While the “friesennerz raincoat” originally comes from Denmark, it is mostly popular in Germany where the name has become so commonplace that it can refer to the original raincoat from the sixties and seventies or almost any other yellow raincoat available today. A quick google search shows a wide range of yellow rainwear, some of which are close in design to the original raincoat while others only share the yellow color and nothing more.
It was Jan E. Ansteen Nielsson who started the Jeantex company (a combination of his initials plus “tex”) in 1958 in the small Danish town of Horve. From there he designed and produced rainwear for mainly the fishing industry; think heavy-duty raincoats, pants, and hats with a wide cut and in bright colors for safety. Over time the focus slowly moved to more general use of the rainwear he produced, partly due to his own enjoyment of cycling and the need to have proper raingear to overcome the local Danish weather. In 1965 he designed and produced the first Friesennerz raincoat.
The coat was made out of viscose with a layer of synthetic rubber to make it waterproof. Quite unique was that the coat was reversible, meaning you could also wear it “inside out”, basically giving you 2 different coats in one. The design was mainly practical with a large hood, big pockets, and a concealed zipper. The choice of material changed in 1985 when the synthetic rubber was replaced by a PVC coating; a choice that is easy to explain by the lower costs and greater durability. As can be seen in the picture above the rubber coating of the original jackets was especially vulnerable. Below the original friesennerz raincoat combined with a pair of Hunter rainboots: the combination of bright yellow and black works perfectly. Photo from www.sexyrainwear.com
The Friesennerz raincoat became tremendously popular in Germany and when the demand surpassed the production capacity in Horve the distribution, production, and design departments moved to the German city of Hamburg. The main reason for the popularity of the Friesennerz raincoat was a combination of a lack of competition of other brands offering trendy rainwear and the affordable price of only 20 German Marks in 1977. The coats were available in both yellow and orange but the orange coat never became popular as orange rainwear was often worn in the workplace. The bright yellow color became popular against all odds and could be seen everywhere on a rainy day. The simplicity of the raincoat might have been it attractiveness and what has made it stand the test of time. Below another image from sexyrainwear showing the beauty of the yellow in natural light.
The story of the Friesennerz shows much likeness with the story of Agu rainwear in the Netherlands. Both brands produced a new type of rainwear at around the same time, from similar materials, and they quickly grew out to iconic status due to a lack of direct competition. A main difference between the two is that while the Agu original rainwear is not available anymore nowadays, not in their iconic state at least, the Friesennerz is making a small comeback and still resembles their original raincoats relatively close. Below the friesennerz raincoat from the brand Modas which resembles the original friesennerz with PVC coating closely. This coat seems to be the most popular friesennerz raincoat currently available.
The website friesennerz.de tries to link the Modas raincoats even stronger to the nostalgic value of the original friesennerz by adding a custom logo and presenting the rainwear on their beautiful website. Below the special logo which was added to the raincoats.
Even outside of Germany (and Denmark) raincoats inspired by the friesennerz are available although the link with the history of the raincoat will be much less prominent. Below an illustration of a friesennerz inspired coat from the website Etsy nicely showing how the raincoat is reversible.
Another example is the raincoat shown below from Urban Outfitters, which is an American company selling almost worldwide. The characteristics of the original friesennerz are obvious, but most of the target audience will have never heard of the history of the friesennerz or its popularity in Germany.
With the popularity of Stutterheim raincoats, and a reintroduction of PVC coated rainwear that is fashionable and is something you want to be seen in, the friesennerz is making a small comeback in Germany. And while you maybe would expect it would be mostly people who have a history with the raincoat to buy a modern version of this coat, in reality there are tons of younger and fashionable people picking up this rainwear. Maybe as an alternative for the much more expensive Stutterheim rainwear, maybe for the rich history the friesennerz has in Germany, or maybe just because it is a beautiful yellow raincoat. Below one of many German instagram users who sports a yellow friesennerz as the raincoat of choice, over 50 years after the introduction of this coat. Photo by riddim_of_my_life on Instagram.
The friesennerz is supposed to be a bit oversized so keep this in mind when you try one out or plan on ordering one. If the sleeves are too long you can easily roll them up showing more of the blue lining of the coat. Combining the coat into an outfit is relatively easy as long as the bright yellow stays the focus of the outfit and no other bright colors try to distract. The only downside of the design is that little trim of blue sticking out at the bottom of the raincoat and the end of the sleeves as this makes it harder to combine with black pants or black gloves. Final picture from sexyrainwear which has a huge collection of friesennerz photos and videos available.
While I have no history with the friesennerz raincoat, I do see the attractiveness of the bright yellow color and how it shines in the light. It also makes me better understand the popularity of the Dutch Agu rainwear that has a similarly rich history and where the original rainwear is still much sought after. Below the simplicity of the friesennerz shown by Agnessedina on instagram.
Most of the information was in German so it could be very well possible I misunderstood or misinterpreted certain parts. In case you find something incorrect or if you have some nice pictures of friesennerz raincoats then please let me know and I will update. Any comments will be appreciated, or you can contact me directly by email (see contact information).