Oi Polloi


Published: Thu Jul 05 2012

When it comes to the exciting world of jackets, there aren’t many brands with quite as much ‘outerwear heritage’ as ol’ Barbour and their waxed jackets. As a family business, passed down from generation to generation, the Barbour name was first used in the garment trade when John Barbour started selling waterproof oilskins to fishermen and dock workers on the port of South Shields. Thanks to their hard-wearing and waterproof nature these jackets sold like wax-coated hotcakes, and soon Barbour were the jacket of choice for every self-respecting outdoorsman (and outdoorswoman).

Although most people’s first thoughts of Barbour might bring to mind Land Rover Defenders skidding around farmyards, motor-mouthed cattle auctioneers and pheasants peppered with shotgun pellets, Barbour jackets aren’t just for land agents and game keepers, and are perfect for anywhere that’s prone to a bit of a downpour. We know some people turn their noses up a bit about inner-city Barbour jackets, but they look good, are great in the rain and with a bit of care, can last a lifetime. Worn by everyone from Steve McQueen to the real Queen, Barbour jackets are one of those rare things, like Hoovers or Tipp-Ex, that’s ended up being a blanket term for more than just the brand, and whilst there’s a fair few shoddy knock-offs around, none of them have that bonafide Barbour quality, that, without sounding too morbid, will probably outlive even the healthiest of owners.

And there’s more up Barbour’s waxy sleeves than just jackets — they aren’t shy of the Fair Isle knit, know a fair few things about the fine-art of shirt-making and if that wasn’t enough for you, they’re also fairly big in the headwear scene. So whether you’re hunting, fishing or just playing drums in a recently reformed Manchester-based psychedelic-rock outfit, there’s a Barbour hat perfectly suited for your swede.

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