Best of British // Barbour: the uniform of Hoxton Farmers and Alexa Chung. And the Royal Family. Yah?
April 1, 2012
Oh, we all know how I love a heritage brand (have I mentioned I work in menswear 7,896,467 times yet? Oh, I have. Soz) and you don’t get much more heritage than early 1900’s J Barbour & Sons Ltd’s oilskin clothing factories and warehouse men AKA a British Brand we love here at LB HQ.
Founded in Market Place, South Shields who KNEW that those wily Geordie Shore beginnings would give us one of the most iconic British names in style – from waxed farmer jackets to quilted city chic?
It was in 1908 that Barbour produced it’s first catalogue of all-terrain, weather proof outerwear. Now – shock horror – I’m not usually a fan of performance clothing; any item of clothing deemed genuinely useful, or *gulp* sensible leaves me covered in hives and reaching for a 75″ stiletto heel at once.
And it appears I’m not the only one, as Barbour the fashwan brand didn’t become truly acceptable until the eeeeiiighhhhttttiiiessss (sorry).
Yup, over 70 years later the Barbour jacket was propelled to iconic status with one very important image of a young, attractive couple, and their oh-so cute Jack Russell frolicking around in the country side that showed Barbour as a fashion item, not just a performance garment (fickle and susceptible to a pretty picture and a cute dog – us ? Never!) and thus the Sloane Ranger was born.
Most great menswear brands come from a heritage of military or work wear – with men being much more interested in a story; a heritage; a history behind the brand as opposed to us ninny-brained kitten headed females with our fancy fly-by-night trends.
HOWEVER *ahem* for a brand to last the test of time, it must be able to adapt. Not to shrug off it’s heritage but to understand it’s customer, and engage with new ones – and this is the key to Barbour’s success.
Barbour has embraced it’s recent adoption by the East London Shoreditch wankers -SORRY, Hoxton Farmers! – and far from shun it, they’ve incorporated this as a key component of the ever more relevant street-style scene, making the Babour jacket an essential item for festival goers and fashionistas alike *cue obligatory Alexa Chung picture*
This spring Barbour have taken it one step further and really given us girlies something of our own *hums here comes the girls x 95*) by not only giving their classic quilted and wax jackets a cutesy twist with a GORGEOUS Liberty print lining but also uber on-trend bright colour block colours that will stand you out from the festival mud like a glorious beacon of sunshine (even if you are face down in a puddle crying into your turbo cider).
I say, if it’s good enough for the queen (royal seal of approval, y’know, yah yah) then it’s good enough for me – and I’ve got my eye on at least three, plus a different dog to match each one. And a pink handled watering can. WHAT?! #eastendlandgirlwanker
Make like Alexa Chung and get your festival jacket sorted this season – head over to Barbour.com to shop the quilted, waxy goodness (or check out ASOS.com for the bee-yaw-tiful bright Liberty print styles).