Heritage brands have succeeded by doing what they do best, and more often than not, that means not deviating from the formula. In an era where it's best to expect the unexpected from fashion, risktaking is exactly what heritage brands need to keep their toes to the line alongside streetwear and luxury's big players.
For Barbour, this has been reflected in its collaborative efforts, putting new eyes and perspectives on its archive to recontextualize its DNA – building new ways to buy in to and appreciate core product lines.
Its biggest punt came in the way of its BAPE team-up, remixing classic Barbour waxed styles with the streetwear behemoth's iconic camouflage print, in turn giving the brands a youthful edge.
Maintaining momentum through the first quarter of 2022, Barbour taps independent British designer Ally Capellino for a full collection combining the aesthetic of both brands – building a strong case for bags into coats.
Pulling inspiration from Barbour's extensive archive, the capsule consists of six pieces of outerwear, alongside a selection of bags and hats, each of which is rendered in a military palette of "Royal Blue," "Dark Navy," and "Army Green."
Ahead of the collection's full launch online, on March 8, Ally Capellino broke down the creative process behind the capsule and detailed her favorite pieces.
What was it like working with Barbour, and what did the creative process look like?
It had its challenges as the design process took place right in the middle of lockdown, however, we adapted well to the situation we found ourselves in. We had digital access to the Barbour archive which was a real treat.
There are some amazing capes and cagoule-type jackets in there – perfect reference points to build our collection on.
What were the main challenges that you found yourselves facing throughout the design and development of the collection?
I would say working remotely was the main hurdle. I’m generally a hands-on kinda gal and like to feel the cloth and try things on a lot. It goes without saying, there were lots of zoom meetings to keep the project moving, but I missed that in-person, round-the-table discussion and product development that usually happens when designing a new collection.
Did you start working on bags or outerwear first, and how did the two inform one another?
It was the outerwear first. I spent 20 years as a clothing designer, so I have a lot of experience and knowledge in the field. Our most recognizable Ally Capellino waxed cotton bags certainly informed the finishing on the outerwear with the pocket flaps and leather details. From the responses I’ve had so far, people think it does what it says on the tin - a recognizable blend of AC and Barbour.
Both brands have robust functionality and a lasting classic style. We share a love of traditionally made waxed cotton fabrics that age beautifully.
What were the key inspirations for the collection?
I love being outside in nature and taking in dramatic landscapes like Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. I wanted to try and bring this into the collection through the earthy pallet and moody shoot location.
I began the design process with some simpler ideas, but I think a big central zip was always a strong pivot for all the styles. Gradually they evolved as it was more obvious to be making the point of the collaboration and using probably the most recognizable features of the two brands.
Which piece from the collection is your favorite?
I have two favorite styles. From the womenswear collection, I want the shorter-length hooded Tip Casual jacket in the navy, and I also want the longer Lassie casual jacket in olive. I was wearing the Ernest Casual jacket when it first arrived as well - it was much complimented.
I’ve been trying the jackets on a lot since they were finished and I would pretty much wear any one of them myself. I like the fit of the men’s jackets when they are quite oversized.