London Fashion Week Men’s (LFWM) presented Barbour International at the Royal Institute of British Architects for the first time yesterday, where the motorcycle heritage brand also launched its Snapchat channel (@BarbourInt).
Barbour International is the rugged younger brother of the Barbour brand we know and love with its wax jackets and countryside connotations. John Barbour originally founded the company in 1894. His grandson Duncan Barbour then diversified and revved some engines with the 1936 production of the Barbour International, a one-piece wax cotton motorcycle suit.
The suit was created with off road motorcycle event, the International Six Day Trials (ISDT), in mind. Almost every British team sported the Barbour International until 1977. The LFWM presentation celebrated that fact, tracing Barbour International’s history and highlighting individuals – the British ISDT team and Steve McQueen among them – that made motorcycle clothing cool. Then again, who wouldn’t be a sucker for a bad boy on a motorcycle, especially when he has effortless style?
Speaking of which, two gloriously shiny Triumph motorcycles were given pride of place to allow Barbour International’s gritty edge to shine through. Models stood with dirt, gravel, and tread marks underfoot to transport the AW17 collection and its undeniable influence, the motorcycle, to where it belonged – outdoors.
They wore wax, baffle, quilt, and parka designs paired with knitwear, polos, branded black and yellow fringed scarves, and functional ribbed beanies.
Scottish artist Robert Montgomery’s light sculpture poem was illuminated in capitals and read: “THE FIELDS MUST HAVE DREAMED THE ROADS FROM THE WIND IN THEIR GRASS / FROM THE SHIVERS OF SKY IN THEIR GRASS THAT WHISPER IDEAS OF FREEDOM TO THEM.” It drew attention to the stars of the show glittering underneath – limited edition A7 International jackets.
They were laid out like an updated version of the iconic jackets worn by Danny Zuko and the rest of the T-Birds in Grease, just waiting for a new batch of trendsetters to pick them up and put them on. A new year inspires a new crew and Barbour International is more than willing to provide the uniform.
Text from Montgomery’s billboard poems and light pieces is woven in luminous thread on the back of six jackets, which can be bought at Selfridges. Replica painted versions of the jackets are being given away this weekend on Barbour International’s Snapchat. One was being freshly coated during the presentation – it doesn’t get slicker than that.
Paul Wilkinson, global marketing director for Barbour said: “Barbour International is now a true standalone brand with its own lifestyle and attitudes. We wanted to deliver an experience that gives everyone a strong sense of Barbour International’s authenticity and heritage since 1936, as well as celebrating the brand’s modern day success and looking forward to its global growth for the future.”