Let’s rewind to 2006: Google buys Youtube, Pluto is now a ‘dwarf planet’, and a Freddo costs just 10p (those were the days.) But 2006 also marked the creation of Parajumpers.
Intent on designing highly technical outerwear, Massimo Rossetti launched the first collection which consisted of only a handful of styles. From this humble beginning, Parajumpers has evolved from a mere clothing brand into a whole way of life.
Those familiar with the Italian designer know that he finds inspiration in the most unlikely places and Parajumpers is no different. It was a chance meeting with a member of the 210th Rescue Squadron in a gritty bar in Alaska which set the cogs in motion.
The 210th Rescue Squadron (AKA: PJs or Parajumpers) trains harder than any other military corps, prepared for rescues and recoveries in the wildest, most remote corners of the planet. The Squadron travels all around the world to save people and these operations mostly go unnoticed by civilians.
Namely, these heroes are the definition of courage and use their skills and knowledge to save countless lives. In other words, the entire brand was inspired by the Parajumpers themselves.
So, when Rossetti needed ideas, he looked no further than the image of a Parajumper. Rossetti decided to pay tribute to the Parajumpers and combined his love for adventurous travel with his love of fashion. Alongside Rossetti’s meeting with a Parajumper, he had also seen a backpack on his travels which, in his own words, he was ‘crazy’ about. Constructed from nylon with multiple zips and hooks, this backpack influenced the hardware which is synonymous with the Parajumpers brand.
The use of such hardware revolutionised the image of outerwear. Rossetti himself described Parajumpers as ‘a guiding light’ by blending fashion with highly technical components to create an unconventional style.
Rossetti, along with collaborators, has successfully designed garments which are both functional and good looking, always aiming to create clothes which are more fashionable than military. From the beginning, it was clear that all Parajumpers items were built to last and were never going to be seasonal trend pieces.
All the unique hardware is inspired by elements of search and rescue. In fact, a fireman’s jacket (which was, in Rossetti’s opinion, ‘wonderful even if complicated’) with a pocket large enough to hold a helmet inspired the oversized cargo pocket and the large removable metal hook found on most Parajumpers jackets, defining the brand’s image, comes from a quick release parachutist hook.
Moreover, the signature yellow tab found on the hooks and zippers is designed to act as a signal, allowing you to find your jacket, no matter what difficult situation you may be in. It is unique yet practical features such as these which set Parajumpers apart from other outerwear brands.
Since 2006, Parajumpers has expanded to include knitwear, from crew neck jumpers to full zip hoodies. Some styles even incorporate features typically found on jackets such as quilted panels. However, the knitwear collection was inspired by garments Rossetti found in Canada and Alaska which were heavy to the point they were almost unwearable.
So, Rossetti made jumpers which are similar but ultimately softer, garments which are more comfortable and more pleasant to touch.
Parajumpers’ admiration of the 210th Rescue Squadron is as unwavering as it was in 2006 and the brand is still committed to producing functional yet fashionable clothes. It is a true testament to Rosetti’s ethos as a person and designer, best demonstrated through the real Parajumpers’ motto and the brand’s slogan: That Others May Live.
Written by Rachel Glass