Baracuta: Roots & Subcultures
Since its debut in 1937 in rainy Manchester, Baracuta has had a global impact on absolutely everyone, from your average Joe to countless celebrities, from brands who have seen Baracuta as an inspiration for their own collections to the music and film industry, and various subcultures. Let’s get into Baracuta’s roots – how did Baracuta come into being? and how did these subcultures take on Baracuta’s most iconic jackets as their own?
Before Baracuta was born, the Miller family - the creative geniuses behind the G9 - worked in the rainwear industry in the early 1900’s. These years of experience making waterproof coats and jackets were soon to become extremely useful. They were so highly skilled that brands such as Burberry, Aquascutum and Marks Spencer had raincoats supplied to them by the Millers. However, in 1937 all that changed. The Miller Brothers, John and Isaac, wanted to do more with their expertise and create something of their own. Thus, Baracuta was born in one of England’s rainiest cities -Manchester! The brothers must have known their brand was to become one of the most famous brands in the world, passing from generation to generation, a trendsetter, with a non-Anglo name. The brothers chose this exotic name with global success in mind. With the birth of Baracuta, was the creation of one of the world’s most iconic jackets ever known – The G9 Harrington Jacket.
John and Isaac Miller were big into Golf and played at Manchester Golfclub. This was the very place where everything changed. After seeing their fellow golfers struggle with their swing in their own jackets, they had a lightbulb moment. They lacked movement which is fundamental in the game of golf. In 1937 John and Isaac created the G9 Harrington Jacket, the same year Baracuta was founded. The brothers thought long and hard about the features this jacket was to have - style and practicality! It included a ribbed hem and cuffs, a two-button dog ear collar, an inside pocket and strategically slanted pockets with a single button closure designed to hold two golf balls. The signature look is the umbrella back yoke with a built-in vent making it a more breathable garment. This umbrella-shaped characteristic conducts rain away from the wearer and has since become one of Baracuta’s most recognisable features. To pay tribute to how the iconic jacket came about, they knew they had to name the jacket around Golf – and so they did. G stands for Golf and 9 stands for the 9 holes in the golf course.
Even though the brothers had made this revolutionary jacket, they felt something was still missing. They set out to find a key feature that would make their brand stand out. They met with Lord Lovat - Brigadier Simon Christopher Joseph Fraser, the 25th clan chief of the Clan Fraser of Lovat in Scotland and asked him if they could use his family tartan in their brand. He loved the idea and agreed. In 1938, the Miller Brothers put the finishing touches to one of the most famous jackets in the world, the first ever G9 Harrington Jacket.
Even though the G9 Harrington Jacket was initially made with golfers’ needs in mind, it has surpassed its original purpose, one of the few clothing pieces in history to have achieved this. Baracuta went global. In the 50’s the brothers opened up an office in the Empire State Building and saw the beginning of its fame in the film and music industry. The G9 Jacket was spotted in numerous Hollywood films and worn by countless high-profile celebrities which influenced the students of Ivy League campuses to get involved in the G9 craze. It really put together their Ivy League/ Preppy outfits perfectly. In 1964, Ryan O’Neal, who played Rodney Harrington in the sitcom Peyton Place adored the Baracuta G9 Jacket and was seen wearing it on the show. That G9 Jacket went on to be known as the Harrington Jacket. This name was set in stone when John Simmons, a fan of Peyton Place, opened up a store called The Ivy Shop (inspired by the Ivy League) where he sold Baracuta’s G9 Jacket. It was placed in the shop window and was called the “Harrington Jacket”. This is how Baracuta’s G9 became the first and only Harrington Jacket.
It doesn’t stop there; various British subcultures began to adopt Baracuta Jackets as their go-to piece. What are subcultures you may ask? Subcultures are groups of mini cultures within larger cultural groups who have the same belief systems, interests and way of life. British subcultures came about during the 1950’s. Money was becoming increasingly scarce, and the hotspots frequented by the youth started to close earlier which meant there wasn’t much for them to do. With the rise of Hollywood films in British cinemas, the youth began to pick up new colloquialisms and behaviours. This period also placed an emphasis on looks and hygiene and these subcultures began to adapt their style and way of life. All of this led them to being part of some of the most famous subcultural groups to ever come out of the UK. Baracuta and its G9 and G4 jackets were tightly linked to many subcultures like the Mods, Skinheads, Ska, Punks and British rockers. These groups referred to the Harrington Jacket as their everyday garb.
Skinheads who were fans of reggae and the rude boy style, were often seen sporting Baracuta’s jackets. It was very easy to distinguish a Skinhead due to their shaved heads. To finish off this look, they wore boots, shirts with braces and completed it with Baracuta’s G9 Harrington or G4 Jacket. Mods were also a very prominent subcultural group who had many Baracuta jackets in their wardrobe. Mods were modernists and liked to dress more elegantly, usually by wearing shirts with suits or with our G9 Harrington or G4 Jackets. Thanks to the UK music scene and bands like The Clash, Blur and Oasis, Baracuta’s Harrington Jacket ended up being a sought-after coat of arms for pop culture. Oasis collaborated with Baracuta back in 2009 to further solidify Baracuta’s presence within subcultures. Each group had a visually different ways to show off their style but the G9 and G4 gave each group a sense of identity. The jackets weren’t just a fashion piece to them. The G4 and the G9 Harrington Jacket helped these subcultures to express themselves and gave them the confidence to do so. Baracuta has been around since 1937. It’s a brand that has stood the test of time, throughout many historical events, movements, trends, generations and subcultures. Its timeless silhouette, superior quality and classic style have always allowed and will continue to allow the brand to progress along this path of everlasting success - while also helping people feel good and confident in their own skin.