Fishtail parka is a type of parka that has a ripped rim on the back. Today, the fishtail is purely aesthetic, but it wasn’t invented to spice up a design of a coat.
The history of the parka, like many other outer jackets, is related to the military. Through centuries soldiers were the people who needed functional, warm and weatherproof outerwear.
A Small Invention Created a Legend
Fishtail parka was invented during the Korean war (1950 - 1953). The harsh Korean winters called for a very warm army coat. The problem with a very long coat was that American soldiers couldn’t really move with a jacket that ends just above the knees.
The solution of cutting the back rim of the parka in two came naturally, it was a simple rip that enhances the freedom of movement. Also, the cords weren’t a special designer’s touch. The soldiers used them to tighten the jacket around their legs to trap more heat.
This is the story of how the famous parka was born. Of course, it wasn’t called a fishtail parka. This nickname was given to the M-51 model by the soldiers as it reminded them of a fishtail.
Like many other good nicknames, this one stayed with the parka.
The Mod Parka
In the 1960s the fishtail parka became the jacket of the mod subculture. The Mods, youngsters of the sixties had several things in common: the use of amphetamines, the Vespa scooter and the fishtail parka coat.
They chose the parka as it was a coat that perfectly protected their sleek suits underneath, plus, it was a much better choice as it offered more protection.
Like many subcultures of the 20th century, the mod one became mainstream after a while and the symbol of it, the fishtail parka, started to change.
Fishtail Parkas Today
The ripped rim of a parka today is a designer’s homage to the legendary model. It’s still used on longer models.
Of course, these parkas today come with a modern twist.