A History of Barbour International

In 1936, Duncan Barbour, the third generation of the family and a keen motorcyclist, introduced into the range a one-piece wax cotton suit called the Barbour International. Developed specifically for the 1936 International Six Day Trials (ISDT) event, and hence its name, the Barbour International became so popular that it was worn by virtually every rider on the ISDT circuit from the 1950s to the 1970s, including actor Steve McQueen in 1964.

Today, a separate stand-alone brand, Barbour International celebrates this long and rich motorcycling heritage. Men’s and women’s collections are inspired by the biker look. Styles and designs have been replicated in different contemporary fabrics alongside the original wax cotton introducing a whole new generation to this iconic style.

Barbour International was, and is, the original authentic motorcycle heritage brand. While many brands have aspired to this title, it has never been beaten.


Barbour's inaugural catalogue includes an oilskin suit suitable for motorcycling as “they are impregnable by wind or wet."


Barbour develops the first A1 one-piece bike suit, the International, in a dark green wax.


The A1 suit was adapted for military use. Turned into a two-piece jacket and trousers, it became standard issue for Britain's submariners.


The International was adopted by civvies for biking.


Motorcyclist Olga Kevelos won the first of her two gold medals at the International Six Day Trials (ISDT) in Wales. The only lady ever to win two gold medals in ISDT events (1949 and 1853), Olga competed in every ISDT until 1966 in her Barbour International.


The International jacket gained its distinctive slanted, left breast pocket allowing the wearer easy access to maps or a trials time card.


The International jacket was adopted as the official 'uniform' for the Vincent Owners Club. Vincent was known as the "Makers of the World's Fastest Standard Motorcycle" and to mark this tie-up between the two businesses, the International was dyed black.


97% of riders at the International Six Day Trials (ISDT) wore Barbour Internationals.


Barbour introduces The Black Streak suit, a new PVC suit for motorcyclists and scooter wear. Compromising of a jacket and trousers, the Barbour Black Streak had a distinctive black and white Northumbrian check lining. 


Steve McQueen and the rest of the US team stopped by in London to buy their Barbour Internationals en route to compete in the 1964 ISDT in East Germany. 


The Barbour Bomber motorcycle suit was introduced into the range in bright red and blue. Described as "good to look at and extremely comfortable to rid in" they were a popular addition to the range.


The distinctive black and gold Barbour International badge first appeared on the jackets.


Barbour celebrates the 75th anniversary of the iconic International.


The first Barbour International standalone store opens on Piccadilly, London, carrying collections for men and women.


Barbour International collaborates on a capsule menswear collection with cult Australian motorcycle brand Deus Ex Machine.


Barbour International collaborates with Triumph to build the first-ever customisation of the Triumph Thruxton R bike to show at the Bike Shed in London. It was built by Down and Out Café Racers.


The Barbour International Sessions launch, giving emerging musical artists a platform to perform.


Barbour International shows at London Fashion Week Men's for the first time, highlighting over 80 years of history and the AW17 collections.


Barbour International launches a standalone website supplying garments for men, women, children and dogs.


Barbour International wins Mainstream Brand of the Year at the Drapers Awards on 29 November.


In Autumn/Winter 2020, Barbour International collaborated with Saturdays NYC, a New York-based clothing and lifestyle brand. This was the first time Barbour International had collaborated with another brand.


Barbour International in partnership with Scotts Menswear, collaborated with North East-based musician Sam Fender on an exclusive collection.