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Vintage Spotlight #30

Posted on June 21 2011

Cairns & Bro formed sometime in the 1850s when the two brothers met humble luggage maker Henry Gratacap in New York. At the time he was manufacturing a basic form of helmet for himself and his fellow firemen buddies who were volunteers in the city and wanted more protection from the inherent dangers of the job than the existing lightweight headgear was able to afford them. The Cairns brothers came up with the idea to attach ornate badges to differentiate between fire departments and the iconic New York fireman’s helmet was born and remains largely untouched to this day. From the 1890s, Cairns & Bros extended their range to practically everything involved in fire fighting except the trucks. This mint condition fireman’s tunic dates from the 1940s. Astonishingly, it is made from 100% wool (imagine how quickly that would go up in a fire!), which was apparently perfect for insulation against cold weather and the heat from flames. The label on the shirt reads Cairns & Bro Firemans Equipments and in New York would be a very valuable item to own…

1940s US Fireman's Tunic | £50 | Available at our Soho store

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Catch someone’s eye on the beach in Brighton or picnicking in Hyde Park with these distinctive red and white stripy shorts. You’ll fall in love when you see how easily this great piece can be thrown together with one of our terrific new sunhats and some simple jewellery. Pair them with a white top or embrace the double denim with a casual denim blouse and you’ll be out the door looing fabulous!

1990s Stripy Denim Shorts | £14 | Buy Online

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