The triumph of the Barbour jacket

J. Barbour & Sons Ltd. is an English luxury fashion brand founded by John Barbour in 1894, that designs, manufactures and markets weatherproofed outerwear, ready-to-wear, leather goods, shoes and accessories for men, women and children under the Barbour brand.

It remains a mystery why, when and how was made the first 'Barbour jacket' (company's waxed cotton jacket). Obviously John was pretty humble and he didn't realize that the foundation of his company will become a remarkable date in clothing history. Most probably he has just decided somehow to create a waterproof jacket and everything else just happened, not as a product of one's self confidence.

The triumph of the Barbour jacket

The oldest still existing catalog of the company is from 1908. On the back cover there is a picture of a man dressed in a long hooded coat. The text describes this 'special light-weight coat' as 'ideal for yachting, fishing, driving, boating, walking and shooting'. In the background you can see Barbour's onetime symbol - the famed beacon brand oilskins.

Hardly in the 1920s the name Barbour went to the forefront. Obviously the family than owns the brand since the beginning till nowadays stays in the shadows, although we know that there are many customers, who would be happy to take a look at their family's photo album.

Surely this family doesn't differ significantly from other English families, except that Barbour jacket that the great-grandfather wore, was designed by himself.

J. Barbour and Sons Ltd. holds royal warrants to supply 'waterproof and protective clothing' from Queen Elizabeth II in 1974, the Duke of Edinburgh in 1982, and Charles, Prince of Wales in 1987. The Royal family's preferences to this brand is not an exaggeration. There is no member of the Royal family, who doesn't wear the legendary jacket on at least one picture. These photographs, which are touring the world, make any other expensive advertising campaign unnecessary for Barbour.

This phenomenon is a convincing proof that one product could be sold with no advertising, when it has a long decades of history behind.

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Tags:Barbour jacket, waterproof outerwear, Barbour, mens jacket, waxed cotton jacket, Royal family

About the Author


Dandy is a writer and fashion critic. He is the perfect connoisseur of the Dandy style and the fashion ambassador of Be Global Fashion Network. He has his own column called "Fashion Police" in which he comments on the style of men.

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