In 2005, Patrick Grant sold his car and his home so he could buy Norton & Sons, a struggling 184-year-old Savile Row tailor. With a newfound focus on its heritage, the brand began refining fits and finishes, and in just a few years has become known for creating beautiful bespoke suiting of superior quality. This fall, the London shop begins a collaboration with the legendary Barbour brand, designed by Grant himself. Intial news of the collection made waves in menswear circles, but with the first releases now hitting stores, we rang up the always dapper designer. Herewith, his thoughts on combining the sharp cuts of bespoke tailoring with the tough-as-nails practicality of the iconic oilcloth outerwear.
Barra anorak, $695
Barbour actually approached me about two years ago. They told me they were thinking of changing the creative direction on the Beacon Heritage line and asked if I'd be interested. We talked about what my approach might be (a return to much simpler, more robust, British made pieces, like the ones I remembered from Barbour as a younger man) and happily, they thought that seemed right.
My dad had a full suit, which I coveted greatly, but my own first was a navy blue Border jacket. I still have it—much worn and much loved, today.
There was something charmingly utilitarian and ruggedly functional about the early Barbour clothing. Clothing designed for working men in Northumberland, men who were outdoors in all sorts of terrible weather. But these pieces were designed in days when you need to wear half a dozen huge thick jumpers just to stay alive. The fit was critical to bringing them up to date. Bodies have been shaped and narrowed, sleeves have been slimmed. We retain a nod to those early pieces, especially in our use of uncompromising quality in the materials, but they fit like 21st century clothes.