Born in 1937 in Manchester, a city that is renowned for it’s grim, rainy days (it’s actually chucking-it down here right now as I write this article), Baracuta is a brand that quickly became known for creating the finest of raincoats that were much needed in its northern hometown. The G9 Harrington jacket was designed when founders of the brand, John and Isaac Miller were looking to create a new, functional design for the working man that would combine their need to keep dry as well as move around freely, without the obstruction of the classic longer-length raincoat.
Their design was a shower-proof, shorter length jacket that featured elasticated cuffs and waistband with button fasten pockets and collar, but the design wasn’t quite complete. The brothers took their idea to Lord Lovat, head of the Fraser Clan in Scotland, to ask that they be given permission to use the famous red Fraser tartan as the inner-lining of their creation, a design decision that is quite possibly the reason the jacket became the British style staple that it did – when permission was granted, the Baracuta G9 Harrington Jacket was born.
In the 1950’s Baracuta began exporting its jackets to the United States and it was then that the G9’s reputation was established, starting with the early Mod’s of the decade donning the jacket as part of their Ivy League look. In 1958, Elvis Presley launched the Baracuta G9 in to fashion stardom when he wore the jacket in the film King Creole, with other icons of the era following suit and making the G9 their jacket of choice, including Steve McQueen and Frank Sinatra.
The Baracuta G9 may have shot to fame on the big screen but it was in the following decade, the 1960’s, that the jacket began its journey in becoming synonymous with British music and youth subculture, when John Simmons (owner of the iconic Ivy Shop) started stocking the jacket, for which Mod’s would literally queue around the block for. In the 1970’s, Punks as well as Mod and Ska revivalists adopted the G9 as part of their uniform with, most notably of all, The Clash playing their 1981 Times Square gig in personalised G9 Harrington jackets that were specially made for them by Baracuta, cementing the G9’s place in British fashion’s history.
Following the music scenes of the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s, came 90’s Britpop and Indie, another set of genres that came with fashion styles that were so well suited to the Baracuta G9. The Harrington jacket was once again placed firmly in the spotlight on the backs of British music icons such as Liam Gallagher, Alex Turner, Damon Albarn, Tim Burgess and Pete Doherty.