Timeless Parkas from John Rich & Bros.

Woolrich John Rich & Bros.

The Parka Defined

Generally defined as a knee-length coat which will stand up to rigid temperatures thanks to its generous down filling and fur-lined hood, a water-resistant shell is often featured as an additional level of protection to keep out the rain, sleet or snow.

In the past, as far back as the 17th century, the word parka entered the English language referring to the animal skins worn by the inhabitants of the Aleutian Islands which are strung out between Alaska and Russia, stepping stones between the world’s two largest continents: Asia and America. Out on the streets today, the Parka is the iconic winter garment, associated with the Woolrich brand for countless reasons.

History of the Parka

History of the Parka

Back in the 1970’s, during the oil crisis, the U.S.A. decided to tap into the gigantic oilfield discovered off the northern coast of Alaska. The only way to gain easy access to those oil reserves was to build a pipeline to pump the oil 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay to the port of Valdez, southeast of Anchorage. 70,000 people worked to build that pipeline and specialized construction techniques were invented to overcome the natural obstacles and the harsh climate. Working between 70 and 84 hours per week, excellent benefits and wages, plus top quality food compensated for the tough conditions and month-long isolation which the workers had to accept. Only the very best equipment was reserved for those working on the pipeline. And that included clothing!

It was in 1972 that Woolrich introduced the Arctic Parka to clothe thousands of the workers living for months on end north of the Arctic Circle. Designed to withstand extreme conditions, this garment became the indispensable coat to protect from the wind, the rain, snow and average temperatures of 30°C below zero.

Then and Now

At very different latitudes, today’s requirements are not quite as critical, but the Arctic Parka enjoys a life of its own along the city sidewalks and out in the open air, whatever the season throws at you. Both men, women and kids around the world have warmed to this icon which appears to have all the qualities to resist changing times as well as changing weather conditions.

In nearly half a century, the Arctic Parka has undergone a number of changes to keep pace with shifting fashions. Alongside its unrivaled quality, its appeal lies in its subtle, yet accurate interpretation of contemporary taste. A garment whose primary purpose is functional – and in this aspect no one can deny its ability to accomplish that goal – also has to shape itself to a new context.

The Arctic Parka Today

Today’s Arctic Parka is made of 60/40 Ramar Cloth which is comprised 60% of double twisted cotton fiber and 40% of semi-dull, 70 denier Nylon. Water repellent and with a smooth Teflon® finish, it will stand up to tough conditions and last a lifetime. Every detail is given the same attention, from the YKK metal zip fastener to the detachable fur ruff which can be washed separately or simply left at home during mid-season use.

Men's Arctic Parka

Click here to shop all of the John Rich & Bros. parkas for men.

Women's Arctic Parka

Click here to shop all of the John Rich & Bros. parkas for women.


Woolrich and Fashion Illustrator Blair Breitenstein for FW15

To kick off New York Fashion Week, and in celebration of the brand’s 185th year anniversary, Woolrich teamed up with fashion illustrator Blair Breitenstein, more commonly referred to as @Blairz, for her interpretation of our women’s FW15 collection.

I’m very inspired by the Woolrich archival styles and the new FW15 collection . . . the textures in the fur and bold patterns (big plaid, small plaid, polka dot mink, quilting, mottled fur, solid fur, etc.) give me a lot of interesting materials to interpret. Through a dry brush technique and mixed media (pastel, acrylic paint and watercolor), I can give viewers dozens of textures to look at. Texture is one of my favorite attributes in a painting, which made me eager to take on this project. When illustrating, I believe in simple line-work and bold colors — Woolrich seems to be in line with these values. While choosing my subjects from the FW15 lookbook, I had the urge to touch the clothes; I hope my illustrations entice viewers to want to do the same.” – Blair Breitenstein

Check out the video below to learn more about Blair’s process:

Check out the slideshow below to see Blair’s work for Woolrich:

Blair Breitenstein has breathed life into some of the must-know names in fashion and beauty right now. Largely influenced by high fashion photography, Blair takes these fashion forward photos into a whole new realm of layered watercolors and messy smudged lines. Featuring luxury designers in most of her illustrations like Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Prada, Blair  transforms their designs into a personalized expression of them, almost as a response piece. Blair describes her process as spontaneous. She primarily uses water color and a small sketchbook. Her focus is to draw the viewer into this new quirky, abstract and chic world of fashion. She doesn’t use an eraser hoping to capture the spontaneity of her ideas.

Shop the products that inspired Blair’s collaboration with Woolrich:




Pack Up and Go: Mountains to Moab

Words by Amanda Ciesielczyk
Photos by Alison Vagnini

The Four Corners is our little secret. Shhh. Don’t tell anybody. Living here is truly a blessing. Head in any direction and, in just a few short hours, you can be camping deep in the San Juan Mountains, exploring the high desert of northern New Mexico, wandering through Cedar Mesa canyons, gazing at the scale of Monument Valley, or hitting Utah’s red rock amphitheaters. The paths you can choose are endless, and we make sure to explore our backyard at every opportunity.

So, with an incredible August weekend ahead of us, we packed up our old ‘73 FJ40 Land Cruiser and looped through the high country, then on to Moab adventures, enjoying the spectacular views and some good company along the way. Of course, our six-month old blue heeler, Reina, lives for weekends like these.

Afternoon in the wildflowers…

La Plata Mountains…

Mornings in Moab…

Alison Vagnini (@alisonvagnini).
Honest storytelling and connection is what Ali conveys through her photography. Based in the Rocky Mountains, Ali spends a lot of her time in the high country backcountry skiing and climbing on rocks.

Amanda Ciesielczyk of BoldBrew (@boldbrewteam).
Based in Southwest Colorado and lead by Adrian Goad and Amanda Ciesielczyk, BoldBrew is a creative shop dedicated to innovative partnerships, real people and real stories.

Shop the products featured in this post:

Horizon View Throw         Women's Waxed Heritage Jacket          Women's Twisted Rich Flannel Shirt

Civil War Artillery Blanket         Women's Twisted Rich Flannel Shirt          Women's Fallscape Lambs Wool Crew Sweater

Women's Ms. Malone Wool Bib Overalls         Men's Quilted Mill Wool Shirt Jac          Men's Rich Flannel Shirt

Men's Jacquard Flannel Shirt         Women's Down Rich Jacket          Women's Air Flannel Tunic Shirt


Red Flannel Hash Recipe

Words, pictures, and recipe by Cara Nicoletti

Even though it still feels like a bowl of soup when you walk out the door, the calendar now states that summer is pretty much over. We don’t have to despair, though, because fall means wrapping up in your warmest outdoor jackets and flannels. It means putting on your inside coat, too—making big hearty breakfasts to warm your stomach and keep you going throughout the day. This red flannel hash is inspired by Woolrich’s iconic buffalo check plaid—cozy and warm and full of deep reds, it will make you feel better about saying goodbye to the beach.


  • 1 1/2 pound fingerling potatoes
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped fine
  • 2 medium beets
  • 1 smoked ham hock, shredded, or 1 pound of bacon, cut into chunks (or corned beef or brisket – whatever you like)
  • 4 springs thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste


Peel your beets and cut them into 1/2 inch cubes. Place them in a steamer basket over boiling water and steam them until they’re tender (about 8-10 minutes). If you don’t have a steamer basket, you can place them in boiling water for about 5 minutes or until they yield to a form – they will lose some color but that’s okay. While your beats are steaming, peel and cube your potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. Melt the butter in a cast iron or heavy-bottomed skillet and add the minced garlic, shredded ham hock, and chopped onion and cook over low heat. Once your beats are steamed, add them to the skillet along with all of the potatoes and 4 sprigs of thyme. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring often. If you feel like the potatoes aren’t softening, put a lid over the skillet for 5 minutes – the steam with help them soften.

Now comes the part where you poach the eggs. People are always very scared of egg-poaching, but fear not, I’m here to tell you that it’s actually very easy. First, fill a sautee pan or skillet with water (I like to use these instead of a deep sauce pan because the egg doesn’t have as far to fall). Add 1/4 cup of vinegar (this helps the whites firm and adds a nice flavor to boot). Do not let your water come to a boil. To poach an egg, you want your water very hot, but not boiling or even simmering. You want it to be at that point where all of those bubbles are forming at the bottom of the pan and steam is rising from the surface. Crack your egg into a ramekin, and create a whirlpool in the water with a spoon. Gently lower your egg into the water, and let it cook for about 20 seconds. After 20 seconds you can start gently nudging the whites up around the yolk. If the egg is sticking to the bottom of the pan, just use a spatula to loosen it. Cook for about 3 minutes – the whites should look cooked but you should still be able to see the yolk wiggling around inside. Lift out with a slotted spoon, place on a paper towel to drain excess water, season with salt and pepper and serve on top of your red flannel hash!

Cara Nicoletti

Cara Nicoletti (@caranicolleti) is the author of Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way Through Great Books (Little, Brown & co). She is a butcher by trade and writes the literary food blog Yummy-books.com. She lives in Brooklyn, NY and would be lost without her Woolrich Yankee Buck Boots.

Shop the products that inspired this recipe:

Women's Buffalo Check Boyfriend Shirt         Women's Giant Buffalo Wool Coat         John Rich & Bros. Wool Check Scarf

Men's Quilted Mill Wool Shirt Jac         Woolrich Buffalo Check Thermos         Women's Mill Wool Popover Hooded Poncho


Rough Rider Throw         Men's Buffalo Check Wool Shirt         Women's Pemberton II Flannel Shirt Dress


People of Woolrich: Rob Stuart, Fabric Designer

It’s no secret that the Woolrich Mill boasts an extraordinary history as the longest continually running mill in the United States. Since 1830, our mill has served as the cornerstone of a deep and long-lasting commitment to producing premium American fabrics. Bales or raw wool still come in one end of the mill, and after a good deal of work, exit as superior fabric.

However, lesser known than the mill itself are the generations of talented and wonderful individuals who have worked with us over the years to produce the quality goods that you have come to know and enjoy. In our newest blog series, The People of Woolrich, we aim to provide a window into the lives of these amazing people.

Woolen fabric design is much more an art than a science. Working with a natural fiber to create a beautiful pattern is a complicated process that takes years of experience to learn and perfect. At the Woolrich Mill, Rob Stuart is the person responsible for designing and making sure that the wool coming off our looms is world class quality. Rob recently took a few minutes out of his busy day to talk to us about his role at Woolrich. Read the interview below.

How long have you been working with Woolrich, and how did you get your start with the company?

I was approached for the position, and have enjoyed it for more than 18 years.

What are your main responsibilities at the mill?

Arranging and coordinating all aspects of fabric design for both samples and production. Also, to access and maintain quality of fabric production from start to finish.

Would you talk us through a typical day at the mill?

A typical day would start by checking emails, reviewing priorities for the day, and coordinating and prioritizing ongoing projects, as well as new ones as the day progresses.

Some days, a lot of the time is spent visiting departments in the mill, and answering questions pertaining to production: yarn manufacturing (blends color, strengths, weights); weaving and loom set ups (includes checking the looms twice a day as fabric is woven); finishing (fulling, napping, shearing, decating); final inspection and requirements; and testing and requirements for both the Woolrich lab and outside testing.

Other days we are following up on inquiries, calling customers, or working with them in the mill to establish their requirements and meet their needs. This, in turn, provides opportunities to create new fabric designs.

What’s your favorite part about working at Woolrich?

Meeting customers, and taking on new projects. Hosting clients at the Woolrich Lodge and having them in the mill is an opportunity to get to know more about what they do and how they do it. This helps with working through their vision, and designing fabrics to their satisfaction. We help make up the recipe in the beginning, and, once designed, it’s monitored through all aspects of manufacturing. We have a diverse customer base, and it is gratifying to know that Woolrich fabric is being used in many products all over the world.

Woolrich is the longest continuously operating mill in the country. Do you feel a sense of pride in knowing that you’re a part of that?

Yes, of course. To be part of the heritage and history of Woolrich, and to have the knowledge and experience of the entire team working together to produce a quality product is a great thing.

The Woolrich mill is a vertical mill, which is special in that production starts with the wool fiber and ends with the finished fabric. My textile design education was a good preparation for all the aspects of fabric production. Designing is initiated either with a team within Woolrich, or with the customer, and then passed onto the production team. This team of sixty-five, most of whom have spent their lives making fabric, are the ones that get the job done.

Are there any exciting projects you’re working on that you’d like to share with us?

All projects have their excitement in that they are varied and end up in many different products. This includes apparel lines, or having fabrics as part of a designer’s collection, as well as fabric for blankets, shoes, upholstery, and reenactments to name a few.

Outside of designing wool for Woolrich, what are your other hobbies and interests? 

My other hobbies include photography, art, and painting…at one time on canvas, and now on furniture.