It are not only the Scandinavian countries that know how to make quality raingear, also the French have their own brand for heavy-duty rainwear suitable for the fishing industry with Guy Cotten. This brand was established in 1964 when Guy Cotten started to produce fisherman’s gear made out of polyester lining covered with a PVC coating. Till that time sailors depended mostly on inflexible and fragile wax jackets so when this former salesman showed the sturdiness of his clothing by failing to put a knife through the material sales started to roll in. It was ten years later when the logo, which perfectly embodies the company, was introduced showing a little figure with its arms spread while wearing a yellow raincoat and yellow rain boots.
Most of the original rainwear produced by Guy Cotten is bright yellow out of safety reasons: when someone falls from a boat the clothing makes it easier to find the person back. And still today the bright yellow color, as shown in the logo, is the most iconic for this brand and a large part of the rainwear collection is available in yellow. Picture below from photo.geo.fr.
Easily the most famous product Guy Cotten produces is the Rosbras raincoat which has been in production since 1966. This coat has been popular for combining absolute waterproofness with the practical advantages of a coat. The coats are hand-made in France and individually numbered to guarantee quality. Since 1966 small changes have been made to the coat like the introduction of the “MAGIC” hood which does not limit your vision and adjustable elasticated cuffs to make this a practical coat for both walking and riding a bicycle.
While I was relatively unfamiliar with this brand until recently I must admit that this raincoat simply swept me off my feet as it combines heavy-duty PVC rainwear, which stays close to the origins of the brand, with fashionable details and daily practicality. While the coats are certainly not the cheapest on the market, they will stand the test of time and fashion. My preference goes to, of course, the yellow Rosbras raincoat which would be easy to combine with almost any daily casual outfit like tight jeans with sneakers, leggings with boots, or a pair of rain boots in case of really bad weather.
As mentioned in reviews of other brands I would not recommend combining brightly colored rainwear with a pair of rainboots in the same color as this will easily overpower your look, best stick to simple black rubber boots in that case (but pick fashionable rubber boots unlike the models in the picture above). The Rosbras rain coat is also available in blue and green but in my view these versions miss the essence of the Guy Cotten brand: stick to yellow as much as possible. The picture below, from PortFranc, which sell the Guy Cotten Rosbras jacket in Canada, shows how to combine the bright yellow with less assuming colors to highlight the contrast.
While the Rosbras raincoat is unisex, Guy Cotten also has the Hecate jacket for women which better accentuates the female shape while still staying close to the basics of Guy Cotten: yellow PVC. This coat is available in yellow, black with small yellow details, and red. The red one misses the point completely in my opinion, but both the yellow and black Hecate raincoat will give you an extremely fashionable look. Do make sure to try on this coat before purchasing as the belt around the waist is supposed to trim the coat down around the waist and buying it too tight will limit the hour glass effect you are going for.
Finally I would like to shine a bit of light on the rain pants Guy Cotten has. Naturally they have pants available closely matching the Rosbras jacket so you can wear it as a rain suit, but my interest mostly goes to the Armor trousers from their sailing range. The main reason to pick these bibs over regular rain pants would be fitting: the back of the trousers is elasticated meaning they will fit snug around your waist and the pants can be tightened with Velcro. This will make the overall look of the bib superior to the wider fitting of normal rain pants, and while they might be harder to take on and off the black zipper on the front will give an interesting look when worn with a raincoat that is not zipped up when weather changes for the better.
If you are really looking for something special that sticks out, you should take a look at the heavy-duty industrial range with the Hydro jacket and bibs or the x-trapper jacket and bibs. While it will be over the top to go all out on these products, I can imagine an experimental look by combining either the hydro bibs or the x-trapper bibs with the iconic Rosbras jacket, or even the Hecate coat, to add some other colors.
While Guy Cotten has much more clothing available, from other ranges of raingear like lighter raincoats, rain boots, and waterproof bags, to underwear and fleece wear, my interest in the products almost completely disappears when we go further away from their origins.
Update June 2019
It has been 8 months since writing the original blog post about Guy Cotten and in some way their products have been in my mind ever since; when going over other brands I automatically compared them to Guy Cotten, and when thinking about what to buy next it was always something yellow from Guy Cotten coming into my mind first. So to make a long story short: I have purchased a pair of yellow Guy Cotten Pouldo trousers and a red/yellow X-trapper raincoat. Needless to say I am extremely happy with these purchases and hope I can enjoy them for many rainy days to come.
Of course I will write much more about these products and you will be able to see more of them on my social media profiles. My plan is to write a full review of these two items which might be helpful for people considering buying these, or similar, products themselves. For now you will have to do with the picture above and below and wait till I have had the opportunity to fully enjoy the rainwear and put it to the test.