ALEXA CHUNG FOR BARBOUR
The British It-Girl about nostalgia, rainy days and Glastonbury
Since rain belongs to the UK as tea belongs to shortbread, most of the British childhood days come with a slicker or a cape. And a lot of them smell like wax – they are Barbour jackets. They are traditional. Original. Nostalgic. Especially for Alexa Chung, who remembers riding through the fields of Hampshire. Remembers Glastonbury-times. But memories are created every day, so Barbour and Alexa Chung took the classical pieces and reinvented them in an ALEXACHUNG way. Therefore, Alexa got inspired by the legendary archive in South Shields, which reaches back into the year 1910. We talked with her about random pocket-finds, practical clothing and the yesteryear.
The first three designs, the Barbour wax jackets Patch and Edith, as well as the Barbour cape Pip, from the cooperation, are available from the 10th of June in selected stores, online at alexachung.com and Barbour.com
I What was your first impression when you heard about the potential of collaborating with Barbour?
Alexa Chung I’ve been wearing Barbour for as long as I can remember. Growing up in Hampshire, a Barbour wax jacket was part of my trusty childhood uniform and the brand has been an integral part of my wardrobe ever since. I am always selective about the brands I collaborate with and often take months deciding whether to go ahead but when I first heard about the opportunity with Barbour it really was a no brainer – I was incredibly excited by the prospect.
I Do you have any special memories wearing Barbour?
AC I have so many memories wearing Barbour but the earliest memories are probably the ones that I find incredibly nostalgic and therefore special. Spending day upon day down at the local stables mucking out my pony and hacking out down the country lanes. I was happy as Larry.
I What did you envision for this collaboration line?
AC This collection was an opportunity for me to explore how the ALEXACHUNG brand interprets an iconic and historic brand that is woven into the British psyche. I wanted to create a line that nods to this heritage but takes on the spirit of the ALEXACHUNG brand.
I What was your inspiration for this collaboration line?
AC The collaboration began with a trip to the Barbour archive which I guess is where the inspiration started. I was let loose into a room filled with every single Barbour piece through history – I was like a kid in a candy store rifling through all of these incredible pieces with such rich stories behind them. From there, it was really about how to bring the brand’s identity to the pieces so we played with colour, proportions and fabrics to create a collection which straddled both brand’s aesthetics.
I What have been the most distinguishable characteristics of working with Barbour, compared to working on your own Alexa Chung collection?
AC I went up to South Shields to the Barbour HQ where I was given free rein to delve into their archives. Some of the garments have their own personal histories, and you learn about the people that not only made but wore certain styles. In this sense, it was working with a brand with a deep sense of history that was so distinguishable to this project.
I What was fun and enjoyable about working on this collaboration?
AC I think just having my own version of a Barbour is really fun. It feels so familiar to me and so it’s been very enjoyable figuring out what my own bespoke collection would look like. Waxy dreams.
I Are there any special features or design marks we should look out for in the collection?
AC I often turn up the sleeves of my Barbour because I tend to like the sleeves a bit shorter in the arm so you can show off the lining. You look at any image of me in Barbour from yesteryear you will see that I often turn up the sleeves of the jackets One thing we have introduced in some of the styles are the clothing labels on the exterior yoke of the outerwear. The unique logo for the collaboration was taken from the archive and reimagined in some cases with a natural, ochre background colour.
I What was it like to go through the Barbour archives and did any of the items surprise you in any way?
AC I loved the patched jacket which is inspired by a retirement gift they made for a man who enjoyed all sorts of outdoor pursuits. The only surprising thing I suppose is hearing about all the weird things left in the pockets of Barbour’s people turn in to be fixed. They’ve found like dead sparrows and old mars bars in there.
I Do you have any special memories travelling with your Barbour?
AC Barbour and Glastonbury are synonymous to me. They’ve really been invaluable in the mud and rain.