Titan of tartan, Baracuta, has been a big player in the game since its inception. Paving the way for not just movements in the fashion world, but in niche subcultures too, the established brand is known for its timeless classics such as the G9 Harrington, the G4, and the G10.
The G9, Baracuta’s most revered pièce de résistance, exploded in a way that not even founders John and Isaac Miller could have predicted. Originally created for golfers, hence the ‘G’ for golf and the ‘9’ for the nine holes in the game, the jacket surpassed the realms of the gentleman's sport, becoming more than just a golfing jacket. Having adopted staple status in our current climate, it’s important that we look back at just how the G9 Harrington seeped into the network of our sartorial psyche.
Starting with its feet rooted in the textile heartland of England, Baracuta eventually hopped across the pond, making a name for itself in 1953 post-war America. The G9 cult erupted in the ‘50s after its distribution in the US, deriving its Harrington title thanks to Ryan O’Neal wearing it as Rodney Harrington in the prime-time soap opera, Peyton Place. Top that with the idolization of cultural icons like James Dean, Elvis Presley, and Steve McQueen, whose donning of Baracuta attire spread like wildfire, turning it into a symbol of refined yet strapping masculinity.
A surge in popularity of the Harrington’s preppy look saw it assimilated into the mainstream aesthetic of the time, sported by leaders of the American establishment, such as J.F.Kennedy. The G9 was soon in every wardrobe of the American man, becoming a symbol of casual, modern style, thanks to its innovative design, characteristic cape structure, and celebrity connotation.
In complete juxtaposition, Baracuta was heavily adopted by counter-cultures in the UK, which is where its character and story really came to life. The rise of Mod culture in the ‘60s and early ‘70s, supported by the release of albums from The Who and Small Faces, saw Baracuta become the unofficial uniform of the boundary-pushing community. Early skinheads who worshipped reggae and Rudeboy style ratified the G9, finishing their regalia of a shaved head, Doc Martens, and a shirt with braces look with the Harrington’s boxy fit. Thanks to the punk scene in the UK and bands like The Clash, Baracuta’s Harrington further cemented its hallmark status, ending up a sought-after coat of arms for popular culture.
2018 saw Baracuta collab with pioneering British band B.A.D. and NOAH. Big Audio Dynamite included musicians like The Clash’s co-founder Mick Jones, as well as reggae DJ and videographer Don Letts. This three-way alliance saw the G9 honor the band’s memory and solidify Baracuta’s status in the UK’s underground and subcultural realm.
Fast-forward to 2021, and the Baracuta legacy is still alive and kicking. From Harvard gatherings to London jazz concerts, Baracuta garments have gone through half a century of metamorphosing into a symbol of authenticity and a trademark of British tailoring. The brand has now taken it one step further with its FW21 collection, bringing together all the synergy and characteristics of its two lands of origin - the UK and US.
The reimagined and extensive collection hones in on four key themes; the icons, the heritage touch, the modern timeless, and the modern contemporary. Aesthetically, the new line recalls classic colors of fall and winter in the English countryside, from warm tones of brown, burgundy, and yellow ochre, to colder shades of sage green and grey.
The vested brand comments on its own rich history by transporting the collection to the present through revisited fabrics, new washes, and color sets. Retaining its historic UK-inspired Fraser Tartan, we see archive model jackets, like the G10 and G10 AF redesigned in recycled, water-resistant Italian wool in a range of British patterns, such as Blue check, Herringbone, and Blackwatch. The G4 Wool receives new fittings and an updated length, while the famous G9 gets a fresh look and feel thanks to a houndstooth wool revamp.
Baracuta didn’t hold back on the continual upping of its fabric game, with the FW21 line offering the G9 Harrington and the iconic hunter-style Field Jacket in a new washed cord. The base of the fabric is a corduroy that has undergone an enzyme wash that gives it a softer finish, transforming the colors and giving the pieces a vintage look.
Looking beyond the Atlantic, we see how deeply the American aesthetic infiltrated the brand’s DNA through other elements of the collection. The re-energized line proposes the Baracuta Varsity Jacket, with its base structure inspired by the revised G9. The unreleased edition of the garment features felt fabric, contrasting sleeves, Fraser Tartan lining, and dedicated patches, symbolic of Ivy League College days. We also see the birth of the G9 AF College, a riff on the Varsity Jacket, but with a more understated British University approach in a variety of new colorways.
Additionally, the FW21 collection brings in elements of Baracuta’s European connections. The Duffle Coat is a garment with a long cultural history, born in Belgium near Antwerp. In 1890 it was adopted by the British Royal Navy and used until after WWII. It was then that it became extremely popular amongst students, thanks to the government surplus that saw it distributed across England. It also blew up in the Beat generation in the ‘60s, becoming popular with protestors in New York and Paris. Stylistically, the Baracuta Duffle Coat boasts the brand’s premium fabric and soft felt, with a wooden button finish and printed Blackwatch up to the hood.
Shop the G9 collection online here and in select Baracuta stores.