John Field, the Belgian technical clothing brand, is starting to make a name for itself in the UK. We find out more about the company and its plans.
John Field was first established in 1965 to provide riding clothing for the equestrian market. Owned by the Seyntex Group, the brand was relaunched and reinvented in 2011 under the ownership of Maureen Saynaeve, great granddaughter of Arthur Seynaeve, who founded Seyntex in 1908. Today Seyntex employs some 130 people at its headquarters in Belgium where it has administration offices, warehouses, a fabric laboratory, a shooting range, warehouses and showrooms. Manufacture of Seyntex products takes place at factories in Eastern Europe and Asia, with all of the John Field range being manufactured in Romania.
The original Seyntex company was located in an area of Belgium renowned for the production of flax, the company’s first product, and over time established a lucrative business making canvas for tents and for military trucks, going on to make garments for the military, police and firefighters. In 1968 Seyntex bought John Field, a company founded in 1965 by a Brussels based businessman to make equestrian clothing.
The interest in John Field was originally personal; Maureen’s father and uncle were both professional showjumpers at an international level and wanted to create a range of technical riding clothing, which they went on to launch in 1970. In the 1980s the company started producing the Aircoatflex range of breathable, light and strong foul weather clothing and 10 years later moved into the fishing, shooting and outdoor market with the focus on producing high performance garments.
Today the complete John Field range is designed by Maureen and manufactured using Seyntex’s own technical fabrics. Each product is designed for a specific purpose with materials being selected accordingly and eco-friendly materials used wherever possible. Quality is key with the focus combining performance, durability, comfort and inventive features with elegance and a stylish look.
Design inspiration comes from Maureen’s own experiences in the field with improvements being made to each product each time it is produced, based on customer and retailer feedback. “Our bestselling raincoat for example is improved on year after year based on specific feedback, which is vital,” she explains. “We also produce products based on demand; our sales team in France was often asked for a reversible shoulder cape so I designed one and it is now very popular. It does make me very happy when I go to a customer and say ‘here is the product you asked for last year’.”