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A Brief History of Barbour

By on December 17, 2013

Born in South Shields in the North East of England, Barbour has become synonymous with its world famous wax jackets. Founded in 1894 by John Barbour an oil cloth importer the company is now a 5th generation family owned business and is still at home in South Shields distributing their clothing throughout the world.

The retail jackets were produced in 1908 and sold through a fairly new concept, mail order catalogues, which by 1917 was generating 75% of their business with sales as far afield as Chile, South Africa and Hong Kong. The first incarnation of the wax jackets we now know were being sold to trawler men, dock workers and those working in harsh outdoor conditions.

Barbour Mail Order

It was the outbreak of the Second World War where the practicality of the Barbour product was relied upon on mass as British submariners were dressed in the Ursula foul weather suits a connection with British military that continued for Barbour into the Falklands War.

But it was the mid-80′s when Barbour started branding itself as a lifestyle brand with country landscapes a backdrop for advertising campaigns that people started taking notice. When the likes of Princess Diana, who was on the lips of everyone at this time was spotted wearing a Barbour jacket, sales rocketed and Barbour as a fashion brand was born.

Old Barbour advertising

Nowadays the brand has gone from strength to strength expanding its product range whilst having a heritage core that ensures it does not forget its past and it was even worn by Daniel Craig in the latest James Bond film, Skyfall establishing Barbour as a British institution.

Daniel Craig Barbour

Having opened a store in Paris and another in Cologne, Germany in 2010, this year Barbour opened their first Heritage Motorcycle Store in Piccadilly, London in which a large area is given over to their Steve McQueen range. This is the second Steve McQueen collection that culminates a real motorcycle inspiration at the basis of it, as McQueen himself took part in off-road races such as Mint 400 and the Elisnore Grand Prix. It is an association with motor racing that has been vast in Barbour’s history with all British International teams up to 1977 wearing the International Jacket, a multi-pocket and belted waxed jacket which has since been re-released.

McQueen

As the company continues to evolve you can find Cockney Rebel stocking the latest Barbour and Barbour Steve McQueen products so head over to the website cockneyrebelfashions.com.

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