a can of Coca Cola.
“At the other end of the spectrum users can build jackets to cope with temperatures down to – 38C, experienced on the world’s highest mountains and in the poles.
“With PHD’s new site – a world first – budding tailors can choose fabric and colour combinations; change body width, body length, and arm length; and many other features, and all the time they can watch the virtual jacket change dynamically on screen.”
PHD said there are a potential 48,000 combinations of jacket.
The firm said: “When virtually all other manufactures have their down jackets made in the Far East, this unique service shows that British design and manufacturing innovation can still lead the world.”
Peter Hutchinson, founder of PHD added: “In the face of the growing tide of imports, we have established a unique business, exploiting our skills, experience and versatility to offer customers an extraordinary breadth of choice impossible for mass manufacturers.”
PHD jackets are used in polar and high altitude ventures including by Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Kenton Cool, and Andy Kirkpatrick.
At the other end of the scale PHD’s ultralight gear has become a must-have for adventure racing and ultra-marathons such as the gruelling Marathon des Sables in the Sahara.
“Our intention with this new website”, said managing director Peter Elliott, “is to involve and empower people.
“They can’t make their own down jackets, but this way we can bring them as close to the process as possible and by working with us they help us to define and produce exactly what they want.
“What better way is there to build long-term business? It’s the old way of trading, whose time has come round again in a modern form.”
Jackets cost from £200, but specifying certain options will bump up the price. A running total is displayed with each modification.
The PHD jacket options can be seen on the Design Your Own Clothing website.