Barbour introduces a Ridley Scott jacket
What do England’s most famous country fashion label and the nation’s most prominent award-winning film director have in common? They both come from gritty port of South Shields, and now they have a jacket together.
Barbour, beloved by everyone form the Queen to James Bond, unveiled its new Director’s Jacket at Pitti, as the brand celebrates its 125th anniversary. The garment designed by the legendary director Sir Ridley Scott.
Created in men's and women's versions, the jacket is made with extra-large pockets to carry film scripts; and includes an interior down lining. Cut with three pockets and made in the house’s signature oiled cotton, a fabric still produced in South Shields, the costal town on the mouth of the River Tyne in the North East of England where John Barbour first founded the brand in the late 1894.
“Not made people know that Sir Ridley Scott grew up in our town, and we are very proud of the fact that he produced a video of our new jacket,” said Helen Barbour, the fifth generation to manage the company.
Barbour remains a major local employer, with 180 workers in its local factory. Still privately held by the Barbour family, the company scored annual sales of £200 million in 2018, though does not reveal profit figures. Barbour retails in some 2,000 sales points worldwide, employs over 1,000 staff worldwide, includes 26 flagship boutiques, and remains one of Britain’s most iconic marques.
Barbour is also one of Pitti’s most authentic brands. It concentrates in its DNA and rarely does collaborations, though it did have tremendous success with its Beacon Sports jacket created by Japanese designer Tokihito Yoshida. Which became an enormous best seller, after Daniel Craig wore one in the final climatic scenes of Skyfall.
“Can you imagine they actually, very politely, came and bought several jackets to use in the movie? Think of how much other people have to pay for product placements in big films!” marvels Helen Barbour.
That said, the declination of the brand remains far too restrained. Its selection of historic jackets in the Pitti stand was remarkable, but far too few of the current ready-to-wear collection capture the unique spirit of this special label. One can only imagine how far a group like LVMH or Kering could drive Barbour.
Unlike Scott’s video, which features images of the port, local ferry, iconic red corrugated metal Herd Groyne Lighthouse (recently lovingly restored by Barbour) and, of course, Ridley Scott wearing the jacket. It reaches retail shelves this spring.
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