The Harrington jacket – The classic among the classics
Words: Sebastian Nicu
Everyone knows it, even if not everyone knows the exact name. Or the name of the manufacturer. Next to fish & chips and monarchy, the men’s G9 jacket by Baracuta is definitely one of England’s most important cultural outpourings. To avoid confusion with political summits, fans have given the jacket the nickname Harrington. Thanks to the 1960s’ British TV series »Peyton Place«, it became a star virtually overnight when Ryan O’Neal’s character Rodney Harrington was regularly seen wearing it.
However, the history of Baracuta begins much earlier: In 1937, John and Isaac Miller started producing the jacket in Manchester. In the following year, the brothers made their way to Scotland, where they asked for an audience in Beaufort Castle because they had a vision of using the traditional Scottish tartan pattern – made famous by clans and kilts – as the lining of their newly designed blousons. As you can see today, almost 100 years later, they succeeded, won over the aristocracy, and the G4 and G9 jackets became best sellers.
Originally, the wide-cut jacket was designed for golfers (hence the G in G4 and G9), but just like it is with sportswear today, the cool guys always find new pieces and wear them casually in everyday life. And in the case of the Baracuta G9, the cool guys are probably some of the coolest guys ever. Brace yourself for some serious name-dropping: Frank Sinatra, Elvis, James Dean, Pete Doherty and Liam Gallagher are just a handful of G9 geeks who have pushed the jacket’s popularity to the extreme over decades.
After John Miller decided to distribute the jacket in the USA in 1950, there was no stopping it. The hype probably reached its first peak when Steve McQueen wore the jacket in the classic »The Thomas Crown Affair« and on the cover of LIFE Magazine, but Elvis and Frank Sinatra also wore the G9 in their movies »King Creole« and »Assault on a Queen« in 1950 and 1966.
But the hype train wouldn’t stop there. The emerging punk movement of the 1970s-1980s also embraced the Harrington jacket, reaching another peak with an event that hip-hop heads might compare to RUN DMC’s adidas gigs: in 1981, all members of the punk band The Clash wore tailor-made Harrington jackets at their concert in New York’s Times Square.
Still, it is not a bad thing not to know Baracuta. After all, despite immense success, the Brits keep it quiet and the jackets – which are still made in England today – do the talking. And they speak a very clear language. With collaborations with Stussy, Engineered Garments, Oi Polloi, Mastermind, A Bathing Ape and Beastin’, among others, the Baracuta G9 has also arrived in the streetwear cosmos. But let’s be honest: What is more street than Steve McQueen’s countless chases with the police?
Baracuta is now available at HHV: Baracuta | HHV
Visual Content: V.Raeter