If you asked me to pick a brand that was ‘quintessentially British’ there is one in particular that springs to mind and that’s Barbour (although I have to admit, this weeks heavy rain may also have had something to do with it).
With 3 royal warrants to their name, they are the very definition of a British Luxury Heritage Brand and there appeal is both broad and global. Their iconic-waxed jackets are a wardrobe staple for many, from the country set, to the fashionista’s festival essential and everyone in between.
As to Barbour’s Heritage, it goes way back, J Barbour & Sons was founded back in 1894 by John Barbour in the Market Place, South Shields and was an importer of oil-cloth. Through the generations that followed, the brand would become the iconic originator of waxed cotton motorcycling suits and jackets and today Barbour is a 5th generation family owned business, with over 120 years of experience under its waxed cotton belt!
Their appeal is truly global and in addition to Barbour’s 10 dedicated stores in the UK they have a presence in over 40 countries worldwide. Yes, Barbour has certainly made its mark as a British Heritage brand on a truly global scale.
In 1916 Barbour moved its headquarters to Wimbledon, London and this is where the brand resided until 1981, at which time it relocated back to its native South Shields, returning to its Northern routes.
In 1934 Barbour first introduced its motorcycling range, with almost all the British International team wearing Barbour suits from 1936 and in 1964, the legendary Steve McQueen wore the Barbour International as a member of the US team in the International Six Day Trails. Does it get any more iconic? Read on!
Barbour received its first Royal Warrant from the Duke of Edinburgh in 1974 and went onto receive a second in 1982, from Her Majesty the Queen. Then in 1988, if two wasn’t enough, they received a third from HRH the Prince of Wales. Yes, the Royals trips to Balmoral have certainly become epitomised by those iconic Barbour waxed jackets and the odd headscarf or two!
In 1980, the brand introduced the iconic black and yellow ‘international’ logo on its International motorcycling jacket and which success continues today with a now very extensive collection.
Today Barbour remains at its location in Simonside, South Shields and although much of there range is produced further afield, some of its classic wax jackets are still manufactured by hand in the North East of England.
And Barbour’s appeal continues to go from strength to strength. Gracing the shoulders of the British fashion, Brit Pop and sporting elite, from Alexa Chung, to David & Brooklyn Beckham and to 007 himself in Skyfall. Yes, Barbour has certainly bridged the gap from country essential, to festival staple, to waxed jacket icon.
And it doesn’t stop there; celebrating its heritage Barbour introduced its ‘Steve McQueen’ collection in 2016 and a series of high profile collaborations in resent years, including this years with White Mountaineering, have certainly secured Barbours position on the fashion landscape.
Yes, buying Barbour, is not only buying into a piece of our great British heritage, it’s an investment that will stand the test of time. So with the summer holidays drawing to a close, how about a little retail therapy as a guaranteed pick me up? And with autumn approaching, a little too fast I might add, what better investment than Barbour? A truly brilliant British Product and a staple for any wardrobe and a weekend essential, so what are you waiting for?