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Celebrating 125 years of Barbour: the most iconic moments | EQVVS

Tom Theakstone on Thu, May 23, 19

From Steve McQueen to Alex Turner. The moments that helped the British brand became world-renowned. This year, Barbour celebrates its 125th anniversary – a significant milestone for any brand. In that time, Barbour has gone from water-proof suppliers to motorsports specialists and even a global fashion icon. Since its inception in 1894, Barbour has expertly engineered weatherproof textiles. Their manufacturing is so well regarded that it’s the official choice of the Royal Family, the UK military, and celebrities and musician alike. So just how does a clothing manufacturer go from South Shields Market Place to internationally acclaimed industry leader? Here are four iconic moments that certainly helped.

Military suppliers

In 1939 Duncan Barbour was called away to war, leaving his wife Mary and father Malcolm in charge of the business. Their involvement in WWII wouldn’t end there, and the company put their expertise in water-proof fabrics towards the war effort. The Ursula suit (named after the U-class submarine) would not only become standard issue for members of the Submarine Service but also the benchmark for technical specifications in military uniforms. These days the suits are extremely rare and are described as the Holy Grail of wax cotton jackets by collectors.

Kings of Cool

Legendary actor Steve McQueen was known as much for his on-screen presence as he was for his love of motorsports. An avid racer, he even performed his own motorcycle stunts in movies, most notably the chase in The Great Escape. At the peak of his powers, McQueen would ride in a Barbour International motorbike jacket – an image that would become iconic for the brand. An endorsement from the King of Cool cemented Barbour’s status among the motorcycling elite as a leader of technical motorsports wear. Barbour later immortalised the partnership by releasing their own Steve McQueen collection. Cool indeed.

Glastonbury headliners

Barbour exploded back onto the stage – quite literally – in 2007 when the brand’s iconic wax jacket became the item of choice for a string of globally acclaimed musicians. The culmination of which was Alex Turner rocking one on the main-stage. The brand partly had the weather to thank. That year the festival was dogged by torrential downpours, meaning fans and artists alike had to don waterproof jackets and wellies. Barbour's combination of technical expertise and fashion heritage made them the must-have label, and 135,000 festival goers and millions of TV viewers were left wanting a piece of the iconic jacket. The rest is history. The resurgence was so strong that the for over a decade since, Barbour has been a high-street staple for weather-proof, fashionable jackets.

Silver screen style

From 2007 to 007, Barbour made the leap from music to movies when Daniel Craig’s James Bond wore the X To Ki To Beacon Heritage Sports Jacket in Skyfall. The 2012 instalment of the series saw Bond travel to the rural countryside of his native Scotland, echoing the roots of founder John Barbour. The jacket perfectly captured the heritage of one of the nations most famous characters and embodied the quintessential British country-side style. So much so, in fact, that GQ named it the most iconic menswear outfit in movie history. Not bad at all.

Available at EQVVS

And of course, Britain’s best-loved water-proof provider is available at EQVVS. From the iconic wax jacket to the timeless tartan shirt, we’ve got an ample collection of Barbour, Barbour International and Barbour Beacon. Head over to our Barbour shop to see the full collection.

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