Donkey Jackets were originally made for the workers of the 19th century. Made from woolsack the Donkey Jacket was normally a dark colour, black or navy with leather shoulder panels and back. For night workers the panels would normally be a brighter colour like yellow or orange, and the company name was normally seen on the jackets. These were short jackets with hip pockets and were only worn in the United Kingdom.
This jacket bears a massive part in the history of clothing for manual workers and has been the stable uniform for council workers and was adopted in the 1970’s by the skinhead culture.
John Partridge is to thank for the invention of the Donkey Jacket in 1870 and then the Duffle Coat in 1890.
Today John Partridge is one of the biggest names in country clothing and attire and has retail outlets all over the world.
The Donkey Jacket is still worn by workers today, the jacket is thick and warm and also protects workers from dirt and grime. The leather shoulders not only protect the wearer from rain showers, and the coat from wearing down, but coloured panels make the wearer visible at night.
Top designers and high street stores have also produced their take on the traditional donkey jacket.
From Asos, A Child of A Jago offers this Donkey Linton Tweed Check Jackets offers the traditional Donkey Jacket with yellow or green checked sleeves.
Barbour offers a twist on the traditional design with this Dunsford Black Jacket.
Donkey Jackets are perfect for dirty work and winter, although you will find designer versions, I would not personally wear them as a fashion item, leave it to the workers, it actually looks good on them and says, I am a man and I am off to do some dirty manly work.