Barbour is a brand that personifies Britishness, providing jackets for the stereotypical British man for over 100 years where it has continually been a forerunner for mens fashion, most notable in its extensive collection of functional, stylish and durable jackets. It all began in 1894, where John Barbour opened their first store in the Market Place in South Shields, selling functional clothing to the local labourers who needed something that would last. It wasn’t long before Barbour became a success and by 1917 Barbour was receiving orders through its catalogue from places like Chile, South Africa and Hong Kong. A continued success was furthered in 1934, where Duncan Barbour, based on his personal interest in the sport, introduced a motorcycling range that was worn by almost every British International team. This adoption continued all the way through to 1957, where 97% of the competitors who took part in the Scottish 6 Day Motorcycling Event wore one of Barbour’s International jackets.
Barbour continued its exponential expansion and in 1974 it received its first Royal warrant from the Duke of Edinburgh to provide waterproof and protective clothing. Barbour is traditionally worn amongst many farmers, but it didn’t move into this area until 1980, where the Bedale, a thornproof riding jacket, was introduced. Shortly after, Barbour received a second warrant by order of her Majesty the Queen, making it an extremely prominent and distinctive force in the fashion world. In 1988 Barbour created its subsidiary in Germany, setting the foundations to make the brand an international name, which it can now boast, with a presence in over 40 countries worldwide.
With so many different ranges and options available in todays market, Barbour has managed to maintain a heritage look and feel to all of its lines that manage to maintain prominence even in todays market. Barbour stll operates in its original factory in Simonside, South Shields, reinforcing this traditional ethos that Barbour has enforced for so many years.
Over the years, Barbour has extended its collections to cover all walks of life, providing only the best for the likes of riders, hunters and farmers through their careful construction and material choice. Below are the different collections that Barbour currently offer:
Heritage – Focusing on indivudal, authentic clothing that maintains an essence of style throughout.
Lifestyle – A much more modern line, focusing on staple pieces to add to any mans wardrobe. True essential pieces with the likes of polos, shirts and jackets.
Classic – A traditional line that focuses on timeless, practical pieces that focus on Barbour’s rich heritage and archives
Barbour International – A range that focuses on Barbour’s iconic biking range, using iconic designs through season to season to provide practical, fashionable designs for the modern man
Something that instantly stands out about Barbour is its originality. Throughout the century it has been operating, Barbour have maintained a specific charisma and style that is seen throughout every collection consistently each season. Barbour jackets conform to Barbour’s idea that function can be mixed with style to create a fashionable yet practical jacket, which is exactly what Barbour jackets are. Countless awards that range from shooting communities to fashion heads show that Barbour manage to seamlessly merge function and practicality together, something that even the Royal Family has recognised, with an ongoing partnership that provides the likes of Her Majesty the Queen with Barbour jackets for the rainier days.
In the past decade, Barbour has gone through some what of a resurgence in popular culture. This shift in popularity can be attributed initially to various celebrities wearing Barbour to festivals such as Glastonbury. Their photograph appeared in magazines and television around the world, boosting the profile of the brand and giving its sales somewhat of a kickstart. This created somewhat of a ripple effect in the fashion market and more of the rich and famous were seen sporting the Heritage brand. The demand on the street for Barbour was insatiable and retailers couldn’t get their hands on enough of the brand with their waxed and quilted jackets seemingly worn on every street you walked down. Over the past couple of years, the demand for the quilt has subsided slightly and Barbour seem to have shifted their focus towards producing some different styles of jackets whilst maintaining that youthful but classic appearance. The Barbour Glanton jacket pictured below is one such example of some of the differing styles of lightweight jackets that they are creating now.
Barbour and celebrities
Barbour’s rich heritage was exemplified perfectly in the most recent James Bond film, “Skyfall”, where 007 (played by Daniel Craig) was provided with a special edition jacket that Barbour created, based on one of its classic designs. That particular Sporting Jacket was fetching bids of over £600 before it was even released to the public. A range of other male and female celebrities have been spotted wearing Barbour including the likes of Holly Willoughby, Alexa Chung, Steve Jones and Rupert Grint along with various members of the British Royal Family.
The following video from the Barbourofficial Youtube channel highlights the range.
Browse this seasons full range of Barbour clothing
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