Few raincoats are more reliable than a Mackintosh. Brand founder Charles Macintosh created the world's first waterproof fabric in 1823, when he bonded layers of cloth with a rubber solution. The method is still used today in a Scottish factory where Mackintosh craftspeople (who endure a three-year apprenticeship) construct each piece, sealing interior seams with glue applied by hand. In addition to supplying Louis Vuitton and Hermès, Mackintosh opened its first stand-alone store in London this January, showcasing its own designs, like the men's Clisham ($980). "Owning a Mackintosh is much like owning a Savile Row suit," says brand manager Gary Bott. "It's an investment piece for any wardrobe." mackintosh-uk.com
A version of this article appeared in the April 2011 issue of Fast Company magazine.