coat & donkey jacket

Liberty & Co

coat & donkey jacket

Liberty & Co


Black wool donkey jacket, "fashionised" by Liberty with an applied PVC trim to front and back yoke, printed with a William Morris scrolling floral design. Turn-down collar; SB with 4 black circular plastic buttons; unflapped patch pockets; unlined with woven label silver on black "Liberty, M".

Display Label

High fashion has often flirted with workwear, gentrifying familiar occupational garments for fun or to shock. In 1988, the old-fashioned design store, Liberty & Co, off Regent Street in London's West End, launched a range of men's fashion coats which resembled the traditional black woollen donkey jackets beloved of construction workers. Customised with applied PVC yokes printed in a paisley William Morris pattern, instead of the orange PCV for visibility, they were retailed in London and in the regional stores in towns like Manchester. This example was bought by a young man living at Sale who saw the promotional photographs in Vogue, where the jackets were "modelled" by building workers in exaggerated poses (see below). Liberty & Co opened their celebrated London store as early as 1875, selling an increasing stock of "artistic" and "exotic" products for interior design, such as carpets, ceramics and furniture, but also shawls and jewellery. Often imported directly from India, China or Japan, these objects helped to set a late nineteenth century style for all things eastern and "oriental". In the twentieth century, more emphasis has been placed on fabrics and embroideries, and sometimes on fashion.

Object Name

coat & donkey jacket

Creators Name

Liberty & Co

Date Created



Length: 85cm

accession number


Collection Group


Place of creation




© Manchester Art Gallery

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