Barbour

Waterproof oilskin jacket sold by John Barbour in his shop in South Shields, an English coastal town, starting in 1894. It is an excellent example of the identification of a brand with a product. In fact, now, when one says Barbour, one means a type or a shape, like a loden or a montgomery, independent of who manufactured it. The real Barbour, made of 40 pieces of oilskin fabric sewn together with more than 15,000 stitches, is manufactured in the United Kingdom and has had extensive distribution in Italy since 1983, the year in which WP Lavori of Corso became the exclusive distributor and launched a true fashion trend. The first Barbour shop was under the name J. Barbour & Co., Tailors and Drapers. Today, the word “drapers” is out of fashion. It is related to drapery and in the 1800s indicated anything which had to do with fabric and clothing. In the Barbour shop they produced the first oilskin waterproof jackets, sold under the brand name Beacon, which had as part of its logo the South Shields lighthouse. Barbour raincoats were immediately very popular with sailors and with people who lived ashore. In 1908, Malcom Barbour, the son of John, created the first mail-order catalogs and launched the model and the brand starting with the idea of selling complete oilskin outfits not only to mariners but also to anyone working in the open air. In 1912 Barbour transformed itself into a limited liability company, J. Barbour & Sons Limited. Malcom’s son Duncan entered new markets, including clothing for motorcyclists. In 1930 a new type of oiled cotton, Thornproof, less rigid than the earlier material, was introduced. At present Barbour manufactures 11 different varieties of jackets and a wide range of accessories. Since 1965, the company’s president has been Margaret Barbour, the widow of John, the son of Duncan.