A Brief History of Barbour



Harper Lewis Vintage for ASOS Marketplace

Have you ever wondered how how it all began? Vintage Barbour is a must have nowadays – we all need it in our wardrobes and we all need it when we are off to the festivals. It always looks good on you, no matter if fitted or oversized, no matter if worn or very worn, no matter if ripped or dirty. In fact, the more knackered it is – the better your indie style looks like. At Harper & Lewis there is always a great selection of vintage Barbour coats for you to go through – on H&L Vintage Asos Marketplace Boutique so as in the actual shops which are based in the City Center of Birmingham, West Midlands, UK. Let’s briefly present the Barbour story though – we’re going to put it in photos.

Why ‘BARBOUR’? – because of the founder, John Barbour, obviously.

The story of Barbour began in 1894 in the Market Place in South Shields.


1894 – The founder John Barbour opens J Barbour & Sons in 5 Market Place, South Shields


1908 – John Barbour’s son, Malcolm, produces the first mail order catalogue. By 1917 the catalogue accounts for almost 75% of Barbour’s business including international orders from as far away as Chile, South Africa and Hong Kong

1912 barbour history

1912 – J Barbour & Sons becomes J Barbour & Sons Ltd with John Barbour as Chairman and his sons Jack and Malcolm as joint Managing Directors


1918 -John Barbour dies on 7 July 1918 and is succeeded by Jack Barbour

1927-Malcolm-Barbour_0_01927 – Malcolm Barbour is appointed Chairman, due to Jack Barbour’s resignation


1928 – Duncan Barbour, Malcolm’s only son joins the business

1934 barbour history

1934 – Duncan Barbour, a keen motorcyclist, introduces a motorcycling range that quickly takes off


Virtually every British International team wears Barbour suits from 1936 to the year that Barbour pulls out of the motorcycle clothing market in 1977


1939 – They develop the Ursula suit, which becomes standard issue for members of the Submarine Service

The Ursula suit was named after the U-class submarine, Ursula whose commander Captain George Philips was instrumental in having the suits produced


1957 – 97% of all competitors who take part in the Scottish 6 Day Event ride in Barbour International Oiled Cotton suits


Barbour moves to the Simonside Trading Estate on the outskirts of South Shields and builds a manufacturing plant. After 63 years of being a retailer, Barbour became manufacturers and marketers


Duncan Barbour dies age 48 and Malcolm Barbour again takes charge of the business with Nancy and her son John Barbour, age 19


1964 – Malcolm Barbour dies age 83 and Nancy Barbour takes the role of Chairman with John as Managing Director

1968 – John Barbour dies suddenly leaving behind his young widow Margaret and their two-year-old daughter Helen

Margaret Barbour is made a member of the Board of Directors

1972 – Margaret Barbour is appointed Chairman


1974 – Barbour receives the first Royal warrant from the Duke of Edinburgh


1980 – The first lightweight thornproof short riding jacket – the Bedale – is designed


The distinctive black and gold Barbour International badge is first seen on the famous motorcycling jacket of the same name


1981 – Barbour moves into a new factory in Simonside


The company remains at Simonside to the present day


1982 – Barbour receives the second Royal Warrant by Her Majesty the Queen


1983 – The Beaufort jacket designed by Margaret Barbour is featured in the catalogue for the first time


1987 – Barbour receives the third Royal Warrant by HRH the Prince of Wales and opens an office in New Hampshire, Barbour Inc, in March


1988 – The subsidiary Barbour (Europe) Ltd. is founded in Germany. Today, the company is located in Düsseldorf

The Barbour Trust is set up to support local and national projects and community issues. Margaret Barbour donates 20% of her shares in the company to The Barbour Trust

1989 – Barbour opens an office in Paris, Barbour France in October


1991 – In June, Margaret Barbour is honoured with the award of Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to industry


1992 – Barbour wins a Queens Award for Export Achievement in 1992, 1994 & 1995

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1994 – J Barbour & Sons Ltd celebrates its centenary


1995 – Margaret Barbour is made President of the Royal Warrant Holders Association

1997 – Helen Barbour is made Vice Chairman

2001 – Margaret Barbour is appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year’s Honours List


2005 – Barbour wins the Best Shooting Clothing Product at the IPC Shooting Awards for the Northumberland range designed by Lord James Percy


2007 – Barbour is the jacket of choice at the Glastonbury Festival with acts and celebrities such as the Arctic Monkeys, Lily Allen, Peaches Geldof and Rufus Wainwright all wearing the brand


2008 – Barbour wins Best Shooting Clothing Product at the IPC Shooting Industry Awards for the Linhope Endurance 3 in 1 jacket designed by Lord James Percy

Barbour is awarded a special commendation at the Sunday Times PricewaterhouseCoopers Profit Track 100 Awards


2011 – Barbour celebrates the 75th anniversary of its iconic International motorcycle clothing

“Today the 5th generation family owned business remains in the North East, with Barbour’s headquarters located in Simonside, South Shields. Although it sources products from around the globe, Barbour’s classic wax jackets are still manufactured by hand in the factory in Simonside and each year over 100,000 jackets are processed via the central, subsidiary and local customer service operations.
In 2004, Barbour began to work with Lord James Percy, in the design and marketing of its flagship shooting clothing range – the Northumberland range. Technically advanced and highly acclaimed in 2005, the Northumberland Range won the Shooting Industry Award for best clothing product, and more recently, the Linhope 3-in-1 won the Shooting Industry Award for best clothing product, 2008. More recently he was involved, alongside Vice Chairman Helen Barbour, in designing the new Barbour Sporting collection launched for Autumn Winter 2011.

Barbour now has 11 of its own retail shops in the UK, and a presence in over 40 countries worldwide including the United States, Germany, Holland, Austria, France, Italy, Spain, Argentina, New Zealand and Japan.

There are now over 2,000 products across the two seasons and the collections now cater for Men, Ladies and Children. Broadening out from its countrywear roots, today the heritage and lifestyle clothing brand produces clothing that is designed for a full lifestyle wardrobe. As well as jackets and coats, the Barbour wardrobe includes trousers, shirts, socks, knitwear and a range of accessories.

Nevertheless, in whichever area the company now operates, it remains true to its core values as a family business which espouses the unique values of the British Countryside and brings the qualities of wit, grit and glamour to its beautifully functional clothing.”

Source: http://www.barbour.com/

Hope you enjoyed the Barbour history. Time to do some shopping now! Lots of love, H&L Vintage, xx 




Harper Lewis Vintage for ASOS Marketplace


The Sun Is Shining & We Are In Full-on Gig Mode. It’s Not Too Late To Choose Your Festival Outfit!

Listen up all you festival vintage fashion lovers, Summer is that time of year when all our thoughts turn to festivals! Get inspired by Harper & Lewis’ coolest vintage festival must haves this year, from Levi’s 501 hot cutoffs through to worn 90’s dresses, 70’s waistcoats, heavy leather jackets and dr. Martens boots. Festival season has kicked off weeks ago but if you’re still not ready for the one you are going to, then begin on with our definitive edit of all you need, whatever the weather – stay vintage – come rain or shine.

Whichever festival you’re off to within the next few weeks – V Festival or Reading/Leeds Festival – and whatever vintage look you plan to make your own, our retro collection of all the clothing beauties  was chosen for dancing out the days in!


As long as you want to feel comfy – a summer festival essential. The jumpsuit saw a revival of epic proportions last season, and thank to its comfort zone it seems to be a trend that won’t ever go away. The loveliness of the playsuit is also that it is a whole outfit in one piece – leaving more space in your bag for more vintage beauties! Go for loose, oversize linen version in grey – in case you were going to be covered in dust while dancing right in front of the main stage!


Oh, don’t forget these season’s hit – them dungarees. We absolutely love them! Hundreds of them available in our ASOS Boutique.


Keep your toes dry – wellington boots has long-been a favourite foot cover with festival-bound lovers. If you have ever been to a festival you most definately have all donned the waterproof wonders. Wellies are the only shoes to wear when the rain is falling and don’t forget we are in rainy Britain so a wet festival is more than likely to happen! For downtime, they’ll prove the perfect partner to cut-off shorts or 90’s dress worn with a wax jacket when the weather starts to thaw. Quite simply, they’re a buy you definitely won’t regret, especially when you’re off for a festival anywhere in Europe!


Make sure you’re prepared for whatever the Great British weather throws at you in…

If you’re off to any of the upcoming big festivals (so as we are! 🙂 ) in the next few weeks of August, then there is a big chance you might get caught by a warm summer shower. But don’t let the gloomy water coming down from the sky dampen your vintage apparel. Add a rustling neon vintage mac with showerproof hood to your backpack –  you will always be prepared for both rain and wind!


Keep your feet comfy while jumping long hours in on of these hipshaking tents till early morning hours (if you know what we mean 😉 ). Our retro NIKE, Adidas, Diadora and Puma sneakers are right here waiting for you to get them and start flying on the dancefloor right after jumping in front of the headliner!


Are you more into stars and stiffer rubber sole? Then we have these beautiful worn Converse All Stars trainers waiting for you in our ASOS Bouitique. The more worn look they have the coller your outfit looks like. Our model is completely addicted to those Chuck Taylor’s beauties, her favorite are the ones with soles partly fell off – true story. The charm of those rubber-soled ankle beauté is hidden in the history they have been through – the more festivals they saw the better and more vintage they look!


I see a red door and I want to paint it black. Want to flaunt yourself proudly in the crowd and let everyone know what cult bands you’re into? Get one of these black vintage tees to say “I’m with the band”. We’ve got loads of motif T-shirts available – from Guns’n’Roses through the Rolling Stones and Nirvana up to Marilyn Manson and other masters. Paint it black.


Tie Dyes – they are so colorful it’s untrue! Perfect to throw on and go to see your favorite band on stage. Sublime match with Levi’s 501 shorts. Add a little sunshine in a dark muddy day and walk proudly in the crowd – be sure your friends can always see you, even if the sun goes down!


You can never get bored of them. Never ever. We all know that! Made 140 years ago by Levi Strauss to become a summer style best friend ever. You see, these worn denim 501 are just perfect for every dressing at the festival – perfect match with tees, jumpers, coats, macs, shirts, wellies, sneakers, crop tops – simply everything! But we’ve been through this story already 😉


Why sit on the grass with your guy when you can use your super-size multicoloured scarf which can work anytime as a blanket? Why keep your heavy jumper in the bag in case it gets chilly when you can wrap yourself in a scarf? Oh wait, don’t frget the little ones – Channel your inner-70s wild child and wear it as a headband across your forehead! Silk bandanas are perfect for adding that little something extra to simple get-ups. Now fill your festival suitcase up with those handy extra layers.


One of the new festival dressing essentials and it has just arrived this Summer at Harper and Lewis Vintage! Go back to the 70’s – waistcoat makes a perfect combo with a silk shirt and Levi’s shorts or jeans. Feel like your mum spinning around with flowers in her hair!


With all that dancing, spinning and pogoing a secure bag is absolutely required for any festival stay. Wear it around your hips or across the shoulder and keep your belongings safe all the time! Bum bags are rocking at H&L, you should get one too.


Come up smelling of roses!

If you like your look with plenty of femininity, then the ultimate throw-on 90’s floral-print dresses should be your festival fashion fare of choice.  Its print, and the way it looks paired with a biker jacket – we just love it. Dress it down with a pair of Dr Martens boots, sneakers and a leather or denim jacket. Go babydoll and don’t forget to add round mirror shades to get a 100% boho chic.


Festival look is more about having fun with your fashion – so even if these slouchy printed hareems would not neccessaily live in your everyday wardrobe, they will be perfect for throwing on with a black top on V or Reading/ Leeds Festivals!


Reflect the Sun off if it is burning your skin for too long. If the yellow star is shining and you feel as you were baking then these white tops will be a style dream – just stay away from any muddy patches later!


Festival’s evening chill sets in? Then the baggy beige jumpers will keep you out the cold. Get the slouchy look by getting an oversized one. Wearit with heavy black boots or wellies. Stay cool and bang on trend!


We would all go hell for leather this season. Well, any season as the leather jackets are always in!  It is a fail-safe go-to when it comes to hanging at the festivals. Put in on a vintage tee and go rocking.


Walk back to the 14th century and become one of the Aztec empire. That’s right, shirts inspired by people living in Aztlan ages ago are an absolute must have at this year’s festivals. Team it with a pair of denim shorts to continue the look.


The colorful patterns, the oversize, the cool-girl vibe it gives off—you just can’t go wrong wearing on of our vintage silk shirts. Tuck it in your Levi’s 501 or simply wear it as a dress. Hell yeah – as a dress! Feel the warm wind on your skin. Sounds like a bliss doesn’t it?
denim jacket


Do it in denim! Get back to basics with our denim Levi’s, Lee and Wrangler jackets and shirts, the ultimate must have in fesival wear. Always cool, always grounge. Great for rocking out in day or night.


Talking about grunge – show your teen spirit for classic grunge. What was Kurt wearing all the time? Checked flannel shirt of course. Come on, it always makes you looking cool and casual – that’s what grunge is all about.


Work the military trend into the festival season ahead with our camo shirts and jackets! Perfect for throwing on over a band tee and washed jeans on one of those milder nights on a campsite.


Do you want to become head-to-toe 80’s style girl? Distress your way to the perfect vintage denim acid wash high-waist jeans. Perfect to go and see 80’s rock masters on stage with an oversized tie dye t-shirt and crop-tops.


Hooters and Las Vegas tees do not really need a description. Simply – Hooters and LV. They will always leave you looking cool.

Right guys, get your vintage bargains here and let us know if you’re going any festivals in August with us!! Hope to see you there, H&L xx

Harper Lewis Vintage for ASOS Marketplace

How to wear Vintage Levis 501 Shorts!

We obviously love vintage denim Levi’s shorts at the moment. So how do we wear them and rock our vintage world? The high-waisted look is nothing new, it first came around in the 1940’s. Sounds like ages to most of us, nevertheless the immortal cut-offs are still a must have in our wardrobes. They elongate your legs, slim your waist and make your bum look awesome.

Levi’s 501 has been with us since 1873 and there is nothing new under the Sun about this model – it has always been just great. The story of Levi’s started years earlier though.

Harper Lewis Vintage for ASOS Marketplace

The Two Horse logo is first branded onto the leather patch of the 501® jeans. 1886 in San Francisco, California Its purpose was to illustrate the strength of the pants and reinforce our status as the originator of patent riveted clothing.

The Two Horse logo was first branded onto the leather patch of the 501® jeans in 1886 in San Francisco, California.
Its purpose was to illustrate the strength of the trousers and reinforce Levi Strauss & Co. as the originator of patent riveted clothing.

The inventor of the quintessential American garment – the blue jean, was Levi Strauss, the German-American clothier.  His firm, Strauss & Co, began in 1853 in San Francisco, California.

He became an American citizen in January of 1853. In March he arrived in San Francisco, establishing a dry-goods business under his own name. He soon sold all his trade goods. Strauss saw his chance when he found out that “up in the diggings,” where the miners worked, chinos wore out very quickly. So Levi made some pairs of riveted canvas pants to sell to miners. More and more miners were coming to Strauss and asking him for a pair of those canvas trousers. Not entirely happy with canvas, Levi started using denim, a new cotton fabric from Genoa, Italy. The weavers there called the fabric “genes.” Strauss altered the name to “jeans” and then he called his pants “Levi’s”. Whatever the name, Levi’s new pants were very popular with cowboys as well as miners.

In 1928 Levi Strauss & Co. registers the Levi’s® name as a trademark.


Among the first people to wear jeans were all types of laborers, including these miners from Placer County, California in this photo taken in 1882. The traditional name of the pants were “overalls” until the 60s, when the more modern term “jeans” was first used.

Since then Levi’s jeans has been hugely popular among men. Well, with miners and laborers at the very beginning. But what about women? As we all know since the adoption of trousers in Western Europe in Late Antiquity, pants have been worn by men and not by women until the early 20th century.  Hence, the first pair of woman’s jeans were found at the beginning of 1900’s. It was exactly in 1934 when the first Lady Levi’s were first introduced. They were designed with many similar features of the men’s 501 jeans, made of pre-shrunk denim with a feminine shape.

Lady Levi's® jeans are introduced, the first jean for women. The first product Levi Strauss & Co. made for women was called “Freedom-Alls:” a one-piece garment made for both work and play, perfect for the women of the American West who had active lives.

Lady Levi’s® jeans are introduced, the first jean for women.
The first product Levi Strauss & Co. made for women was called “Freedom-Alls:” a one-piece garment made for both work and play, perfect for the women of the American West who had active lives.

Since then Levi’s jeans were the most wanted trousers in the world, while Levi’s 501 became the must have model of all the times. Must have item – got it?

Levi Strauss dies in September 26th, 1902 in San Francisco, California, U.S, and newspapers describe him as a “merchant and philanthropist.”


Quiz Time

Question: Which of these people have never worn a pair of jeans in his/her life?

1) Marilyn Monroe
2) Levi Strauss
3) Walt Disney

Answer: Levi Strauss

True story.


Time for ours!

For 140 years people have brought their own unique style to the iconic 501® and as you all know we sell a wide range of cutoffs Levi’s 501®.

The most important thing about this model is to make it your own. Levi’s 501® should be a part of your own style. It has been worn for the last 140 years by laborers, miners, hostesses, hippies, punks, rockers, skinheads, greasers, mods, factories’ workers and the like. Basically it bacame popular among a wide range of subcultures and simply ordinary people.

How do you like wearing it? If you got one of those rocking beauties from our store, or you are about to get one in the future but you have no clue what to wear it with, here are few outfits suggested by Harper and Lewis Vintage staff.


We created few outfits with four different pairs of shorts.


1. Don’t forget Levi’s 501 when going to a festival.




The bright colour and easy feel of the stonewashed denim makes for a casual look. Just throw on a dark tee and slip into some black boots for a rocking and cool approach to warm-weather festival dressing.

Rainy and muddy days at the festival? Just put a vintage leather jacket on to make your outfit look even more rocking.




Harper Lewis Vintage for ASOS Marketplace

Our model is wearing

The Rolling Stones T-shirt

Dr. Martens Boots

Stonewashed Levi’s 501 Shorts

80’s Leather Jacket

2. Chilly days alternative


No one has ever said that Levi’s cutoffs were designed for hot and sunny days only. (So as not for miners only! 😉 ) Just rag a jumper out! It can be the one borrowed from your boyfriend – the more baggy it is the better it looks. Could be a bit of a tom boy but looks as sexy as man’s shirt in the morning. Add bangles to make it look more feminine and knee high socks if you’re really cold. Really cold, rainy and windy? Oh yes, we’re in UK. Put a vintage jacket or coat on!


Our model is wearing

Vintage Winter Jumper

Wax Jacket (more coming soon)

Bright Idea Levi’s 501 Shorts

Dr. Martens Boots

3. Levi’s 501 in an office




Need to look a little bit more smart sometimes?  No worries, our cutoffs will make do here as well! Just slip into sandals or high heels and add a nice shirt to your shorts. The silk one looks perfectly smart. Don’t forget to add some jewellery and tuck your shirt in so everyone can see the most important part of your outfit!

Our model is wearing

Silk top

Summer Black Levi’s 501 Shorts

4. No idea where you’re going



The truth is, popular cutoffs will do for any ocassion, any weather and in any part of the world. They look cool in combo with trainers, heavy boots and high heels, tees and shirts, jumpers, jackets and coats, with or without belt. If you have no idea what to wear your pair today with, just rag a casual shirt or any cool top out!





Our model is wearing

Aztec Shirt

Sun Blocked Levi’s 501 Shorts

Vintage Flannel Check Shirt

Retro Converse All Stars

Retro Nike Sneakers

Striped blouse (coming soon)

Stay cool while looking hot with our Levi’s cutoffs.

Harper and Lewis Vintage, xx


Harper Lewis Vintage for ASOS Marketplace