Before Gary Newbold was the founder of outerwear company English Utopia, based in North Yorkshire, he was the lead designer at Barbour. And before that he was a professional cyclist, living in France and competing for the British national cycling team. But before any of that he was a student of Early Modern History at the University of York, and it’s from this time in his life that he draws his inspiration for English Utopia. At the University of York, Newbold studied the writings of A. L. Morton, Christopher Hill, Eric Hobsbawm, and other historians who documented the aspirational dreams of English commoners in that matinal era between the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Modern era. Dreams of a just “commonwealth,” where the land was held not by a few lords, but by the many, and where every man was his own master.
For Newbold, this is what the English countryside is all about. A place for anyone to find the peace and the solitude--or community--they seek. A place right down the road, even for city-dwellers. Rather than contriving a name that spoke to inauthentic heritage—say Smith & Jones—Newbold wanted one that got at this promise of the British countryside. The title from one of A. L. Morton’s histories did nicely.
With the country coat we’re stocking this season from English Utopia you too can be one step closer to the idyllic English countryside. In a brown check wool with quilted lining and suede details, you’ll stay stylish and warm. Available in the store and on our website.
See you soon,