In-store Stylist Appointment

The History of Barbour


From creating one of the most iconic jackets in the world, Barbour have easily made their name through the sheer quality of their products and designs. The coats have always graced their own press from celebrities to royalty. Barbour has always been adopted by everyone from all over the world but how it’s worn, that is the #barbourwayoflife. All the way from dressing the North East’s fishermen in 1894, the company has continued to evolve and innovate to lead the way for flawless garments. With practicality always in mind, we delve into the history behind the icons.

Where The Iconic Wax Jacket Began 

The Barbour story is one of true heritage, craftsmanship and nothing less than iconic. Interestingly, the Barbour we all know today has come a long way from when it all started in 1894. Although Barbour continues to source and design products from around the globe, Barbour's classic wax jackets are still crafted by hand in the factory in Simonside, where it all began. Year after year, Barbour continues to adapt, innovate and conquer. However, one that has always remained the same throughout their history and future plans is their strong core values. At the heart of their production is the fact that the company is a family business. The overall aim of the company is to bring wit, grit and glamour to beautifully functional clothing. Throughout the years, the principles of their design have remained the same and this is a true testament to their success. Synonymous with the British countryside, the Barbour wax jacket is instantly recognisable and respected.  By 1908, Malcolm Barbour created the very first mail order catalogue. This catalogue was a huge success and by 1917, this catalogue had generated and accounted for 75% of all of Barbour's sales. The catalogue also became popular internationally with orders coming from Chile to Hong Kong! Throughout the years the company continued to create garments of quality and exceptional design.


Each jacket also has a story behind it, which has resonated with the wearers and ultimately as to why the jackets such as the Bedale are such icons. In 1980, Barbour produced their first short, lightweight jacket, the Bedale. Originally designed for riding, the Bedale is favoured by many Britons, from royalty to pop icons. Dame Margaret Barbour was behind the design. She set out to create a jacket with equestrian practicalities in mind, with a shorter length, relaxed fit, rear vents and the essential Nylon inner 'drip-strip' that provided resistance to damp from horses seeping into the jacket. The jacket has since evolved into an icon. Dame Margaret Barbour also created the Beaufort in 83'. This jacket was inspired by  French shooting jackets, the Beaufort is a shorter length than traditional jackets, and carries a large rear pocket lined with wipe-clean Nylon. While older Beauforts carry the Dress Gordon tartan, the modern Beaufort is lined with the Classic Barbour tartan, which is based on the tartan sett from the Barbour family's original home county of Ayrshire.


The Story of The Bedale Jacket & Barbour International

Not a company to stop at the point of success, Duncan Barbour, himself a keen motorcyclist introduced a motorcycling range which quickly took off and Barbour suits were worn by virtually every British International team from 1936 to 1977. Barbour International paved the way for Motorcycling clothing and future designs for the company. Today, a separate brand, Barbour International celebrates its rich motorcycling heritage and history. Men’s and women’s collections are inspired by the iconic biker look.  Styles and designs have been replicated in different contemporary fabrics alongside the original wax cotton introducing a whole new generation to this iconic style. The 80’s also saw some monumental brand moves, from the creation of the iconic lightweight thornproof short jacket Bedale to the first glimpse of the black and gold Barbour International badge at the sleeve. By 82’, the brand was even recognised by Her Majesty and was given a Royal Warrant (A Royal Warrant of Appointment is granted as a mark of recognition to people or companies who have regularly supplied goods or services to HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh or HRH The Prince of Wales or their Households. The Monarch decides who may grant a Royal Warrant). With recognition from all over the world, the silhouette Beaufort was created by Margaret Barbour - Arguably, even today this is classed as one of their finest designs. By 94’ Barbour celebrated 100 years in the game! 


Barbour International Union Jacket

The distinctive Barbour Jacket based upon Barbour Heritage motorcycling jackets from the 1930's, the Internal Union Jacked Waxed  jacket continues to inspire packed full of timeless, rugged aesthetics. Highly sought after with the Union Jack lining acting as a statement within it's own right this black iteration features in a 6oz Thornproof waxed cotton outer shell for durable protection with a smooth and lustrous finish. Fully prepared for seasonal weather the jacket comes with a warming and comfortable corduroy-lined collar whilst the basic silhouette is made up of a two way zip closure concealed by and a robust studded storm fly front and an adjustable belt to the waist. Detailed with four pockets to the front, one internal zipped pocket, air vents under arm and button adjustable cuffs, Barbour International and Union Jack branding appears to both chest pockets to complete the makeup.

Barbour Gold Standard

“Barbour Gold Standard is the most elevated of all of our menswear collections. It features a range of very thoughtfully designed jackets celebrating iconic pieces from our archives, which will be sold through high-end retailers worldwide.”

Barbour have gone on to create branches off their brand that are still providing that high quality, long lasting and classic attire. Here at Stuarts London, we have the latest Gold Label men's collection online and in-store. The Gold Label takes inspiration from the vast Barbour archives. The Barbour gold label collection consists of ten silhouettes that all mirror the sheer genius of design, quality of material and exceptional craftsmanship. Each coat still designed and crafted in their South Shields HQ, uses archival patterns. However, with the Gold Label collection, it has been recrafted in a robust, hard wearing waxed cotton with the addition of quilted fabrics. 



You Will Need:

Wax | Pan/Bowl | Hot Water | Sponge | Hairdryer (optional)

Step 1 | Clean your jacket...

Clean the jacket using cold water and a sponge to wipe down the outside of the jacket. Avoid using hot water, any kind of soap and NEVER put the jacket in the washing machine, as this will remove the wax coating permanently and the jacket cannot be re-waxed.

Step 2 | Soften the wax...

Take a tin of Barbour Wax Thornproof dressing. Remove the lid, stand the tin of dressing in a container of water hot enough to soften the wax. It should take approximately 20 minutes to melt the wax into a liquid consistency.

Step 3 | Wax your jacket...

Using an old cloth or sponge, work the melted wax well into the jacket paying particular attention to seams, creases and dry patches. Wipe off any excess wax. You should keep the wax tin in the hot water while working in order to keep the wax softened. If the wax begins to harden top the container with more hot water. Ensure you keep the wax away from the corduroy collar, the inside of the jacket and inside of the pockets.

Step 4 | Dry your jacket...

To ensure you get an extra smooth finish on your re-waxing, blow over the jacket with a hair dryer to even the spread of wax. Remember not to do this too closely, as it may heat up the wax too much, causing it to run.

Step 5 | Re-wax your jacket once a year...

Once you've re-waxed the jacket, hang it up. Allow to dry overnight in a warm place away from other garments. Be aware the jacket may lose excess wax for a short while so take care not to get your newly waxed jacket near leather or upholstery.