J. Barbour and Sons

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J. Barbour & Sons Ltd.
Privately held company
Industry Retail, Clothing Manufacturing
Founded South Shields, England (1894 (1894))
Founder John Barbour
Headquarters Simonside, South Shields, United Kingdom
Number of locations
30+ retail stores
Area served
Key people
  • Margaret Barbour, Chairman
  • Steve Buck, managing director
  • Helen Barbour, Vice Chair
  • Bedale Jacket
  • Beaufort Jacket
  • A7 Barbour International Jacket
Services Repair, reproofing
Website www.barbour.com

J. Barbour & Sons Ltd. is an English luxury fashion brand founded by John Barbour in 1894, that designs, manufactures and markets weatherproofed outerwear, ready-to-wear, leather goods, shoes and accessories for men, women and children under the Barbour brand. Founded in South Shields, England, as an importer of oil cloth, J. Barbour and Sons Ltd. has become well known for its waxed cotton jackets which are a common element of British country clothing. The company's waxed cotton jackets are so well known that some people refer to any waxed cotton jacket as a "Barbour jacket", irrespective of manufacturer.[1] J. Barbour and Sons Ltd. holds royal warrant to supply "waterproof and protective clothing" from Queen Elizabeth II in 1974, the Duke of Edinburgh in 1982, and Charles, Prince of Wales in 1987.[2] Since 2004, Lord James Percy has been a brand ambassador involved in the design and marketing of the company's shooting clothing.[3] The Household Cavalry Polo Team and the E. J. Churchill Shooting range are Barbours' other brand ambassadors[citation needed]. Since July 2016, Scottish actor Sam Heughan is Barbour's First Global Brand Ambassador.[4]


John Barbour, a native of Galloway, Scotland, founded J. Barbour and Sons Ltd. in South Shields, England, in 1894 as an importer of oil-cloth.[2] John's grandson Duncan, a keen motorcyclist, would also take the company in that direction during his tenure as Barbour became the originator of waxed cotton motorcycling suits and jackets.

The headquarters for J. Barbour and Sons Ltd. at the time of its foundation was located at 5 Market Place, South Shields. The company moved the headquarters to Wimbledon in 1916, then returned to Simonside, South Shields, in 1981.[2]

While some of the waxed cotton jackets are still manufactured in Simonside, South Shields, most of the other products are manufactured outside the United Kingdom.[2]


A men's waxed cotton Barbour jacket in green.
Modern Barbour 'Stockman' coat.

In addition to its waxed and quilted jackets, J. Barbour & Sons Ltd. are famous for sweaters, moleskin clothing, corduroy clothing, and tattersall shirts. Barbour has also entered the "waterproof-breathable" market with its own type waterproof liners, cordura external fabric and polar fleece sweaters. Some Barbour products contain outdoor-orientated features such as snug-fitting collars, "storm cuffs", waterproof pockets with drainage holes and wide "game" pockets. In recent years the company has successfully modernised its collections to appeal to a younger clientele while maintaining credibility with the traditional countryside customer. Many of the more fashionable ranges are influenced by the "Barbour International" motorcycling ranges. Taking inspiration from the company's 1931 waxed cotton motorcycling suit and the 1951 "Original Green" motorcycling jacket, modern collections are fashionable interpretations of the companies heritage in bikes.

Despite traditional connotations with rural life, Barbour jackets saw increased popularity as an urban fashion item in the 2010s decade.[5] In 2010s Barbour collaborated with several notable urban fashion brands: WoodWood, White Mountaneering, etc.[6]


The pocket of a green Barbour jacket showing wear.

Some customers keep Barbour waxed jackets for years, sometimes decades. Among such people, the wear-and-tear on the garment can be addressed by Barbour's repair service, which patches and reinforces jackets. J. Barbour and Sons Ltd. processes a total of over 100,000 jackets annually at the Simonside, South Shields and other facilities.[2]

Points of sale[edit]

Aside from offering merchandise within Barbour retail stores, Barbour wholesales traditional Classic styles as well as the upmarket Beacon Heritage collection to many upscale department and speciality stores worldwide. As of 2013, these retailers include Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges and Cruise in the United Kingdom as well as Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdale's and Saks Fifth Avenue in the United States. Barbour has a retail and wholesale presence in over forty countries on six continents.[2] Barbour's largest independent store is located in Blackbrook, Staffordshire, and is and run in partnership by Outdoor and Country as well as a Barbour partner store in Knutsford, Cheshire.[7]


  1. ^ Ellwood, Iain (2002). The essential brand book: over 100 techniques to increase brand value. p. 175. Customers ask for a Barbour weatherproof jacket, even though they may actually buy an alternative brand. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "A History of J Barbour & Sons Ltd". J. Barbour and Sons Ltd. Retrieved 18 January 2016. 
  3. ^ https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/lord-james-percy-to-the-manor-worn-312672.html
  4. ^ http://www.barbour.com/blog/sam-heughan-barbour-brand-ambassador
  5. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/mar/01/barbour-city-kids
  6. ^ "Barbour X Wood Wood Collaboration Collection". Barbour Blog. 2017-09-24. Retrieved 2018-01-29. 
  7. ^ "About Us | Outdoor and Country". www.outdoorandcountry.co.uk. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 

External links[edit]