Facts About Barbour | ewmoda

5 Things You Didn't Know About Barbour

The world-famous British brand has a fascinating history

Posted on

12 August 2019

5 Things You Didn't Know About Barbour

All credits: PA

Beloved of royals, rock stars, city-dwellers and country bumpkins alike, the Barbour jacket is a universal style classic.

The forest green coat is instantly recognisable and has become a global phenomenon, but did you know Barbour didn’t actually invent the waxed cotton fabric?

The sturdy textile dates back to before the founding of the company, which celebrates its 125th anniversary this year.

In honour of the momentous milestone, here are five things you probably didn’t know about Barbour…

5 Things You Didn't Know About Barbour

1. It’s a family affair

J Barbour & Sons was founded in 1894 by John Barbour and is still family owned today, ownership having passed down through five generations.

Currently, Dame Margaret Barbour is chairman alongside daughter Helen Barbour, who is vice-chairman.

“My mother has been in the business 50 years, and I’ve grown up with the business,” Helen told Drapers earlier this year. “You get to know almost instinctively what’s the right thing to do for the business.”

2. We’ve got fishermen to thank for our weatherproof jackets

You might think Barbour is responsible for inventing waxed cotton, but that’s not actually the case. The company was founded in South Shields in the north east of England, home to a huge number of sailors, fishermen and dockyard workers, who needed sturdy, waterproof clothing.

Originally, Barbour clothing was made with oiled flax, the same heavy fabric used for boat sails, which eventually evolved into the lighter waxed cotton used today.

Want to identify a true vintage Barbour jacket? Smell it. Around 2005, the company removed the distinctive smelling cupro-ammonia from its paraffin wax.

3. Barbour holds three Royal Warrants

The famous waxed jackets have been worn by several generations of the royal family.

In 1974, Barbour received its first royal warrant from the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by its second from the Queen in 1982. Prince Charles followed suit in 1987.

4. Alexa Chung is the ultimate Barbour poster girl

A Barbour jacket has become the unofficial uniform of Glastonbury festival (which makes sense for such a weather-dependent event), with style icons Kate Moss and Alexa Chung seen backstage in their Bedale coats. Arctic Monkeys singer Alex Turner even wore one to perform on the Pyramid Stage in 2007.

Chung cemented her status as the ultimate Barbour babe earlier this year when her eponymous fashion label collaborated with the brand on an outerwear collection.

5. Barbour loves dogs

The company also caters to our four-legged friends, with a collection of wax dog coats and accessories.

More than 50% of customers are said to own a dog and the brand even has a dedicated Instagram account showcasing pooches in their Barbour finery, which has more than 51,000 followers.