1980s Faux Fur: The Mysterious Origin of the Donnybrook Coat

For those of you who came out to SWAPmaine Fall edition a few weeks ago – thank you! It was an incredible event with over 300 attendees – the SWAPmaine girls, volunteers and vendors made it an incredibly special event and we look forward to planning the Spring event – and perhaps a few other surprises before then!

The swap kept me busy, so I didn’t have much time to peruse the offerings. I only came away with one item; what I’m about to reveal is so amazing, so jaw-droppingly awful/lovely, it is difficult to put into words.

I reveal the Donnybrook Faces Coat:

Note: I will be wearing this as Cruella Deville for Halloween next year.

To start, donnybrook is an actual word that means a public quarrel or dispute. As in, “A donnybrook broke out at the clothing swap when the Donnybrook coat arrived.” NEW FAVORITE WORD.

Second, there is a hardcore band named Donnybrook from LA. You’re welcome.

Third, let’s talk about the Donnybrook fashion label. I cannot find any information on them besides the fact that they are Donnybrook Fashions, Ltd., a children and woman’s coat company founded in 1980 in New York. But there are plenty of Donnybrook coats being sold on etsy and eBay – here are a few samples I found:

THE SAME EXACT COAT I HAVE! This is going for $150 on etsy

Another Donnybrook on etsy
. This one I really like – it is a faux white fur jacket with floral trim

Then there’s this number currently being sold for $280 on eBay

I guess faux fur was their thing in the 1980s, which is cool, since the debate over fur really got crazy back then, with PETA all over the place and a public outcry over the wasteful and extravagant use of fur. Interestingly enough, fur made a comeback on the runway last year, so we’ll keep an eye on this trend to see where it goes. I’m glad I found this article, because I learned that an anti-fur activist tossed a dead raccoon on the plate of Anna Wintour (editor of Vogue) while she was having dinner at the Four Seasons – fun!

In conclusion, my research reveals that Donnybrook is pretty special and their coats are few and far between. I’m pretty sure they no longer exist, but they definitely pumped out coats in the 1980s. You can look for me at holiday cocktail parties this season sporting the Donnybrook faces coat and a manhattan.

I’ll end with a few more donnybrook references:

  • Donnybrook Fair, based in Ireland, is a full service high end food store.
  • Donnybrook is a “vintage-style” pub on the Lower East Side of New York – it looked cool, but they also play music on their website, which is one of my number one pet peeves.
  • Donnybrook Writing Academy in Denver. According to their website, they continue the tradition of a secret society formed in a Capitol Hill piano bar many years ago. “This society’s members would personally ignore all facets of reality: poverty, the twenty-first century, incompetence, decided lack of fame – for the preference of obvious and belligerent cultural superiority.”
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27 Responses to 1980s Faux Fur: The Mysterious Origin of the Donnybrook Coat

  1. A great new coat in your closet and a great new word in your vocabulary! Now that’s quite a find!

    • Linda says:

      I have the faces coat, also!!!!!! We originally got it for my daughter from Burlington Coat Factory but she has given it to me and I love it!! One time a few years ago we were trying to hail a taxi in NYC. I was wearing the coat. The driver kept staring but didn’t respond to our waves!! When he finally motioned us in he apologized and said he was staring at my coat as he had not seen another one like it in NYC!!!! So fun!!!

  2. i’m gonna donnybrook anyone that tries to outbit me on that cheetah coat on ebay!

  3. *outbid, not outbit. Though I do bite during a donnybrook.

  4. ha! this is awesome. i was googling donnybrook coats, because i was given one today and wanted to learn something about it, and ended up here. (glorious faces coat, by the way, that’s just stellar!) i now have a new favorite word too, along with a smashing new coat.

  5. Susannah says:

    I also love the Donnybrook Coasts, I have a 1980’s Donnybrook leopard coat, I bought it in a vintage store in Houston in about 1998. I have never seen the “faces” coat before, that one makes everyone look!

  6. Juanita says:

    The Crescent Store – in spokane was selling the Donnybrook label in the 40’s. Hope this link works for you. I have a couple Donny’s and was curious about the label, maker, etc. Wow your faces coat is superfantastic. Earlier today I was researching a real fur full length (believe racoon from 20’s or 30’s) coat labeled ‘Crescent Spokane’. Never imagined I would collide with The Crescent a 2nd time today. http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1338&dat=19480511&id=KdpXAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ofUDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5340,4190339

  7. Christine says:

    I have the Faces Jacket ! Like brand new !

  8. Christine says:

    If anyone is interested let me know !

  9. Tracy says:

    I just found the heart donny brook and i love it!!

  10. Hey, I found this very helpful. I am a 29 year old male from North Carolina. I was recently in a play based in the 1970’s. While sifting through the bins in the Asheville Goodwill for costume ideas I found the exact face faux fur Donnybrook coat you are wearing. The liner was mostly gone, and it was in serious need of cleaning. I was fortunate to have a friend to get it clean for me. It looks as good as the one you are wearing. I wanted to do some research on it, and found this. Thank-you, I am going to look awesome whenever the cold weather hits. I like that you said you were going to dress up like cruela deville, because I was singing that song as I was walking around in the coat.

  11. Angel Densmore says:

    I’ve got the white and black fur one with faces on it I really love it!

  12. Murphy says:

    I just bought a Donnybrook coat for $4.49 at Goodwill in Orlando,Fl and I am in love with it! I fell in love with the jacket as soon as I saw it! It is wool with black faux fur. It is just beautiful!

  13. B Gordon says:

    I just bought a DonnyBrook Opera Coat in Black Mink! Paid $42.99. Brand new. Never worn . Just love it. So glad to find information about DonnyBrook. I also have been looking for information and found your article soooo informative. Thanks, Austin, Texas

  14. Stephanie says:

    I just found a DonnyBrook Faces coat at my local Goodwill. $20.00. I almost cried when I found it. I love it so much.

  15. Gayle Pickard-Fishman says:

    I found one last week at my Salvation Army in decent condition for $10.00

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