Richard Igra’s grandfather may not have invented the umbrella, but the company that bears his name sure has perfected it. Founded in London, England in 1956 by mechanical engineer Arnold Fulton, Fulton Umbrellas started as a modest operation that has grown to become the gold standard in umbrellas and rainwear accessories. In fact, the company holds a Royal Warrant to Her Majesty The Queen of England and is the official umbrella supplier to the British Royal Family.
They remain a family business, owned and operated by successive generations with Richard Igra presiding over the Canadian Division. “Much of the brand’s success can be attributed to three things: fashion, quality, and attention to detail,” stated Igra at the launch of the spring/summer 2011 line at Toronto’s trendy Distillery District. Fulton was the first to commercialize the folding and automatic umbrellas that we see everywhere today. Their designers are based in the UK and frequent Paris and Milan during fashion week seeking inspiration and harmony with seasonal fashion industry trends.
The umbrellas don’t only look good, they are durable and lightweight made from state-of-the-art materials that contain almost no metal components. Igra takes pride in revealing that every handle, frame, and fabric is produced in-house leaving nothing to chance. “They are virtually indestructible,” he says and there is a lifetime warranty on every umbrella sold to back this.
With prices ranging from $19.99-$80.00, this season’s collection comes in a very affordable wide spectrum of patterns and colours for women, men, and children. Featured models for men this season include folding classics such as the Ambassador ($28) and City Strip ($40), stylish long umbrellas such as the Knightsbridge ($48) and Huntsman ($38), and for ‘more serious strollers’ there is the Commissioner ($48) and the Consul ($60). Golf umbrellas are big sellers for Fulton, with the Technoflex ($38) and the Stormshield ($48) featured for SS11. If you’re looking for something a bit more 10 Downing Street, you might want to try Fulton’s Minister ($80). It’s dubbed their ‘ultimate men’s umbrella’ and is available in classic black, featuring a fine Italian leather handle with hand-stitched detailing.
“If you need a new umbrella, you should buy the best, and the best is Fulton.” This was my sister’s advice six years ago and I’ve been a believer ever of the brand since. If there was one suggestion for Richard, albeit not the most feasible one, it would be for Fulton to offer some of the more exotic women’s Etro looking designs in the more rugged men’s umbrella so that we too can have an umbrella that we can turn into a statement piece. Fulton umbrellas are available at The Hudson’s Bay Company (The Bay), Sears, Ogilvy, Harry Rosen, Simon’s, Shoppers Drug Mart Beauty Boutiques, and many other independent retailers. Set aside enough time to browse through their vast collection because as I learned, it’s impossible to narrow down your selection to just one. For Fulton Canada SS11 event photos please visit the It’s All Style To Me Facebook Page.