The Baracuta Harrington is the original Harrington worn by the Mods in the 1960s. The Harrington's expression of style and attitude was attractive to Skinheads, Punks and followers of Ska, as well as Mod revivalists in the late 70s and early 80s. Yet it was designed in the 30s and originally made for export to the US.
The original Harrington jacket was designed in 1937 by John and Isaac Miller, owners of the Baracuta Clothing Company. It was a blouson style windcheater jacket with raglan sleeves, a zipper and a distinctive tartan lining. The lining was the Frazer Tartan and it was marketed as the G9. The name 'Harrington' was added much later.
The Baracuta G9 was popular with golfers in the US in the 50s. The G9 was well made and practical, as well as being a casual look in a formal age. It attracted some famous US wearers, including Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. James Dean also famously wore a red Harrington in the film 'Rebel Without a Cause'. The Harrington's place in US fashion iconography was firmly established by the end of the 50s.
In the UK, Baracuta was mainly known as a manufacturer of quality raincoats. Well made, sensible and dependable, but hardly a fashion icon.
The Harrington's place in UK fashion really began in the 60s. The Modernists (later Mods) of the early sixties loved the American Ivy League style. They sought out US style button down shirts, wing tip brogues and loafers, and combined them with Italian style suits and French hair cuts for the original Mod look. The Harrington jacket, by a strange twist of fate, got its Mod reputation because it was so cool in the US. In the sixties, Steve McQueen wore one and was pictured on the front of Life Magazine, the ultimate US coffee table magazine.
The Baracuta G9's cool and its name was sealed in 1964, when Ryan O'Neal wore one in the US soap, Peyton Place. Peyton Place was shown to UK audiences when ITV bought the show in 1965. Ryan O'Neal's character was Rodney Harrington; from then on the G9 was known as the Harrington.
The Harrington was manufactured in the UK, but it was cool by its association with the US. John Simons and Jeff Kwintner, whose Richmond store, 'The Ivy Shop', specialised in American style Ivy League men's fashion, 'discovered' the Harrington for the UK market in 1966. They opened a year earlier in 1965 and catered to a growing number of London Mods. The Harrington was great for them because they did not need to import it from the US.
The Harrington's long association with British youth fashion began when it went on sale in the Ivy Shop. As Mod came to an end, like the button down shirt, the Harrington was adopted by the Skinhead movement. It was combined with Levi 501s, Dr Marten Boots and a gingham check shirt for the definitive Skinhead look.
When young people rejected the hippy influenced style of the seventies and flares and Budgie jackets were finally discarded, the Harrington became a natural choice. It found favour with the revivalist side of Punk, with the 1979 Mod revival and with fans of Ska music. The Harrington was also a natural choice for the Mod revival in 1979. Wearing a Harrington expressed a certain attitude in the late 70s and early 80s. There was a rejection of long hair, flares and the disco music still liked by those only a few years older.
The classic look for the 1979 to 1981 era was a black Harrington. By the late 70s there were cheaper versions of the original Baracuta design available.
The original Baracuta Harrington or Baracuta G9 is still available in the original pattern which can trace its routes back to the 30s. You can buy the original Harrington in 'natural', black, navy, dark red, dark brown or tan.
Baracuta has also introduced a new version of the classic G9, the G10, Mod Harrington. It is a slimmer fitting Harrington jacket available in a similar range of colours, as well as a very bright 60s style turquoise.
Right, the Baracuta Mod Harrington in natural colour.
More on the Baracuta Harrington
Visit Baracuta's website - www.baracuta-g9.com
Your comments on the Baracuta Harrington
"I am 54, I have been wearing harrington (baracuta) since I was 16. This garment is the most ikonic jacket that there is, it is much copied but never, never, does it ever look and feel the same as the original. I need a mid brown/fawn suede Harrington, please make one......! the black leather just is too harsh, and does not show the subtleness of all it's features ." John Godwin
"I am trying to settle a dispute. I say the original barracudas I wore in the early to mid 60's had silver metal zippers" Tim fox
"i am 57 i bought my first harrington from the ivy shop in richmond i was 16 and a skinhead it was a teal type colour i wore it out to a pub in kingston the kingston hotel left it at cloak counter when i came to collect it some one had taken mine and left a grotty one behind it was made by a company called ski jump and was to big [i hope the person who stole mine didnt get any benefit from it]. ihave just purchased a light navy g9 made in england and am over the moon with it, it is nice and light and does keep the wind out to some degree. it can also been worn as smart casuual or thrown on with any type of dress i have worn with golfing polo shirts jeans and loake loafers and smooths [skinhead/suedehead style] also with shirts jeans and kicker hi boots [a later retro icon] it can be worn with dockers desert boots or jeane converse baeball boots and jeans/shorts and doesent look out of place. one last point the lining is a FRASER TARTAN NOT A FRAZER TARTAN THERES NO SUCH TARTAN." IAN FRASER