Friday, 3 August 2012

Barbour Heritage | By Northern Threads

We have something special for you today, the first ever guest post on the ACM blog. It's by our new local mates at Northern Threads. They're as passionate as we are about clothing and the North East, so we thought it was only right to give the guys a slot on here to talk about that North East brand we both love dearly and is known all around the world, Barbour.

                                     Barbour Heritage by Northern Threads

British heritage brands are enjoying a bit of a golden age at the moment with many fashion-aware gents identifying it as a mark of quality. Let’s face it, it makes a lot of sense – if a company has survived for over 100 years they must be doing something right! One of these brands is north east-based Barbour; this is a brand close to our hearts because we’re based in the same hometown and their heritage is very much ours too.

It all started back in 1894 in the Market Place in South Shields and today the business is still in family hands – now into its 5th generation and still in the same town. All of their practically-minded garments have grown out of the culture and heritage of England’s north east coast; resulting in a unique blend of fashion that has gained a global appeal. Welcome to the world of Barbour – a place of fishing, shooting, motorcycles and enjoying the great outdoors.


Duncan Barbour, a keen motorcyclist, introduced a new range for fellow petrol heads back in 1934 that quickly took off and is still going today in the Barbour International & Steve McQueen ranges. Off screen, McQueen raced motorcycles. He raced in the International Six Day Trials for Team USA in 1964 wearing Barbour’s iconic International motorcycle jacket. The Barbour Steve McQueen collection celebrates that union.

The International has a rich product history; it’s one of those items that after you purchase has an instant sentimental value, this becomes even more apparent when you realise that most Barbour jacket owners wear theirs to death. In fact, the more worn and beaten up it is the more sought after it tends to be – largely because all styles, especially vintage ones, are classic pieces that are made to last and be passed on.


Being situated at the mouth of the river Tyne, there’s a strong seafaring/maritime culture and Barbour has been there to provide gear for those men and women tackling the unforgiving North Sea. In 1939 at the outbreak of WWII Barbour helped the cause by designing the Ursula suit which became standard issue for members of the British Submarine Service. The Ursula suit was named after the U-class submarine of the same name whose commander Captain George Philips was pivotal in getting them produced.

Nowadays the seafarers (mostly fisherman) in this region depend upon the hard-wearing waxed jackets and strong knits that are manufactured in the Simonside warehouse. That’s over 70 years of supplying brave British seaman.

Royal Approval

1974 marks the year that Barbour received the first Royal warrant from the Duke of Edinburgh and this was only the start of a long-running relationship with the Royal family, who have consistently chosen Barbour for their outdoor-wear.The second Royal warrant was issued by the Queen in 1988 and Margaret Barbour was made a Dame in 2001, leaving the business in a privileged position and increasing its profile even further.

It’s not only the Royal family and Princess Diana who favoured the iconic green waxed jacket; celebrities too flock to the brand including Lily Allen, Peaches Geldof, Rufus Wainwright and the Arctic Monkeys, with Alex Turner sporting one of their jackets on stage during their 2007 Glastonbury set.

All in all, it’s a British brand to be proud of and to be seen in, you can purchase the latest Barbour styles online at Northern Threads.NT

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