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A global British style brand

What makes it world class?

World-wide sales | International recognition

J.Barbour & Sons was founded in 1894 in England by a Scottish importer of oil cloth. Today it is run by the fifth generation of the Barbour family and has become synonymous with waxed cotton jackets.

It sells over 100,000 jackets a year, as well as clothing and shoes and has royal warrants from the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles. In Britain, the brand has long been associated with outdoor pursuits, particularly motorcycling, with its 1908 catalogue marketing an oil skin motorcycling suit “impregnable by wind or wet”.

The company’s 1936 A1 one-piece bike suit, called the International, was adapted for military use during the Second World War and became standard issue for British submariners. In 1964, Steve McQueen and the rest of the US team made a detour to London to buy their Barbour Internationals en route to compete in the ISDT in East Germany.

However, Barbour only relatively recently made a significant export push, with a German subsidiary in 1988. It now has a presence in over 40 countries including the US, Holland, Austria, France, Italy, Spain, Argentina and Japan. The achievements of Margaret Barbour have been widely recognised, not least in the north-east.

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The brand has become an urban accessory, worn by city slickers from Mayfair to Munich. There are thousands of them to be seen at the Glastonbury Festival, for example.

What they say

Barbour espouses the unique values of the British Countryside and brings the qualities of wit, grit and glamour to its beautifully functional clothing. 

What we say

Dry outdoor clothing slowly taking over temperate climates


Others on the World Class Britain list include

Linn Products

Linn Products

Makers of high-end hi-fi systems, sold around the world

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

The prince of the plant world: nothing compares to Kew

Glastonbury Festival

Glastonbury Festival

The largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world


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