Barbour, established in 1894, is a fifth generation family owned business still based in South Shields. British to the core, the 5th generation family owned business has a long history in designing, manufacturing and shipping worldwide, and adopting the unique values of the British countryside.
Originally started by John Barbour to create protective wear for fisherman, sailers and other seafaring types, in 1936, Duncan Barbour introduced the Barbour International, a one piece wax cotton suit. Developed for the 1936 International Six Day Trials (ISDT), it became so popular that it was worn by almost every British team right up to 1977. In 1964, the International was worn exclusively by the US ISDT team which included actor Steve McQueen.
An institution by itself in the fashion industry, their waxed-cotton jackets have become so well-known that some have come to refer to them as “Barbour jackets”, regardless of brand.
Moving beyond the stereotype of Range Rover, tweed and labrador, the brand’s waxed jackets now only account for 30 percent of Barbour’s sales by value.
The brand’s Design manager syas: “The North East of England is a cold, wet, grey place, but we love it. That said, it does come with certain demands.” Protective clothing might be one, which is why the area is also home to an icon of menswear: the waxed jacket.
The company’s chairman, Dame Margaret Barbour attests, a Barbour jacket lasts a lifetime. For that, Barbour recommends that jackets are re-waxed once a year for optimum lifespan, and the South Shields factory alone receives 13,000 per year to be repaired, re-proofed or altered.
The brand has created a new jacket lining and weekend bag using a photograph of all the miscellany found in pockets and linings over the years, including £120 in cash, sheeps’ tails, foxes’ teeth, a phial of monkey blood, love letters and the keys to St James’s Palace!
You probably won’t be needing one of these jackets while in Lisbon, but you can always take one back home!
Barbour brings some upscale men’s, women’s and children’s fashion to the trendy Príncipe Real neighbourhood.