Boost for Queen Elizabeth’s favourite coat brand as Gucci and Ganni collaborations prove a hit with Gen Z

By Daniel Woolfson

Barbour’s sales hit a record high last year as tie-ups with high-end fashion brands helped it gain traction among younger shoppers.

The South Shields-based British business collaborated with the likes of Gucci and Copenhagen’s Ganni in a bid to revitalise the 129-year-old brand.

According to the company’s chairman, Dame Margaret Barbour, the late Queen wore the same Barbour jacket for 25 years.
According to the company’s chairman, Dame Margaret Barbour, the late Queen wore the same Barbour jacket for 25 years.Credit: Getty

Barbour also partnered with model Alexa Chung and luxury womenswear brand Chloe, as it boosted sales up by almost 20 per cent to £343 million ($640 million) in the year to April 2023.

Founded in 1894 by John Barbour, the business is known for its distinctive jackets, which are waxed to keep out the elements.

Over the last century, they have become a staple of countryside homes across the UK, while also being associated with sports such as motorcycle racing and shooting.

Alexa Chung  wearing her vintage Barbour jacket  in 2022 in Glastonbury, England.
Alexa Chung wearing her vintage Barbour jacket in 2022 in Glastonbury, England.Credit: David M. Benett

The company holds two Royal Warrants, including one from the late Queen Elizabeth II.

According to the company’s chairman, Dame Margaret Barbour, the late Queen wore the same Barbour jacket for 25 years, asking for its coating to be “re-waxed” around the time of her Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

Company accounts show that Barbour sells more than two million jackets a year. The brand is available in Australia, including Myer department stores, Henry Bucks and online outlets.

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Despite its traditional aesthetic and association with British rural life, the brand underwent a revival in the 1980s when it became popular among socialites and celebrities, such as Kate Moss and Princess Diana.

The jackets have also soared in popularity in recent years after appearing in various TV series, including The Crown.

Fans of Barbour include Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who gifted President Biden a £279 Bedale jacket during a visit to the US last summer.

Despite rising sales over the past year, Barbour’s profits fell by around £6 million after price rises were unable to offset inflationary cost pressures.

Managing director Steve Buck said: “The ongoing aftermath of the pandemic can still be seen in our supply chain and the economic fallout resulting from the cost of living crisis, war in Ukraine, uncertainty across global markets, intense cost pressures, in particular exchange rate pressure and competition for volatile demand remaining high, have all presented numerous challenges to margins across all channels and markets.”

Then Prince Charles has a go at reproofing a jacket during a visit to Royal Warrant Holder, J Barbour And Sons in 2021.
Then Prince Charles has a go at reproofing a jacket during a visit to Royal Warrant Holder, J Barbour And Sons in 2021.Credit: AP

He warned that the current year “will continue to be challenging for our business against an ongoing background of the cost of living crisis, market contractions, higher inflation and global uncertainty caused by the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East”.

However, he added that no further price rises are expected: “Offering good value to our consumers is paramount and as a consequence, we have not raised our prices in line with the cost increases we are experiencing.”

Barbour’s waxed jackets generally cost between £200 and £300. Its bestsellers – the men’s Ashby jacket and women’s Beadnell – currently both cost £229 on Barbour’s website.

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