Barbour Jackets and Barbour Clothing

Click here to buy Barbour Jackets and Barbour Clothing

The Barbour story began in 1849 when John Barbour started a business as a travelling draper. He went on to open his first shop in South Shields in 1894 and flourished. As far back as 1909, Barbour had a motorcycle jacket in its range and during the war they produced jackets and overalls for military despatch riders.

It was between the wars that Barbour first introduced its iconic International jacket which, in fact, was designed for use by both motorcyclists and aviators. That very jacket has remained in production ever since, virtually unchanged. Made from breathable Egyptian Waxed Cotton, the jacket is 100% waterproof yet still extremely comfortable to wear.

A motorcycling heritage

After the war, the International jacket became somewhat‘de rigueur’ for motorcyclists. It was widely worn byprofessional road-testers, racers, military and police riders. It was also, of course, extremely popular with bikers who merely usedtheir motorcycles forcommuting to and from work, or for touring. Most Rockers also had anInternational which they often used in preference toa leather jacket on longer weekend runs, especially at colder times of the year. Given its construction, it was particularly appropriate for the rain and mud oftrials riding, an activitywhere riders needed not just protection from the elements, but also a high degree ofcomfort and manoeuvrability. From 1936 to 1977, with the exception of the waryears, when no event took place, the British international trials team wore virtually nothing else.

In the 1954 ISDT, 72% of all competitors wore the International, including the teams from Austria, Belgium and Holland. At the 1957 Scottish Trials, 97% of all competitors wore one. Perhaps even more famously, in the 1964 ISDT event, the entire US team wore Barbour Internationals, albeit with small ‘Stars and Stripes’ badges sewn onto the left shoulder. On that team were two particularly famous competitors: legendary stunt rider Bud Ekins and his close pal, actor Steve McQueen. Any suggestions that McQueen wore another brand of jacket at that event are wide of the mark! A superior jacket The International has endured partly, it has to be suggested, because it was so well designed; a perfect blend of form and function. But, the other reason, almost certainly, is that it is now, and always has been, so superbly constructed. The material is genuine long staple Cotton. The studs are solid brass, as are the big tooth metal zips. In total, some 15,000 stitches and almost 200 components go into the making of the jacket, which is still made today in Barbour’s South Shields factory, just as it was over 70 years ago.

All of the seams are double stitched, each stitched through two thicknesses of fabric. This is an intricate and difficult process, but it is vital in ensuring that the seams are completely waterproof. Even the thread is treatedwith the same secret watertightproofing formula as the fabric itself.

A friend for life
You don’t buy an Internationalfor a season’s riding. It will remain effective for many years, becoming more comfortable and characterful as time goes by. A regularly re-waxed jacket will last for several decades and, if required, re-waxing is a service that can still be provided by the factory, where there is a department that effects repairs, renovations and alterations.

A true classic

Few would question theassertion that the International is one of the most famousmotorcycle jackets of all time. For many it is an important and necessary accessory tocomplete the ‘look’. Short white-top boots, a Bell open face helmet, aviator goggles and an International. Of course, motorcycling has come a long way since 1936 and in a world as safety consciousas the one we live in, theInternational lacks the desirable addition of armoured protection. However, if such additional safety measures are desired, it is easy to wear beneath the International something like Spidi’s Back and Chest Defender, or Forcefield’s Armoured jacket. But however you decide to wear your jacket, if you’re after the correct look, be it on a genuine classic, or a modern retro, you’re not properly dressed without an authentic Barbour International. The jacket is available in sizes 38”, 40”, 42”, 44”, 46”, 48” & 50” and costs £219.99.

Click here to buy Barbour Jackets and Barbour Clothing