The Harrington Jacket: A Jacket That Changed The Face Of Britain March 10, 2016 12:29

There are not so many things that can perfectly reflect evergreen classic, but also play with the newest trends. Pieces of clothing that would give you a feeling of respect for heritage twinned with the renegade ‘Rebel Without Cause’ attitude. Only few articles can easily and without disturbance give a crystal clear message about who you are and what you stand for. Nevertheless, the Harrington jacket lives up to all those expectations and stays the same. Stylish, rebellious and the typical piece of menswear for almost 80 years of existence.
Harrington jacket
Over that time it has witnessed many social changes and became a symbol of various youth movements within the British Isles. It’s been fluctuating between men and women, among Mods and Skinheads and also between rough, working class England contrasting an American mid-century elite. Regardless of time or fashion, the Harrington Jacket’s classic trademark of checked lining, lightweight waist length and informal formality working in favour of various social occasions have remained the same since the very first moment of its production.
The jacket was first designed in the 1930s in Manchester by John and Isaac Miller, founders of the iconic menswear brand Baracuta. Adopted by classic silver screen stars like James Dean, Gregory Peck and Steve McQueen, it moved to the US in the 50s and 60s where it became an official off-duty uniform of all New Hollywood actors, high society and the Ivy League school kids who adapted their own characteristic preppy style. Thanks to the mysterious rock’n’roll figure - Elvis, the Harrington jacket conquered the music world by creating a style of the charismatic hooligan with a gentlemanly manner.
Steve McQueen wears Baracuta Harrington
Quite surprisingly, the jacket didn’t get its famous name until the mid 60s, when it was finally titled after the ‘Peyton Place’ soap opera character and preppy style icon, Rod Harrington, played by Ryan O’Neil. However, while America discovered golf, chinos and suede loafers, Britain once again gave a preference to an absolutely different path. The 1960s in London was the period of jazzy, black eyeliner kings and queens, Mods, who addressed the jacket with a new appeal. For the Harrington Jacket it was time to return home.
The jacket completed the classical Mod, Vespa look and together with chelsea boots became the biggest export of Carnaby Street. The piece was still considered as men’s business, however also this was becoming quick to change. The early 70s subculture of skinheads, brought Harrington Jackets to the masses even amongst girls who felt no shame to wear them the same way as their male counterparts. Rolled up jeans, Doc Martens, braces and Fred Perry Polos or Ben Sherman checked shirts were a must and female enthusiasm about Harrington Jackets continued even within the new-born punk subculture slightly later. The 1980s’ loudest British generation was furiously screaming its motto ‘No future’, while messing around in typical tartan-patterned skinny trousers, heavy boots and safety pins stuck through their ear lobes.
The Spitfires wear Harrington Jacket

Over many decades, the Harrington jacket has lost none of its spark and subculture affiliation. Carrying powerful spirit of previous generations the Harrington Jacket can still relate to politics, music, art and fashion all at the same time. Depending on what it’s combined with, the Harrington jacket has a unique skill to show what you actually care about the most. Is it a style or a statement? The Harrington Jacket is the right choice if you feel like covering both.

This Is England-Skins wearing Harrington
Sabine Kejlova

 

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