In 1964 Steve McQueen and the rest of the US team wore the original International biker suits at the International Six Day Trial in East Germany. The Barbour International Steve McQueen collection of clothing celebrates the passion and skill that Steve McQueen had for motorcycling, and is sure to bring some iconic style to your wardrobe. Biker inspired jackets feature alongside graphic tees that celebrate the legend that was Steve McQueen and reflect the iconic and legendary style of ‘the King of Cool’.
We chat to Catherine Brown, design assistant at Barbour, who has worked on the Steve McQueen collection for 13 years.
Q: What is your role at Barbour?
My role here at Barbour is designing the clothing range for Steve McQueen. This includes creating the colour story and seasonal direction, researching Steve McQueen imagery and the Barbour International archive and collaborating with our Graphic designer on graphic direction. I work closely alongside Outerwear to ensure our products sit together and most importantly represent the spirit of Steve McQueen. Once all styles and artworks are created, they are sampled then all the products are signed off by the Steve McQueen estate.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself…
I have been at Barbour for nearly 13 years. I have worked from the very start on the Steve McQueen collaboration and seeing the range evolve and its popularity grow is really rewarding.
I have a lot of passion for the brand and have been lucky enough over the years to gain lots of experience working on various teams including the Menswear Outerwear Design and Technical teams, Accessories and Clothing.
Q. What’s your favourite thing about working at Barbour?
I feel proud to be working at Barbour and love that it is still a family run business through 5 generations over 125 years with a massive amount of heritage.
Favourite stand out moments have included seeing garments I have created being worn on the street and on one occasion even on the big screen! This gives me a real sense of pride in what I do and what I am part of here at Barbour.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you?
This depends on where we are in the design season and no two days are the same. As well as working on the Steve McQueen new range colours, theme & mood. I could be working on past season design specification updates throughout the Barbour International ranges, colouring up overview ranges, attending fit meeting’s, working on PowerPoints & writing up the catalogue information for the seasonal brochures.
Approving lab dips, printed graphic artworks, working with the suppliers when picking shirt fabrics and putting styles into work. On many occasions’ seasons cross over so you might be checking lab dip colours for a spring summer season one moment then attending a fitting on an autumn winter garment the next.
Q: Where do you draw inspiration from?
First and foremost, everything starts with Steve McQueen and this involves looking through our archives here at Barbour as well as the Steve McQueen estate. Steve McQueen is a true icon from how he dressed, the roles he played to how he was as a man. Looking through American and Military Vintage clothing also provides inspiration to keep true to what he would have worn himself.
Q. What kind of research goes into making the Steve McQueen collection?
The challenge is keeping the range fresh each season, so we achieve this through colours, fabric’s and print techniques. This means not only researching the past but looking at current trends and working with suppliers to achieve newness.
Q: What makes the Steve McQueen collection special?
The product is special because it stands out in its own right from the rest of the Barbour International ranges as it has its own unique aesthetic. It’s been the longest Barbour International collaboration and I have loved seeing it evolve as I have been working with this range from day one. It is exciting to mix British and American classic menswear design pieces together to create something special.
Q: What can we expect to see from the Steve McQueen collection next?
For the up and coming new range you can expect a newness of checks in various colours, designs and scales, but all with an Americana flavour. The tees will always be a big focus for the Steve McQueen range, and this season will hopefully not disappoint with bold photographic prints of Steve McQueen alongside garment dyed branded text applications, single jerseys & cotton slubs. We always like the range to feel like a timeless assortment so that it is just as relevant in today’s wardrobe as Steve McQueen’s!