The Desert Rats of WWII were the inspiration for this season’s collection from Realm & Empire. For those not in the know the brand has exclusive rights to the Imperial War Museum’s archive of clothing and uniform. To give them their full title the desert rats are the 7th Armoured Division who saw action where they got their name in north Africa and went on to take part in the invasion of Italy and then also D-Day.
Bearing this in mind it’s little surprise that the collection features garments like a wind and shower resistant Sandstorm Smock inspired by a ground crew jacket. A Ghost Patrol workwear jacket with utility pockets and garment washed over shirts and a summer weight workwear style blazer are also standouts.
The collection brings the desert utilitarianism of the archive garments up to date with features such as iPad sized pockets, headphone holes built in to hoods and underarm ventilation. Each garment has a unique ID label with individual numbers for each garment. A graphic element is introduced through an escape map that was found sewn in to a beret is used alongside the XXX Corps, the Desert Rats and the LRDG Scorpion insignia.
The collection is available to shop here. Check out some of the brand's design notes and some nice stuff from the IWM archive below as well.