Belstaff vs Barbour: Which Clothing Brand is Best?

Belstaff vs Barbour
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Belstaff and Barbour are two of the UK's most respected luxury brands, with both brands forging huge reputations by creating waterproof jackets and clothing built to last and look effortlessly stylish.

With similar product lines, deciding which brand to buy from can be tricky. But don't worry. We've done all of the legwork for you. In this segment of our lifestyle blogs, we explore Belstaff and Barbour, looking at the brand's products, manufacturing processes, and more to decide which is best.

First, let's get to know the two iconic companies a little better by looking at their illustrious histories...

A Brief History of Belstaff and Barbour

Belstaff history

Founded in Stoke-on-Trent in 1924 by Eli Belovitch and his son-in-law Harry Grosberg, Belstaff produced waterproof clothing and gained popularity for its durable, weather-resistant jackets.

The brand is most famous for its selection of waxed cotton motorcycle jackets and accessories but is also known for clothing adventurers, like mountaineers and even Che Guevara.

Today, the brand is owned by INEOS and continues to make quality-focused products for people from all walks of life.

Barbour history

30 years before Belstaff was formed, John Barbour began creating waterproof clothing for sailors, fishermen and dock workers in South Shields, North East England. Like Belstaff, Barbour specialised in producing durable and waterproof waxed cotton jackets.

The brand even supplied waterproof suits to the British military in WW1, a testament to how trusted the brand had become.

After the war, Barbour extended its offering to introduce new styles and appeal to new audiences, arguably its most famous piece, the Bedale jacket, becoming synonymous with British countryside attire.

Today, Barbour International remains a family-owned company, celebrated for its timeless design and heritage and for working with contemporary fashion brands to appeal to new audiences.

Belstaff vs Barbour: Which Should You Choose?

Now you're up-to-speed on both brands, it's time to get into our comparison. The five sections below - quality, cultural significance, cost, range of products and sustainability - will be scored out of 10, giving us a final score of 50.

Quality

Belstaff

Belstaff has built its reputation for creating premium-quality jackets and outerwear. Historically, the brand has made clothes for motorcycling and outdoor pursuits, meaning they must be very hard-wearing and durable to keep riders and adventurers safe from the elements.

The company even offers a 24-month guarantee on its jackets and footwear to offer peace of mind to its customers. Despite this, the brand stresses that its pieces should be appropriately looked after to maintain their quality and weatherproofing.

Barbour

Much like Belstaff jackets, Barbour is known for making jackets that stand the test of time and can face up to the harshest weather conditions. The brand has been awarded several warrants by the Royal Family, which is a significant endorsement of Barbour's quality and its proud heritage.

Like Belstaff, Barbour also offers a warranty on their clothing; however, this is only for 12 months.

Belstaff score: 9/10

Barbour score: 8.5/10

Cultural significance

Belstaff

The Belstaff brand is synonymous with quality and has been adorned by the likes of David Beckham, Ewan McGregor, Kate Moss and even the late Steve McQueen.

The brand is also known to collaborate with other premium brands, such as McLaren and Royal Enfield. This work not only helps the brand gain exposure amongst new audiences that have similarities with its core customers but also cements its place as a premium clothing company.

Belstaff's work with Royal Enfield, in particular, is notable as it saw two brands synonymous with motorcycling work together - a sign that the British company are keen to protect and promote its rich heritage.

Barbour

Barbour is a brand known for its collaborations. In recent memory, it has worked with various streetwear brands as it aims to connect with younger audiences and ensure its offering remains fresh and relevant in the ever-changing fashion landscape.

Streetwear brands such as And Wander, Ganni and A Bathing Ape have collaborated with Barbour to offer their take on staple wax jackets. Arguably, one of Barbour's most famous fashion collaborations was with the Japanese brand, Engineered Garments, which featured the Graham Jacket worn by Daniel Craig in the James Bond film No Time To Die.

In terms of the stars who've worn the brand, where to start... the Barbour jacket has been worn by a who's who of celebrities, from Hollywood royalty, like Anthony Hopkins, to actual members of the Royal Family, like Kate Middleton.

Belstaff score: 8/10

Barbour score: 9/10

Cost

Belstaff

Due to its positioning as a heritage brand and the premium quality of its jackets, it's no wonder that buying a Belstaff jacket can be expensive. The price is somewhat justified by the craftsmanship, quality and reputation the brand has built over the last 100 years.

For a classic Belstaff motorcycle jacket, like the Trialmaster, prices typically start at upwards of £450. However, more cost-effective jackets are available. If you're prepared to shop around, you may be able to find some discounted items in sales. On the other end of the scale, Belstaff jackets can cost over £1000, depending on the type and specification of the jacket.

Barbour

Similarly, for an equivalent Barbour wax jacket, like a Bedale or Beaufort, you'll have to pay around £270-£300, making them slightly more cost-effective than a Belstaff. Meanwhile, more premium Barbour jackets, i.e. those made in collaboration with other brands, can cost well over £500.

Like Belstaff jackets, Barbour pieces can be found in sales and on the second-hand market, so if you're looking to pick one up at a more affordable price, we recommend taking some time to research and compare costs.

Although the price of a Barbour waxed jacket is justified when you consider the quality and heritage of the brand in question, it is essential to remember that Belstaff jackets come with a longer warranty.

Belstaff score: 8/10

Barbour score: 8.5/10

Range of products

Belstaff

Although Belstaff is still predominantly known for its waxed cotton jacket collections, the brand has extended its offering to include other types of coats, knitwear pieces, boots and accessories like bags, belts and pins.

Despite making additional products, Belstaff remains committed to its core audience - motorcyclists and adventurers - and sells a full range of motorcycling clothing and accessories, including classic waxed motorcycle jackets and gloves for men and women.

Interested in outdoor clothing? Check out Rab vs The North Face: Which Outdoor Clothing Brand is Best?

Barbour

Like Belstaff, Barbour has moved away from its core collection of waxed and quilted jackets and offers different clothing and accessories, like umbrellas, purses and fragrances. You can even kit your dog out in a Barbour jacket, bed or blanket.

With such a varied collection of products, Barbour has not only sought to solidify its place as a premium outerwear maker but extended its brand to kit people (and their pets) out for all weathers and occasions.

Belstaff score: 7/10

Barbour score: 8/10

Sustainability

Belstaff

Belstaff is committed to becoming more eco-friendly, including participating in the Better Cotton initiative and pledging to source 80% of their cotton and leather from more sustainable sources by 2025.

To increase the longevity and sustainability of its clothing, Belstaff offers its customers a repair and re-waxing service so they can preserve the quality of their jackets for years to come. These services are only available in Belstaff stores, so if you don't live close to one, you may have to send your item elsewhere for re-waxing.

Despite this, the fashion sustainability guide, Good On You, has reviewed Belstaff 1/5, saying that the brand is "not taking adequate steps to manage its greenhouse gas emissions", so although the company is taking some steps to improve its practices, there is work to do.

Barbour

Barbour is also part of the Better Cotton initiative. It aims to source 95% of its cotton from more sustainable sources by 2030. In terms of leather, Barbour is a member of the Leather Working Group, which promotes improvement in the leather manufacturing industry.

Like Belstaff, Barbour has a repair and re-waxing service, but this is offered to everyone - you'll just have to send your item to the brand's South Shields factory.

Barbour's sustainability plan also features its Re-loved upcycling scheme. As part of this, you can send your old Barbour jackets to the company in return for a £50 voucher, and they'll recycle and re-home the coat.

Good On You has rated Barbour 2/5, stating that the company is "not taking adequate steps to ensure payment of a living wage for its workers."

Belstaff score: 5/10

Barbour score: 5.5/10

Final scores

Now, the moment we've all been waiting for, which brand is best: Belstaff or Barbour?

Belstaff score: 37/50

Barbour score: 39.5/50

By a close margin, Barbour comes out on top thanks to an impressive product range, value for money and an impressive roster of collaborations. Despite the victory, it must be said that Belstaff is an iconic British brand, and its jackets have become iconic in the fashion world.

Improve Your Outerwear With Slingo

If you want to feel the warmth and quality of pieces from Belstaff or Barbour, you need to have deep pockets - craftsmanship of this level does not come cheap…

Start building your jacket nest egg on Slingo by winning the best slots in the UK or online bingo games, and you could soon be stepping out in a waxed jacket from one of these iconic British companies.

Interested in the finer things in life, like high-end fashion and streetwear? Take a look at the following guides:

FAQs

Is Belstaff a good brand?

Belstaff is an outstanding brand with a reputation for creating high-quality jackets and outerwear. With roots in motorcycling and adventuring, the brand's clothing is designed to stand the test of time and keep its wearers stylish, safe and comfortable.

Is Barbour a good brand?

Barbour is an iconic British company with a long history of making exceptional jackets from high-quality materials. The brand received its first Royal Warrant in 1974 and has since been granted two more, in 1982 and 1987, in recognition of its craftsmanship.


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