125 Years of Barbour

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It started in 1894, John Barbour, a Scotsman with an entrepreneurial instinct, crossed the border and settled in South Shields on the North East coast, home to a burgeoning port on the River Tyne. Barbour quickly realised there was a market for waterproof clothing and began to sell oilskins, a type of waterproof full length coat, to the local mariners and dock workers, he’d found his niche.

Barbour’s success lead to him forming a special relationship with the British military and throughout the First World War and onwards, during times of war, the Barbour brand were key in creating weatherproof clothing for the armed forces.

The second generation of Barbour’s, Malcom, John’s son, helped expand the brands profile on a global scale. The introduction of the first Barbour mail order catalogue lead to orders from around the world including New Zealand, Chile and Hong Kong, putting Barbour firmly on the international map.

Secondly, Malcolm’s catalogue introduced the Beacon branding for the first time. The Beacon brand was named for the Beacon tower that stood at the mouth of the Tyne, this tied the Tyne and Barbour for life.

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Barbour continued to grow and the next innovation was brought about by the third generation of Barbour’s. Duncan, Malcolm’s son, a keen motorcyclist, developed the International brand. The first piece was a full motorcycle suit and was specifically for the 1936 International Six Day Trials event. This lead to Barbour International becoming the market leader in the world of motorcycle clothing.

The success of the International brand lead to a request from Captain Philips, the commander of the HM Ursula, who asked Barbour to modify the motorcycle suit in to a two piece for his submariners. Barbour duly obliged and the Ursula jacket was born, a style that is still in production today.

Barbour started to take its modern day shape in the mid 60’s with a fourth generation of Barbour’s. A second, John Barbour and his wife Margaret took the brand to new heights. Margaret, who is still the chair of the company is the proud holder of 3 royal warrants for the brand and designed some of the iconic silhouettes like the Bedale and Beaufort.

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Margaret, or Dame Margaret to give her here full title, along with her daughter, Helen, have steered the Barbour brand in to the modern day. They introduced the Barbour tartan, with the collaboration with tartan specialist, Kinloch Anderson, paying homage to the Barbour family heritage. The introduction of accessories, including the extensive dog range have changed the brand from a country lifestyle brand to the everyday fashion powerhouse that they currently are.

The icon collection is a take on the classic Barbour jackets, Bedale and Beaufort and celebrates the brand and family that have nurtured the brand, combining innovation whilst remaining true to the heritage. There is also an Icon jacket from Barbour International, encapsulating the International ethos with multiple pockets, an adjustable belt at the waist and specially branded silver buttons and zips.

The anniversary jackets feature a patented tartan lining, a commemorative patch giving you a background on the brand and beautiful gold branded buttons and zips, giving the jackets a unique feel.

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You can now shop the new Barbour, Barbour International and Barbour Beacon collections on our site now.

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