John Barbour began making oilskin jackets in South Shields, England, in 1906 to keep sheepherders warm and dry on the lonely, damp moors. During World War I, the Royal Army outfitted soldiers with the durable coats because their construction—double-rolled seams stitched through two layers of fabric; a sturdy waxed-cotton exterior—kept out the elements on the front lines. Finishing touches still include a smart cotton tartan lining, corduroy collar, and brass zipper. Since 1974, the royal family has worn J. Barbour & Sons outerwear, making the label synonymous with patrician style. But the jacket also has a newfound appeal that makes it versatile enough for a getaway in the country, a hike in the Alps, or even a night of “fox hunting” on the town.
Since its humble beginnings on the farms of Britain, the waterproof Barbour jacket has traveled far and wide.