by Neil Summers
Now recognised on a global scale as a premium English sports and fashion brand, Barbour first came to the world’s attention via their iconic waxed cotton jackets. Prior to WWII Barbour was supplying oilskins and other outdoor garments to the surrounding North Eastern community of seamen, sailors and dockers to protect them from the treacherous North Sea weather. Though once their Ursula suit became standard issue for the Submarine service during the second world war their fame started to spread.
Already established as one of the leading suppliers of durable outdoor garments as well as being well-known for their innovation and high levels quality Barbour expanded its client base to a global audience. From landowners and farmers to buyers as far flung as South America and Asia the word was finally out that Barbour made some very impressive jackets.
During 1936 the first Barbour wax cotton International motorcycle jacket appeared and went on to be worn by almost every rider in the International Six Day Trials circuit from the 1950s through to the 1970s. With legendary film star Steve McQueen being just one of many famous faces to have sported this tough and iconic jacket.
Cut to the modern day and Barbour’s traditional jackets continue to be at the heart of the company where they’re currently produced at their 180 strong factory in South Shields. With three Royal warrants (the Duke of Edinburgh, Her Majesty the Queen and HRH the Prince of Wales) to their (globally recognised named) it perhaps no surprise that the order and process in which their factory works is second to none. With 36 people needed to make just one Barbour jacket from start to finish, each person being an essential part of the production process.
With approximately 50 styles of traditional wax jackets for men, women and children in production, the hand made pieces are produced like clock-work on a daily basis with a new garment being completed every three minutes. The South Shields factory produces approximately 3000 garments per week and 130,000 – 140,000 per year. They also have a world renowned re-waxing service, where each year approximately 13,000 Barbour jackets are lovingly repaired, reproofed or returned to their former glory.
With roots firmly in its heritage, the Barbour brand continues to grow and develop each year and provides a beacon for English craftsmanship and family values. The Sporting Lodge are proud to present the Barbour Autumn/Winter 2018 Barbour here.