During the next edition of Pitti Uomo, on January 9, 2019, Barbour will celebrate its 125th anniversary with a series of activities, including the launch a special celebrative collection of iconic pieces of the brand redesigned according to more modern criteria.

Helen Barbour, vice chairman, Barbour, and representative of the fifth generation of the family that owns the brand, explained the reasons for this brand’s success and its future goals.

Helen Barbour, photographed in 1997
Photo: Barbour
Helen Barbour, photographed in 1997

What is the secret behind an iconic brand as Barbour, now celebrating its 125th anniversary?
Barbour has evolved over time from providing outerwear in 1894 to protect the mariners in South Shields in the North East of England from the worst of the weather into a global lifestyle brand offering a wardrobe of clothes, footwear and accessories. This is a development of delivering what we have always done and will continue to do–providing garments that fulfill the changing needs and expectations of our customers without compromising our brand’s founding values of quality, durability, fitness for purpose and attention to detail.



How does the brand maintain its DNA and personality while keeping its appeal for the modern consumer while attracting the very young and the Millennials?
Barbour’s product has always had an evolutionary, ergonomic and practical heritage with an honesty that transcends fashion.  For many people, their Barbour jacket becomes part of the family and a much loved garment that is handed down through the generations. Barbour’s style is classic and timeless which means people of all ages can wear them their own way to suit their own individual style.

 

How is Barbour celebrating this anniversary?
To celebrate our 125th anniversary, Barbour is launching Icons Barbour Re-Engineered, a new capsule collection of key archive items that have been important in Barbour’s history and have now been redesigned into contemporary styles that are relevant to today’s customer. We’ve also used a much loved tartan lining from the 1980s, the Dress Gordon, and in this way have combined nostalgia with modernity.

A fisherman sporting Barbour equipment
Photo: Barbour
A fisherman sporting Barbour equipment

 

What are Barbour's main markets today and why are they so successful in these countries?
Barbour is a global lifestyle brand sold in over 40 countries worldwide. The key markets are the UK, the US and Europe, in particular Germany, France Italy and Spain. Barbour products are designed for an outdoor lifestyle, whether town or country with fit for purpose, quality clothing that is both functional and practical. We have found that this message appeals to customers in the UK, the US, Italy and across the globe.

 

What are the brand's projects for the future?
2019 is a big year for the Barbour brand. Alongside the Icons Re-Engineered collection designed especially for the anniversary, we have menswear collaborations with Margaret Howell and Engineered Garments. Both offer a new interpretation of Barbour whilst still staying true to our heritage and DNA. We are also working on some other exciting projects that will be revealed soon!


What are the brand's revenues today and what are Barbour’s aims for the future and international expansion?
Our latest published turnover is £184.3 million, which reflects a steady growth in sales given the challenging retail landscape.  Our export markets are extremely important to us–the US is one of our fastest growing markets and we have seen increases in growth in Italy, Spain, France and also our Asian markets.


What will the Barbour jacket of the future be like? What will remain also for seasons to come and what new elements will characterize this jacket and brand?
Today, our goal is to become the best British lifestyle brand worldwide and we have introduced a wardrobe of clothes for men, women and children including knitwear, shirts, trousers, footwear and accessories alongside our iconic outerwear. We also have a very successful dog range from collars to leads, dog coats, dog beds and even dog cologne! We will continue to do what we have always done–provide high quality, practical fit for purpose clothing that fulfills the changing needs and expectations of our customers across the world.


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