Autumn can be a notoriously difficult season to dress for; it’s not cold enough for thick woollens from head to toe, but foregoing layers can lead to you being caught short, especially when faced with our unpredictable British climate.

However, for AW13 both designers and high street retailers have turned to quilting in order to provide the perfect sartorial solution to this common problem.

We have already seen a meteoric rise in the popularity of quilted jackets over the past few years – think how saturated the traditional Barbour jacket and its high street replicas have become – but now it seems the textural effect is being applied to other types of clothing, and even accessories too.

It seems a logical progression; quilting not only helps keep you warm, it also adds a tactile dimension to any piece – providing it with a sense of depth and creating an interesting visual effect within any ensemble you choose to integrate it into.

The down-side of quilting is that it adds natural volume and can often ruin the clean lines you have tried so hard to create. But when used in moderation and applied in the correct way, current collections have shown that quilted pieces can work within a modern slim-fit aesthetic.

On The Runways

Funnily enough, the quilted clothing trend has been pushed before. Back in 2009, there was quite a public spat involving Dolce and Gabbana and Giorgio Armani when D&G sent a quirky pair of quilted trousers down their autumn/winter runway.

Giorgio publicly accused them of copying one of his own designs and since then, the notion of applying quilting to garments other than jackets has remained low-key – until now.

Key Show: Balmain AW13

Balmain applied quilting to a plethora of garments, from a leather jumpsuit with quilted leather sleeves and knee detailing, to a shawl neck quilted jumper in teal, to a cropped quilted biker jacket.

The fashion house also applied quilting to sweatshirts in both long and short-sleeved varieties, and included an impressive shawl neck quilted coat in black and metallic rust shades.

Furthermore, Balmain expertly combined technical fabrics (another emergent trend) with quilted panels to add to the futuristic effect created by the textural pattern:

Key Show: Thom Browne AW13

Although Thom Browne applied his version of quilting largely to jackets, rather than other forms of clothing, he put his own twist on these by steering clear of the stereotypical, cropped quilted bombers.

Instead, it was applied to longer, knee-length coats for an alternative, statement look.

Thom Browne commented that his use of quilting was influenced by Amish traditions, following his childhood growing up in Pennsylvania – demonstrating that inspiration for fashion collections can really be derived from anywhere:

Best Of The Rest

Other designers that utilised quilting within their collections included Patrick Ervell, who offered a quilted fleece sweatshirt in pure white; DKNY with their subtly quilted blazers in brown, black and grey; Tim Coppens with his collection of quilted shirts; and Lanvin with their unique take on the quilted sweater:

The Fashion Press

Even though you might assume that quilted clothing would generate healthy debate and become a controversial topic, the fashion press have wholeheartedly backed the trend.

Details magazine recently featured a piece on the increased use of quilting in menswear, highlighting examples as diverse as quilted pullovers, baseball caps and even Dr. Marten boots.

Similarly, The Guardian went on record saying their favourite sweatshirt from the AW13 shows was as a toss-up between the Calvin Klein sci-fi-inspired black quilted nylon crew and the Calvin Klein midnight blue quilted wool crew – both of which offer a feel of sports-tech minimalism for a progressive look:

Even F&F at Tesco have jumped on the quilted bandwagon, including items such as a quilted cropped bomber jacket within their superb new AW13 collection lookbook, which was recently championed by British GQ.

Modern Quilting Lookbook

The latest high street and designer campaigns have featured quilted attire prominently, with a strong focus on classic outerwear styles such as the field jacket, bomber and gilet.

Breaking away from tradition, quilted blazers, sweatshirts and even contrast quilted sleeves have also been spotted in AW13 lookbooks from HE By Mango, River Island and Tommy Hilfiger, respectively:

angelo nardelli aw12 massimo dutti september 2013 he by mango winter 2013 drykorn ss13 he by mango winter 2013 he by mango winter 2013 river island aw13 h&m aw13 tesco f&f aw13 bal aw13 tommy hilfiger aw13 Strellson sportswear aw13

The Current Market

Turning to the high street, the availability of quilted items – especially the quilted sweatshirt – is immediately obvious. Topman, Zara and River Island are all currently stocking a wealth of styles at competitive prices.

Similarly, these high street stores are also offering quilted sweatpants with cuffed ankles (a surprisingly popular choice), quilted backpacks and quilted long-sleeved shirts. River Island has even gone a step further by stocking quilted leather-effect gloves, and a quilted shirt in this season’s popular camouflage print.

For those of you with a bit more disposable cash, online retailers such as Mr Porter and Oki-Ni are demonstrating that premium designers are also backing the quilting trend. Mr Porter are stocking an A.P.C. lumberjack-style checked quilted shirt jacket, a Lanvin zig-zag quilted wool sweater and a midnight blue Burberry wool tuxedo blazer featuring a lightly quilted lining.

Whilst at Oki-Ni, you can pick up a subtly quilted Christopher Shannon long sleeve sweatshirt, a Stone Island Shadow Project quilted scarf and, for the really adventurous amongst you, a pair of J.W. Anderson navy quilted trousers.

Quilted Outerwear
  • Barbour Chelsea Sportsquilt Quilted Jacket Olive
  • Marni Quilted-front Felt Jacket 162862
  • Allsaints Host Bomber Jacket
  • Shore Leave Quilted Bomber Jacket In Navy
  • River Island Red Casual Quilted Patch Jacket
  • Aspesi Quilted Padded Bomber Jacket
  • He By Mango Quilted Peacoat
  • River Island Black Quilted Bomber Jacket
  • He By Mango Corduroy Collar Husky Jacket
  • He By Mango Herringbone Quilted Premium Parka
  • He By Mango Herringbone Husky Jacket
  • Belstaff Quilted Lightweight Jacket
Quilted Clothing & Accessories
  • Anerkjendt Mens Bobby Quilted Trackpants
  • Voi Quilted Overshirt
  • Thom Browne Men’s Grey Star Quilted Crewneck Sweatshirt
  • Easy Quilted Panel Cut And Sew T-shirt
  • Topman Blue Quilted Long Sleeve Shirt
  • Topman Ecru Marl Biker Panel Quilted Sweatshirt
  • River Island Dark Red T. Lipop Quilted Sweat Pants
  • River Island Black Quilted Leather Ri Popper Gloves
  • Topman Blue Quilted Jumper
  • Quilted Rucksack
  • River Island Ecru Quilted Colour Block Jumper
  • A.p.c. Check Quilted Wool Shirt
Final Word

It’s clear to see that the quilting trend has evolved for AW13. No longer restricted to just outerwear, everything from quilted clothing to quilted detailing and accessories are being pushed this year.

From a practical perspective, additional warmth is an obvious benefit, yet the textural effect also adds an extra dimension to any piece and will help give your outfits a real sense of depth.

Furthermore, some of the most popular and best-looking quilted pieces currently on the market maintain the double-lined look but tone down the padding and insulation, negating some of the natural bulkiness associated with quilting – fitting in perfectly with our current obsession with slim fits and clean lines.

As always, we want to know your thoughts and opinions on quilted clothing. Are you a fan of the trend? And do you see it as one that has true staying ability, or is it just a flash in the pan?

Let us know in the comments section below…