Raincoat (Noun) ‘A waterproof or water-resistant coat worn to protect the body from rain.’ (Definition at Wikipedia).
If you buy a raincoat, you may reasonably expect it to keep out the rain. But you may be disappointed. Attention is drawn to the failings of raincoats in a recent Master of Philosophy thesis from Auckland University of Technology (AUT) entitled ‘Raincoat: a creative consideration of urban rainwear‘ in which author Linda Jones (Senior Lecturer in Fashion Design at the University) notes that :
“In general, in New Zealand, the consumer has available an assortment of garments that look like raincoats, but their function has often been marginalised in the pursuit of a place in the fashion market.”
And a comprehensive market review undertaken in NZ in 2008, pinpointed the anomaly.
“In summary, this market review confirmed what I had already deduced; I could not buy a raincoat that signified urbanitity and was also comfortable to wear. In addition, I could not buy a raincoat that would offer significant protection from the rain.”
A field trip to the UK also showed remarkable similarities :
“One could look good and get wet, look not so good and get wet, or stay dry and look as if one was about to engage in a decidedly masculinised outdoor ‘pursuit’.”
The author offers suggestions not just for consumers, but for manufacturers too :
“Until consumers becomes aware that they can wear an aesthetically stylish raincoat that will perform in wet weather without disappointment, there is no reason for designers to factor higher levels of functionality into their products. As long as consumers continue to buy garments that do not function as raincoats, their lack of design criticality and lack of insistence on integrity will enable poor design to continue. In producing this collection, I have sought through precedent to address this anomaly.”