The Barbour repair shop is tucked away in a comparatively small room at the back of the main factory in South Shields, England. It’s a relatively calm space when you consider the frenetic energy that fills the factory floor not too far away. Upon entry, you immediately notice the racks and racks of well-worn old Barbour jackets that have been sent in for repair. In some cases it’s just a minor fix or re-waxing, in other cases are life or death and major surgery is required. The casual observer would say: “Why go to all the trouble just to save some old ratty coat?’ While those of us who know better would instruct the men and women of the Barbour repair shop to “please do all you can to save her”.
While a guest of Barbour at the factory, the ladies in the repair shop noticed the two torn pockets on my 10-year-old Bedale (don’t walk your dog on a leash with your hands in your pockets) and offered to fix my jacket on the spot. Before you know it, my jacket was on a table getting the snaps cut off with pliers and open heart surgery was underway. They promised me everything would be back in action in a few hours.
Much like the Red Wing re-crafting process, an old worn Barbour coat is better than new. While it’s nice to add to your collection and get new things, old and worn is always better in this situation. Fix don’t replace is my motto. Very simply, these finely made heirloom products –an old coat, pair of boots, leather briefcase or cherished suit– are dear old friends that are worth more repaired than replaced. One look around at the tattered Bedales, Beauforts, Internationals and other assorted Barbours in the repair shop says it all. Please help my old friend.
Buying and owning a jacket worth repairing explains the true spirit of the item. It also tells you that the company –like Barbour– that makes the product is special. It all goes back to my desire to “buy less, buy better”. [Barbour Repairs & Reproofing]
All better now. An entire front panel of the jacket was replaced – as you can see from the color contrast. I choose not to have the jacket reproofed at this time (I didn’t want to wait to have it shipped back to the U.S.), but I was told that if I did re-wax the color contrast would go away.