Waxing Lyrical about Barbour Jackets
It’s fair to say I am not renowned for my fashion sense. I can do ‘smart smart’, but like many men I’m rubbish at the somewhat dichotomous ‘smart casual.’ So recently I decided I was going to buy myself a nice smart casual jacket and started looking around and found nothing. Then I happened upon an interview with the dashing actor David Harewood of Homeland fame, illustrated by a picture of him sporting a really cool Barbour jacket. Now I associated Barbour with the landed gentry, but hadn’t come across their funkier International range. And they’re made locally – just down the road from me at South Shields – a rare British clothing manufacturer. So, reader, I bought one.
And it has been like a love affair – my jacket is very cool looking and incredibly practical – I’ve worn it in some very testing conditions and it passed with flying colours. And in terms of sustainable consumption, here’s Ian Bergin, Head of Menswear at Barbour, speaking to The Journal (our local paper):
“The big trend in the last five years is values-led consumption and it seems that the feeling is going to last. You have never had people throwing their Barbour away. Jackets come in and they’re 50 years old. They are re-waxed. It’s a lovely part of the business.”
This is my kind of materialism – building a relationship between customer and product and maximising the life of that product, while continuing to extract value through the repair process. So often we hear or read people sneering at expensive, branded products as the antithesis of sustainability, but I believe in buying quality, not quantity and that comes at a price (and not too excessive on the grand scale of things when it comes to Barbour). If you pay for something, you look after it. To me, the antithesis of sustainability is actually the ‘pile’em high, sell’em cheap, throw’em away, buy another’ products of the budget chains – and let’s face it, if you can buy T-shirts at £2.00, whoever made them didn’t get paid very well, did they?