Many great things have come from the north east. Cheryl Cole. Alan Shearer. Brown Ale. But while we all love Geordie women, nostalgic footballers and slightly odd beers, the true hero of South Shields has to be Barbour International. Launched in 1894, Barbour is a fifth-generation family-owned business that has defied all trends and imposters to become the stalwart of every stylish man’s wardrobe. Always ready for adventure, with more history than you can shake a corduroy collar at, Barbour jackets somehow manage to be both reliably practical and endlessly cool.
Created initially in 1936 for the British military (WW2 submariners wore them as standard issue), the A1 one-piece bike suit, rendered in signature dark green wax, was later adopted by everyday bikers of the 1940s and thus, the Barbour International brand was born. Since then the offshoot has enabled civvies to access soldierly style on the streets.
A direct descendent of the A1, the A7 jacket has been a wardrobe classic for years, and played a key role in establishing Barbour International as a beloved heritage brand of its own. To celebrate the flagship jacket this season, Barbour has teamed up with another icon of the north – albeit one from a bit further up – for a limited edition London Fashion Week Men’s collaboration.
Hailing from North Lanarkshire in Scotland, artist and poet Robert Montgomery has created some of the most eye-catching installations of the past decade. His wasteland displays of poetry have featured in some of the UK’s most unlikely art hotspots – the De La Warr pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea and under a bridge in London’s Old Street to name a few – earning him the name ‘the text-art Banksy’.
Montgomery’s work has a rebellious spirit, often installed without warning and featuring anti-establishment messages. In ode to the spirit of bravery, Barbour International has created six uniquely customised A7 jackets featuring lines from Montgomery’s poetry in luminous thread embroidered on the back.
Showcased today at the brand’s LFWM presentation, these one-off jackets can be purchased now exclusively on Selfridges.com and are sure to be collectors items in years to come. So if you’re in the market for some wearable art, you’ll need to be quick to snap one up before they go.
Missed out? Follow Barbour International on its new Snapchat channel (@BarbourInt), where the brand will also be giving away replica painted versions of the jackets on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 January.
Barbour International SS17
This season at Barbour International is all about layering. Described as ‘the perfect summer wardrobe for a life imagined on the open road’, and inspired by the growing trend for sportswear and casualwear, relaxed and lightweight fabrics in indigo and grey marls feature alongside pops of bright colour.
Of course, the brand’s motorcycling heritage runs throughout the range – classic biker jackets in modern fits are updated with touches of casualwear.
Highlights include the Darley Tee, which might just be the perfect striped T-shirt; and the Croft Crew jumper, a very British take on sports luxe. If recent trends are anything to go by, the new Nomex Quilt Jacket will be a must-have, its bomber shape combining with a sports neck and cuffs for a true biker feel, while remaining both lightweight and contemporary.