Paying tribute to “bleu de chauffe” work jacket worn by the rail workers at the turn of the 20th century, Bleu de Chaufffe has brought back to life this garment which is at the origin of its name by adapting it for the modern world, by creating a work jacket restyled and entirely made in France.
THE ORIGINS OF THE “BLEU DE TRAVAIL”
The “bleu de travail”, a work jacket from the industrial revolution is an iconic garment worn by workers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, whose origins many situate in France. Workers were provided with jackets made of thick, easy-care canvas whose resistance and comfort protected them from accidents caused by new machines and tools. The blue colour came from Prussian Blue discovered in the 18th century, a dye that was easy to use, inexpensive to produce, and well adapted to work clothes. Hence, the common name “bleu de travail” for the ensemble of clothing specifically dedicated to manual labour was established.
THE “BLEU DE TRAVAIL”: FROM THE WORLD OF LABOUR TO THE WORLD OF FASHION
The “bleu de travail” jacket remained the standard workers uniform until the 70s, yet is still worn by many manual labourers to this day. Historically made of moleskin or of cotton tweed, it is a straight-cut collared jacket with three patch pockets. Many contemporary work jackets specifically designed for manual labourers today are not made of 100% cotton, but rather have synthetic fibers added to the fabric to make the garment easier to care for and to lower the cost of production.
The success of the “bleu de travail” jacket was such that they became fashionable in their own right, independent of their original blue-collar workwear usage. Several other professions also adopted them as their uniform: farmers, fishermen, postmen… The “bleu de chauffe” is the work jacket worn by early 20th century rail workers who had to load the engines of steam locomotives with coal. The “bleu de travail” gradually became fashionable and was adopted in the middle of the 20th century by certain artists, such as painters and sculptures.
Adopted by students of the May 1968 protests as a sign of convergence with workers’ struggles, the “bleu de travail” has since been largely reinterpreted by many names in fashion. This timeless piece of clothing has since seen a range of styles and colours, tailored for all uses and all moments of contemporary life. For more than a decade, this timeless and much appreciated French work jacket has spread well beyond the borders of France. Its success is clearly undeniable.
THE “BLEU DE CHAUFFE” JACKET REDEFINED BY “BLEU DE CHAUFFE”
The conception of Bleu de Chauffe began with a simple idea: to reinterpret French work bags of the 20th century, creating them for the modern world while staying loyal to what made them unique and what gave them a soul as they aged: leathers and canvas of the highest quality produced entirely by French artisans.
Subsequently, it seemed only natural to expand our collection with the made in France work jacket, named after our origins, and the same legacy of French workwear of which we are the successors. While holding ourselves to the same high standards of production as for our bags, our Germinal jackets are entirely made in France with organic cotton moleskin spun and woven in France and whose tight weave makes it smooth to the touch, yet extremely resistant. The buttons are made of recycled vegetable resin.
Our “bleu de chauffe” Germinal has been restyled with more contemporary and elegant lines, while respecting the emblematic workwear codes that make this jacket unique: straight and loose-fitting cut, shirt collar, three patch pockets, an inside pocket (large enough to fit a Smartphone). It can be worn over a t-shirt, a long-sleeved shirt or even over a winter sweater. Its casual look makes it the ideal garment to wear every day, and elegant enough to be worn to work or as evening wear.
Our Germinal made in France work jacket is a timeless piece, a tribute to French heritage workwear, and a more simple and sustainable way of life.