Tropical Cotton Poplin

Tropical Cotton Poplin

It’s fair to say that cotton poplin is pretty good stuff. Made with a tight, compact weave, it’s light and tough, with a smooth, crisp finish - in short, it’s perfect for using on summer gear.

Originating in Avignon, France back in the 15th century, the name poplin is actually a reference to the pope, as for a short stint in the 13th century, the ‘papal residence’ was in Avignon and not Rome. Over the last 500 or so years, poplin has been used for all sorts - from dresses to upholstery - but where it really stands out for us is in military design.

Palais des Papes
Palais des Papes, Avignon.

During WW2, with combat in the humid climate of the Pacific Theatre meaning that stiff and itchy woolen clothes were less than ideal, cotton poplin was the perfect alternative - and the cool, breathable fabric was used to make work-shirts and jackets (such as the US Army M-41 field jacket).

soldiers wearing the M41 jacket before the invasion of Normandy 1944
Soldiers wearing the M41 jacket before the invasion of Normandy (1944).

The damp, stuffy conditions of the Vietnam War also called for the lightweight, hard-wearing fabric - and olive drab poplin was a regular sight on US soldiers as they trudged through the dense jungle.

US soldiers
Moving through the Vietnamese jungle.

With that in mind, it made a lot of sense to use poplin on our Tropical Jacket. This versatile over-shirt takes direct inspiration from the poplin jungle jackets worn by the US Army during the Vietnam War, and features those trademark slanted bellows pockets and a subtle concealed button placket.

Stan Ray SS21 Tropical Jackets in Poplin
SS21 Tropical Jackets in olive, black, and khaki poplin.

And then there’s the Recreation Pants - a pair of breezy summer trousers which take their shape from vintage beach pants. As the name suggests, these are designed with a life of leisure in mind, whether that means hiking, biking or just putting your feet up.

Stan Ray SS21 Recreation Pants in navy, khaki, and warm grey poplin.
Recreation Pants in warm grey, khaki, and navy poplin.

Stan Ray SS21 Poplin Recreation pants

We also used our poplin to make the Recreation Shorts. No prizes for guessing what these are. Same drawstring/elasticated waist and general pocket configuration as the Rec Pants, but now available as shorts. These will get a lot of use when the sun comes out.

Stan Ray poplin Recreation shorts
Recreation Shorts in khaki poplin.

All our poplin pieces have been made with twin-needle felled seams (for a clean shape), and have been garment dyed. This gives the fabric real character - and adds a tasteful tonal look that we’re big fans of. 

Twin needle detail
Twin needle flat-fell seam detail.

It’s also worth pointing out that we didn’t use a softener in the wash process. This sounds like a strange thing to mention, but it means that the fabric has stayed nice and crisp. After all, that smooth texture is such a key feature of poplin, it’d be a shame to get rid of it.


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