Mountain Style: British Outdoor Clothing 1953-2000

Writer and photographer duo Max Leonard and Henry Iddon have collaborated to create the first illustrated book celebrating the history, visual heritage and style evolution of British outdoor clothing, called ‘Mountain Style: British Outdoor Clothing 1953-2000’.

The book is scheduled for printing in September 2024, with the design and layout well underway. The project has been launched on Kickstarter to garner financial backing in order to complete the writing and design.

British mountaineering reached new hights on 29 May 1953 when an expedition made it to the summit of Mount Everest. The event brought hiking and outdoor activity to the fore and over the proceeding decades, outdoor clothing brands began to enter the mainstream and change beyond recognition.

The authors tell the history of waterproof clothing from cotton to PU-coated nylon to Gore-Tex and other systems, as well as down, pile and fleece which they call “innovations in how we kept warm”. It is a story of how outdoor clothing became a part of our cultural and social history.

The book features historic adverts, professional studio shots and archive pictures showing vintage outdoor clothing, including an actual down jacket that went to Everest in 1953. The partnership has worked with the Mountain Heritage Trust in the Lake District and the Scottish Mountain Heritage Collection to photograph their archives and tap their expertise. 

The vibrant 1980’s and 1990’s section of the book covers the explosion of colours which crossed over from the raves and mainstream to the hiking jackets that are still coveted today.

The book includes:

The limited edition of the book includes:

If you would like to get involved and donate to the Kickstarter campaign, there are several options with or without merchandise rewards. The larger your donation, the greater the value of merchandise you will receive, ie when you donate £45 you will receive a standard copy of the book. Be sure to sign up before the project closes on Friday June 21 2024.

About the authors

Henry Iddon is a photographer, artist and lifelong outdoors enthusiast whose publications include Spots of Time (The Wordsworth Trust, 2008), and whose work has been shown at Turner Contemporary, among other places.

Max Leonard has previously written books including A Cold Spell: A Human History of Ice (Bloomsbury 2023), Bunker Research (Isola Press, 2016) and Higher Calling: Cycling’s Obsession with Mountains (Yellow Jersey, 2017).

Max also runs Isola Press, an award-winning publisher of adventures in illustrated books. It focuses on place, space and culture, and specialises in working with forgotten archives, including the Rough-Stuff Fellowship Archive. Its books have been featured by the Guardian, the British Journal of Photography, the Face, Huck and many other places.