by Stephen Garner

Barbour Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of British lifestyle clothing company, J Barbour & Sons Ltd, will launch its motorcycle-inspired clothing brand, Barbour International, in the U.S. market for the autumn/winter 2020 season.

For the American market, Barbour International will have its own communication strategy to create a clear distinction in look and feel. Display areas with imagery and props will reflect the brand’s motorcycling heritage, offering consumers a very clear lifestyle choice between the two brands. The company will also open a separate Madison Avenue showroom for Barbour International, with men’s and women’s collections, during the first week of December.

The collection for men and women includes men’s iconic waxed cotton jackets including the Barbour International Original inspired by the first motorcycle jacket design and worn by actor Steve McQueen in the 1964 ISDT trials, and the contemporary four-pocket Duke jacket, a popular and consistent bestseller. Alongside jackets are overshirts including the lightweight pack-away Hooded Smoke Overshirt in a new print and the Barbour International Fuel Zip, a long sleeve cotton hoodie. Tees are offered in a choice of colors including crimson and strong blue.

“Barbour International has a heritage and authenticity of over 75 years; it represents a motorcycle lifestyle which is perceived as exciting, fast and a little rebellious,” said Paul Wilkinson, global marketing & commercial director/managing director, USA. “In the UK, Barbour International became a standalone brand in 2013 and has grown rapidly. It now accounts for 30 percent of our UK and Ireland sales and is one of the fastest-growing areas of the business. It provides an incremental commercial opportunity offering our existing consumers a choice of lifestyle and attracting new consumers to the brand who may prefer to buy into our motorcycling heritage.”

Established in 1894, Barbour has a long history as a motorcycle clothing brand under the name of Barbour International. Oilskin suits were first used for motorbiking in 1908, and in 1936, Duncan Barbour, the third generation of the family and himself a keen motorcyclist, introduced the first Barbour International motorcycling suit, named after the International Six Day Trials (ISDT) for which it was designed. As a member of the U.S. team, actor Steve McQueen famously wore a Barbour International in the ISDT in East Germany in 1964. From 2000 onwards, a range of fashion-inspired biker jackets, shirts, trousers, and accessories for men and women—all designed around this biking heritage—has grown in popularity.

Barbour International will launch with selected retail partners in September 2020.