Barbour jackets in a post all of their own

Barbour Jackets
Photo: Barbour

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about British outerwear brands and a reader quite rightly pointed out that I had missed off Barbour. So, because of that, and also because it is raining AGAIN, I am going to write about Barbour and their waterproof jackets today…

Started as a drapers shop at 5 Market Place, South Shields in 1894, the oilskin coats that J Barbour & Sons first set about selling were designed to protect the local fishing community from heavy rain and bad weather. These first coats were waterproofed with linseed oil which tended to go stiff in cold weather or turn yellow after a while. The waxed cotton version came about in the 1930’s after two years of development and has continued to evolve over the years until it became what it is today.

After decades of the coats only being worn by country folk, or Italians who loved the brand’s English sensibility, the last few years has seen no self respecting festival goer without one glued to their back. This summer Barbour have capitalised on this trend with the Barbour Festival Guide, which includes a suggestion of where to pitch your tent in case of a torrential downpour. There’s obviously also a guide to what to wear, lest you need reminding that if you go to any outdoor event in the UK in the summer you are also going to need a waterproof jacket (as well as a sense of humour).

There is also a growing market for vintage Barbour jackets, with sites like Mr Starr having trouble keeping up with demand for some of the rarer 50’s and 60’s styles.

This revival in interest in Barbour can only be a good thing. It’s factory in South Shields still employs nearly 200 people to make it’s wax jackets, and whilst not all of it’s product range is made there, being Made in England is still an important part of what Barbour are about.

The new  Barbour store is at 134 Long Lane, St Martin’s Courtyard, WC2E 9AA


27 thoughts on “Barbour jackets in a post all of their own”

  1. If being Made in England is still important to Barbour why the **** is over 90% of all their product Made “anywhere cheaper” than Great Britain?

  2. Barbour the best British clothing for he worst British weather, a prime example of misleading promotion, Barbour like so many “reputable” British brands is just a bogus facade for cheap imports.

  3. I hear and see “British Bands” all the time and the first thing I look for is the place of origin/Manufacture. British-Made in China Yep that says British to me because that’s how we do things now, Shame.

  4. I wanted to Buy a Barbour jacket, i researched the product to find the majority of the jackets were imports.I contacted Barbour direct to ask which were UK produced, they were unable to confirm which particular jackets were made in the UK. I went to a reputable high street retailer and searched through the jackets to find the ones produced in the UK.
    These jackets are not cheap and the profit made on the imported ones must be very high whilst giving the impression they are produced in the UK as a member of my family had found out at his expense today. His £249 jacket is being returned as he was under the impression that when buying a Barbour he was buying British Made.

    1. Hi Tony
      In Barbour’s defense I would guess that the reason that they now make some of their jackets abroad is that they have greatly increased in popularity recently and their factory in the UK cannot keep up with demand.
      That said, they should make it very clear to the customer which jackets aren’t made in Britain, and they should also charge less for them

  5. Tony,

    Me too. I bought a jacket from their own company store in Jarrow, after all of their sales people swore blind that all of their wax jackets are English made. Now after buying a wax jacket and being very suspicious because it didn’t contain a made in England label, I find from their own customer service that it is actually “made overseas”. So their customer service dept are contradicting their own shop employees.

    …and I’m stuck with an imported Barbour, feeling outright deceived.

  6. Really sad to learn that such a fine British “institution” as Barbour cannot be trusted. Had a similar experience previously with Russel Hobbs, finding out that they are now from China and with a sadly shortened life (2 failed units within 12 months).
    Richard M Sharpe

  7. Ian Travis
    Bought a Barbour wax jacket at their outlet shop in Castleford. We made great play on the Made In England brand and that we were proud that British workmen were still producing them. My wife noticed that the shop manager went quiet at this stage and we later noticed that the label omitted the MinE label. Barbour are being very disingenuous to say the least. The jacket will be going back!

  8. This company is a scam. Complete. Don’t buy from them. Their jackets, wax or not, are not made in Britain. They are made in Lithuania, China, Turkey, anywhere but England. There “factory” in England is for show purposes.

    1. Hi Thomas
      They do still have a factory in South Shields, in fact I know the chap who was the former production director until a couple of years ago.
      Admittedly they don’t make a very large percentage here but it is still one of the largest garment factories in the UK.

    2. Deborah Greatrex

      You are most certainly wrong, I have been making jackets at Barbours Siminside factory for the last 15 years, some of the ladies have been there 35 years…

  9. Hi, I have had a Barbour international 3weeks now, the 2 front lower pocket linings are coming away as stitching wasn’t done properly. There are no labels to say where it was made. I have contacted customer service and the lady said send it back to where it was purchased, which was online shop in Scotland, not really interested.
    I want a Barbour coat that is made in Britain so I asked which ones are, but she said she didn’t know. Poor product, poor customer service.

  10. I bought my Barbour Bedale back in the late 1990’s when they weren’t that popular in the US. Mine definitely has a Made in England label. I was shocked to hear most are made in other areas. I heard the Bedale is the model still made in England, but I am not sure.

  11. Matthew Atkinson

    It’s difficult to find out which of their products are made in the UK so now I don’t bother, will just buy from another company. If they can’t keep up with demand they could always open a new factory here. In my opinion they’ve cheapened their brand by manufacturing overseas.

  12. I recently spent a small fortune on the Dept B Commander only to finb it was made in Bulgaria, I have since sold all my barbours on ebay and only buy English Utopia or Grenfells, who are actually made in England

  13. Christine Stuart-Monteith

    I remembet in the late 80’s early 90’s the popularity of the wax Barbour jackets soared and they were sold around the world. After this golden age, they were somewhat forgotten, except maybe here in the UK. It is probably why they moved the majority of their production to China and other countries, and with this the quality plummeted. You only need to read Trustpilot comments to realise how bad they have become. It is a sad state of affairs. What is British made nowadays? Our politicians talk about backing British industries, but unfortunately, it is just talk. When will they realise that the world is being taken over by China? Do you know how many Chinese items you have in your possession? Iphones (yes, made in China), microwaves, most clothes, computers, cutlery, crockery, to name a few. I will drown my sorrow with a cup of tea and a produced in the UK biscuit.

  14. Me too…was trying to find out if Barbour tee shirts were made in U.K. Was unable to but discovered this site and these letters. I now look askance at my Beadnell jacket and feel cheated. I now look carefully at labels, if it says “made in China” I leave alone. Far too much is made cheaply in China….don’t buy it, thankgoodness for Ringtons tea and biscuits. .proper Geordie tea.

  15. My significant other is attempting to replace her 35 year old Barbour Bedale jacket as it has a couple of self inflicted holes, sad to see most are made in China Asia everything else.
    We will wait until we visit England post Covid and go to the factory, if possible, to purchase new coats for the both of us.
    I have been and Anglophile my entire life, considering most of my relatives are English or Irish, no surprise: we have four hundred year old English furniture that is both beautiful and serviceable, my last car was a still made in England 1990 xj6, before that an 1987 6, preceded by the last Silver Shadow brought to the states. Now Jag is owned by an Indian Company with problems.
    My point bring back all manufacturing to Britain, screw the bankers who dream up these schemes, I am confident there are enough of us who will buy The Made in England brands that last for decades or indeed centuries not to mention the Brits just as other Europeans had better start sticking together on the items they make the best of just as the Americans should(Original Made in America Levis and Alden lifers come to mind) so British citizens, or Italian, German or Scandinavian and Americans might thrive again. The only approach going forward is to insist on Made in England not buying Chinese Made and with the name on the outside of the product, please, how tacky.

  16. Glad I stumbled across this. I naively assumed Barbour was “Made in Britain”. A “Made in China” doesn’t really cut it for me and doesn’t justify the high prices the brand demands. In fact, since I’m doing my best to avoid anything that’s “Made in China” … which doesn’t leave much beyond a haircut, I’ll be ditching Barbour too. Still, it was always just a nice-to-have and not a necessity.

  17. It seems to me Barbour need to increase their workforce and premises rather than import.
    After reading this, I’m not buying a Barbour jacket.

  18. Myanmar

    Only 4 Jackets are made in England
    Every other Barbour Product is manufactured overseas and despatched to South Shields to which it is then despatched to the customer.

    Yes your despatch comes from South Shields but your clothes weren’t made there.

  19. New Forest Wax jackets are very similar quality and much cheaper than Barbour equivalents. I have just ordered one. Although they too are not made in England, but overseas, the quality is the same as the Barbour jackets and I see no reason to buy a coat simply for the name and pedigree particularly when the quality doesn’t match the price. I spent £50 less on virtually the same jacket.

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