Why heritage brands are hot

From Barbour to Holland & Holland, these are the heritage brands you need to be seen in this season

The rain is falling, the frost is setting in – yup, winter’s definitely here (in our hearts – farewell, our Hillary Clinton-shaped hope) and in an actual, literal sense. But fittingly for this stiff-upper-lip moment when all we can do is adopt Winston Churchill’s motto and ‘keep buggering on’, there’s some suitably strengthening heritage-wear to sport while doing it.

The AW16 catwalks were a paean to tweeds, checks and outdoor-worthy wear. Warm, yes, but we never knew Argyll tights and corseted wool coats could be so sexy – until we saw Miuccia Prada’s beautiful texture melange, that is.

prada-f16-021Prada AW16, above

Hot heritage Gucci AW16, above

Barbour, a brand that is basically the fashion embodiment of true British grit, has had a makeover. They’ve been going since 1894 and their water-repellent wax jackets (still manufactured by hand in South Shields) are worn by everyone from the Queen to Alexa Chung. This season, their most iconic jacket styles have given a new spin by the menswear design team and turned into a capsule collection, Womens’ Heritage.


The ‘Border’ and the ‘Bedale’ have been made in new A-line shapes, with cute touches like cuffed sleeves and printed wax outers. Our personal favourite, the Raindrop Border coat, below,  is the perfect midi length, with a flattering slim cut – and we know, because we’ve tried it over a chunky jumper and jeans, and we still didn’t look like the Michelin man.


Next up – Barrie knitwear. The mill in Hawick, Scotland, has been weaving the finest cashmere for over 100 years. They began making knits for Chanel 30 years ago and were recently given long-term security when they were bought by the French house.


The factory has its own training school, where workers are taught the Barrie way over 18 months to ensure they’re up to scratch. They still manufacture for other major fashion brands, but their own recently-launched collection, Barrie Knitwear, is just as fabulous. Creative director Odile Massuger took 80s arcade games as inspiration for AW16, emblazoning knits with graphic motifs, XXL pixels and a starry blue sky in 3D.


Our final heritage-heavy label to love – hello, Holland and Holland.
A company reknowned for providing the most well-bred of clients with all the right kit for huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’ on the country’s finest estates, they recently made the genius move of appointing aristo-model extraordinaire, Stella Tennant, as designer.
Holland & Holland
Tennant, the grand-daughter of the Duke of Devonshire, was born and still lives in the Scottish Borders. Along with her friend and co-designer Isabella Cawdor, the daughter of the Earl of Harrington and a fellow Highlands-dweller, they are the living embodiment of how to pull off wet-weather gear in style. They resemble a pair of supremely charming, elegant greyhounds, and they know exactly what you want in a chunky knit (for it to be fine and not too chunky) or a wax gilet (for it not to be cut like it’s for your grandad). We’ll be saving up for a parka and a tweed A-line skirt. But they do define investment gear – they’re so hardy and perennial, our grandchildren will still be wearing them in decades to come. Possibly not on the grounds of any family estates. But still.

Now, where did we put those corgis?

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