Barbour are a household name in the jacket industry, delivering some of the best quality jackets for more than a century. Their most recognisable piece is not so much one of their products– even though they are very recognisable – but it’s their waxed cotton method in their production of jackets. The unique and complicated method has set Barbour apart from others, enabling them to be distinguishable to the consumer with it’s finishing, popular to the consumer because of it’s heritage inspired designs. What was once exclusive to the middle class who would want protecting from the elements, Barbour has developed into a high-end casual jacket worn by all. Their staple jackets are modified reproductions of yesteryear's military jackets and hunting garments, which is evident with Barbour coats, shirts, gilets and jumpers.
History of Barbour
Formed under the name J Barbour & Sons, the brand has had little transformation since it’s inception but has yet and is unlikely to be toppled as Britain’s best maker of Wax jackets. Established in 1894 in Simonside, South Shields on the outskirts of Newcastle, within two decades their brand had become internationally recognised with Barbour jackets and coats being ordered from as far away as Chile, South Africa and Hong Kong. The era of the motorcycle had a profound effect on all jacket manufacturers across the world. While Schott were creating leather jackets across the Atlantic, there was now a motorcycle-purposed counterpart in the UK with a men’s Barbour jacket now being manufactured for motorcycle riders. Whether it was the one-piece motorcycle suit of the 1930’s or the two-piece version in the 1940’s, Barbour never abandoned their now famous waxed cotton for leather. Barbour created other styles like a PVC motorcycle jacket during the 60’s but the waxed cotton was their cash cow and this was evident with the introduction of one of their signature jackets, the Beadle. Barbour's classic wax jackets are still manufactured by hand in their factory in Simonside and each year over 100,000 jackets are processed.
Products from Barbour
With the brand's heritage style becoming increasingly popular in contemporary fashion, Barbour have expanded from their typical consumer base to include a younger, urban consumer. Their name carries a lot of prestige, being a go-to for the autumn and winter months with a range of warm and high quality clothing. Barbour quilted jackets and gilets are just as popular in modern times as their waxed jackets, with the demand for their products being high. They have persevered with their originality and this is shown within their Ashby and Beadle jackets. While corduroy has gone through several hiatuses in the last twenty-five years, Barbour have not shied away from combining the fabric with their waxed cotton for several of their jackets to further perpetuate their Heritage look. Barbour’s jumpers and knitwear have become more prominent in recent times, with carefully woven products providing a great alternative and companion to their jackets.