Afghan coat

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Meher Baba in an Afghan coat, Quetta, 1923

An Afghan coat is a sheepskin or goatskin coat[1] made with the fleece on the inside and the soft suede-like leather on the outside. It is a development of the traditional overcoat of the Afghans, called the Pashtuns, which could be anywhere from jacket- to ankle-length, with full or partial sleeves.

Modern Afghan coats originate from Ghazni province, situated between Kabul and Kandahar. The coats were made from sheepskins that were fully cured and tanned, colourful and finely embroidered with silk thread. They were first imported to the UK in 1966 by Craig Sams, who sold them through hippie boutiques including Granny Takes a Trip on London's King's Road. The Beatles visited the shop and emerged wearing the coats. Photographs of them in Afghan coats appeared in print media. They also wore them, inside out, for the cover picture of the Magical Mystery Tour LP. Demand took off and the artisanal makers of Ghazni could not keep up. Crude imitations from Iran and Turkey flooded the market. These coarsely embroidered and poorly cured imitations gave the 'Afghan Coat' its undeserved reputation for smelliness. John Lennon's coat is now in the Julian Lennon Collection.[2]

Imitations of the original design continued to be very popular in the 1970s and 1980s particularly associated with the hippie subculture.


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