British country lifestyle brand Barbour (Tyne and Wear, U.K.) draws a traditional core audience of fisherman, hunters and horseback riders who tend to go for its classic and sporting lines. In more recent years, the brand, whose history dates back to the 1890s, has witnessed a new flock of shoppers: fashion-conscious young adults who like the Beacon Heritage collection and its hip products such as the motorcycle-inspired international jacket.
So the brand, known for its weatherproof waxed-cotton jackets, decided to bring its heritage and lifestyle lines – and all those customers – together in one setting at its new store in the Covent Garden district of London.
“By showing off all of our different ranges, we have opened up the store to a wide spectrum of customers who are buying the brand for different reasons,” says Julian Ash, Barbour’s international merchandiser and store fit manager.
Measuring 3323 square feet and located on two levels, this is Barbour’s newest and largest-to-date flagship. The customer’s journey through the expansive apparel line begins on the first floor where quilted jackets and trench coats are displayed next to archival images from the 1890s and contemporary lifestyle photography. Outdoor scenes serve as background graphics, while props, including riding helmets and duck decoys, help to “strengthen the association between the product and the brand’s long history,” Ash says. The combination of distressed wooden tables, exposed brick, galvanized tubing clamps and a wall-mounted frame system constructed from distressed walnut creates an industrial setting to complement the space’s main prop – a vintage motorcycle.
As a nod to its riding history, a 1966 Greeves Anglian model 24tgs bike is positioned on a table near the motorcycle jackets. “From the late 1930s to the ’70s, Barbour was the leading motorcycle clothing brand, particularly in trials riding,” says Ash.
An open staircase takes shoppers from the hipper first floor to the more tranquil setting on the second, which features vintage saddles and goal post units made from European oak. Both levels use similar materials in different ways to create a flow. For example, the walnut in the graphics frames on the ground level is repeated in the walnut flooring upstairs. “The mix of materials is important for the authenticity of the store and to create cohesion between the two areas,” Ash says.
On the walls, he chose brighter paint shades – including hunter green – for the first floor, and more tranquil hues of the same colors on the second.
The brand continues to branch out, introducing new apparel items to outfit its customers with a full lifestyle wardrobe. The design of the Covent Garden store will be part of that new chapter as Barbour continues on a global store rollout.
Retailer: J. Barbour & Sons Ltd., Tyne and Wear, U.K.
Design: J. Barbour & Sons Ltd. – Julian Ash, international merchandiser and store fit manager
Architect/Outside Design Consultants: Owen Design Associates Ltd., Slough, U.K.
General Contractor: Active Commercial Interiors, Coventry, U.K.
Ceilings, Flooring, Furniture: Active Commercial Interiors, Coventry, U.K.
Fixtures: Visplay Intl. GmbH, Weil am Rhein, Germany; Active Commercial Interiors, Coventry, U.K.
Lighting: Hacel, Newcastle Upon Tyne, U.K.
Mannequins/Forms: Proportion, London; Clerkenwell, London
Signage/Graphics: Technical Signs, Watford, U.K.
Graphics: Boom Creative, Newcastle Upon Tyne, U.K.
Wall Coverings and Materials: Wiggins Building Supplies Ltd., Berkshire, U.K