85 Years of the Baracuta G9 Harrington Jacket.
This year marks a milestone for one of the worlds most iconic jackets - The Baracuta G9 Harrington Jacket. In it's 85th Anniversary year and to commemorate this momentous achievement, Baracuta have gone back to where it all started way back in 1937 (1938 for the Baracuta G9), the city and streets of Manchester. Conducting a series of interviews with 13 different people, representing all walks of life, Baracuta set out to find out what the Baracuta G9 stands and stood for, with each interviewee recalling their emotional connections for the iconic outerwear piece. An emblem of true Britishness and a garment that shares an unbreakable bond with a wide range of subcultures from mods, punks, skins and ska fans to the 80s Casuals movement and of course the connection with the 1990s indie Britpop scene. On the other side of the Atlantic, the Baracuta G9 found it's way in to the wardrobes of Ivy Leaguers, an essential item of preppy attire. It was also coveted by many of Hollywood's elite. Legends to have worn the Baracuta G9 Harrington Jacket include Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and the King of Cool, Steve McQueen.
Over the course of a series of blog posts, we are going to take a look some of the 13 interviews to find some thoroughly unique Baracuta G9 stories.
We start with the story of former Baracuta employee Beryl.
No-one knows the Baracuta Harrington like Beryl. As a previous Baracuta worker, Beryl has literally had a hand in the creation of the iconic G9 jacket. Working from home, Beryl would make up to 22 G9 Jackets a week, being paid from £1.00-£2.00 for each one. Beryl has played a key part in Baracuta's long lasting journey!
Can you share your memories of crafting Baracuta Jackets?
I went to the factory and spent a week there and it was just great. That was the beginning. Came home. Every Friday 20 Jackets, worked a week. Monday's it was all the collars, pocket flaps, cuffs, all done and turned out Monday night. I did 5 coats a day on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Picked up and a new batch dropped off for me to work on.
They asked me if I could do some samples for the Omen film and they had to be spot on. Not that my work wasn't spot on, but they needed to have it really spot on for Gregory Peck. I started with wages at 50p a coat, rising to 75p, rising to £1.00. Then when I did the Omen Jackets, they gave me £2.00 a jacket which was a bonus.
How was it working with the factory?
It was interesting because it was totally different to what I had been used to. I went from baby clothes to golf jackets, it was a big change. It was interesting meeting different people. There was a man called Sid, who showed me the routine and everything. Wherever I've worked sewing, you always had to put a number. You had a number, like the baby clothes number was 278. And you knew that was your number. It was usually on the label, but wih the Baracuta Jacket it was on a little tag on the side.
Do you remember making the jacket in different colours?
Yeah, red, navy, black, beige. All different colours. And you always had to make sure that the spool was full for the oversewing because you couldn't have any joinings. No. joinings in them. People always ask how we turned them out, what we called bagging out. When you bring the right side out, you turn them through, when you've done all the inside. It's usually through a little seam on the sleeve and you pull it through and then sew that up. It made it a litlle bit complicated to make a jacket. It wasn't easy.
Other than Gregory peck, have you seen other celebrities wearing the jacket?
Well, there is one in Coronation Street. Peter Barlow is wearing one now in that and I've seen them in a lot of American things.
We know you have a very personal memory which happened many years after your time with Baracuta.
Once I was in Greece and I saw a man walking along wearing a Baracuta Jacket. The next time I saw him, I stopped him and said, "I hope you don't mind me asking, but can I have a look at your jacket". He asked why, and I explained that I used to make them. So, I looked at the inside and it was actually one of mine. It had a number 10 on it. It was a black jacket that he had bought in London. That was about 20 years ago.
Do you still see the G9 around?
I've seen it a lot on television. In the soaps and different things. Different series and when I do, I always think, "Oh, there's my jacket".