i-conic: The International Barbour Jacket
Representing over one hundred years of quintessential British Style, Barbour is the international brand for the outdoors individual.
First created four generations ago, Barbour outerwear was originally developed to cater for countryside living. Today Barbour jackets are a staple fashion item prevalent as much on city streets as in rural districts, making today's 75th anniversary of the iconic international wax jacket as current as it is historic. The original wax cotton motorcycle jacket, 'the International', is the brand's most popular product, counting its stylish fans amongst the likes of Alexa Chung, Coco Sumner, Lily Allen, Alex Turner and Daisy Lowe. Maintaining the ability to transcend trends and seasonal fads, the wax jacket's practical style effortlessly expresses a refined sartorial taste. In the introduction to the Barbour Catalogue of 1919, founding designer Malcolm Barbour defined the Barbour design ethos through service to the customer, stating, "Service means doing all in one’s power to oblige a customer, not sticking at a little trouble because there seems no profit at the paying end of the transaction. It means, too, the breaking aside of the icy barrier that frequently separates the merchant from his customer, a coming to handgrips, as it were, the foundation of friendship and personal feeling.”
Initially taking the form of a one piece wax cotton suit, grandson of Barbour founder and keen motorcyclist Duncan Barbour oversaw the creation of the International jacket for the International Six Day Motorcyle Trials (ISDT) event of 1936. The jacket has since been adapted to suit modern living whilst still remaining true to the near-identical specification to which it was first designed. i-D's menswear editor Elgar Johnson is an avid fan of the brand, commenting, "We should all be very grateful for and proud of Barbour, a great British make with a great heritage that is at the forefront of today's fresh take on Preppy, without negotiating its very high standards and morals."
i-D Online took time to rummage through J. Barbour & Sons Ltd back catalogues to discover how the jacket has stood the test of time.