Some garments are so iconic, that it’s almost a crime if we didn’t write this article about them. We’re talking about the ‘Harrington Jacket’, also known as the ‘G9’. You may not know it by name, but you will almost certainly recognise it. We wanted to write about it because it really embodies the kind of garments we as a company, aspire to sell. Rich in history and tradition, it's a fascinated story of how an item of clothing can come to symbolise an attitude and way of life. Throw in several decades of the jacket being worn by some of the coolest actors and musicians, pivotal in major cultural and style genres…..well you’ve got a garment that’s worth talking about.
The ‘Harrington’ as it was eventually called, was a practical outer-shell jacket designed to keep the British man comfortable, dry in showers, and stylish. Designed and created by the British manufacturing company ‘Baracuta’, the jacket was launched shortly after the company was formed in 1937. Based in Manchester in the north of England, this was at the time, one of the most important places in Europe for producing cotton garments, producing at its peak in the early 20th century, eight billion yards of cloth per year.
The jacket still today uses the same tartan lining since the beginning. This particular tartan is from the Fraser Clan, and when the jacket was created, permission was given by the then chief of that Clan for its use.
The jacket was popular, but it’s journey to iconic status was one paved by the cool cats that chose to wear it. The Harrington name comes from a US soap opera called ‘Peyton Place’, in which a character called Rodney Harrington would often wear a version of the jacket. From the 1950s onwards, the jacket was imported into the US, then to be nicknamed the ‘G9’.
It’s thought that the reason it became so popular in the US, was that the cut and look of the jacket closely resembled the jackets worn by US bomber pilots in the Second World War and Korean War. It was a jacket that made a statement for those who wore it; strong, masculine yet stylish. It portrayed an image that men of the day wanted to embrace. The G9 jacket as it’s called in the US, was there to stay.
James Dean wore one in Rebel Without a Clause (1955). Elvish Presely wore one in the film King Creole (1958), Steve McQueen wore it in The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), as well as Frank Sinatra and various other James Bonds over the years.
Meanwhile back in England, the jacket became adopted as a symbol of several ‘countercultures’. The Mods, Skinheads, punks all found a place for the Harrington in their fashion statements that said “up yours to conforming’. The jacket became a way for these people to stand out, to feel different, and to use style as a powerful statement. As Baracuta say, they make ‘uniforms for belonging’.
Today, the Harrington Jacket is still made by Baracuta, and there a few brands out there making their own interpretations. The US has its own takes on the G9 jacket, and we have chosen to sell Taylor Stitch’s interpretation of this iconic piece. They call it the Montara Jacket, and honestly, we just love what they’ve done. It features a 70% cotton and 30% Nylon shell with a custom cotton lining. It has the signature double button Mandarin-style collar that’s lined with 100% corduroy. It comes in two colours - Hunter and Vintage Blue.