Country Blog

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The History of Barbour

Few brands enjoy the position of representing not only their own products but also the entire market space that they sit within. When you see a 4 X 4 vehicle you call it a ‘Jeep’, when you clean your house you use a ‘Hoover’, not a vacuum cleaner and when you wear a stylish and high quality outdoor coat you call it a ‘Barbour jacket’.

Established in 1894, the prestigious Barbour brand represents over 100 years of commitment to style, design and quality in clothing for men, women and kids. Hailing from South Shields, J Barbour & Sons Ltd was started by John Barbour in the Market Place of the town. Originally started as a supplier of Oilskins the brand has gone on to become one of the most respected names in quality outdoor clothing. Comprising of a wide range of clothing types the Barbour style has been epitomised by the iconic jacket designs that have become so recognisable in the fashion industry.

1974 saw the opening of the first Barbour clothing manufacturing plant called the Simonside Factory. Allowing the company to produce the distinctive Barbour clothing, the factory remains the home of the Barbour brand. Barbour’s classic wax jackets are still hand-made at the Simonside Factory and Barbour’s local operations process over 100,000 jackets each year!

Perhaps the finest achievement for Barbour in their long history comes with the three royal warrants they have received. Appointed in 1974 by the Duke of Edinburgh, then in 1982 by Her Majesty the Queen and again in the 1987 by the Prince of Wales, Barbour is the official supplier of “outdoor waterproof wear” to the members of the royal family. The appointment saw the Barbour brand join an exclusive collection of companies that are officially appointed to supply products to the royal family of Great Britain and is a clear indicator of the quality and workmanship that has become associated with the historic Barbour brand.

Another landmark for the Barbour brand was the new Steve McQueen Collection that launched as part of the autumn / winter 2011 range to mark the 75th anniversary of the International jacket. The International jacket is perhaps one of Barbour’s most iconic contributions to the fashion world and it is fitting that the Steve McQueen collection was launched to “pay homage to one of the most famous wearers of the International jacket”. Needless to say, the Steve McQueen collection has proven extremely popular. 

Today, Barbour has a presence in 40 countries worldwide and has design collections that has seen the company collaborate with the likes of Japanese designer, Tokihito Yoshida on the Beacon Heritage range, British fashion designers, Anya Hindmarch and Alice Temperley and Lord James Percy, who helped Barbour to design the shooting range. The ability to attract such high profile names as collaborators is yet more evidence of the respected status that the Barbour brand holds.

Re-Wax Event Success

As part of our celebration of the history of Barbour, Shepherd & Woodward hosted its first official Barbour ‘re-wax’ event and we are happy to announce that it was a huge success! We wanted to take this opportunity to say a huge thank-you to everyone who attended and made it such a great day. Our plan is to host another re-wax event for Barbour fans in 2013, so watch this space!

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