Ken Varey Outdoor Wear carefully select our suppliers to ensure that our customers are always 100% satisfied with their purchase. In the first of a series of articles looking in more detail at some of our most trusted suppliers, we focus on the history of all-time favourites Barbour and Loake Bedale.
Three brothers, John, Thomas and William Loake, established this influential footwear brand in Ketteting in 1880. The footwear they produced was of such unprecedented quality that demand increased quickly, with a full scale factory being opened a few years later.
The company produced footwear using a 300-year-old welted construction process which is so successful that it remains practically unchanged to this day. Its factory is still located in Kettering and is now run by Andrew Loake, the great-grandson of original co-founder John Loake. Loake now export footwear to 50 countries around the world and it is estimated that the company has produced more than 50 MILLION pairs of boots and shoes.
Scottish-born John Barbour established J. Barbour & Sons in South Shields in 1894, when it was originally an importer of oilcloth. It continued in this line for several years until Duncan Barbour, John's grandson and a keen motorcyclist, took the company in a new direction when he originated waxed cotton motorcycle jackets and suits using his grandfather's fabric.
The company's headquarters remain in Simonside, South Shields, where many of its products are still manufactured. Barbour holds the royal warrant to supply waterproof and protective clothing to Her Majesty the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales.
Ken Varey Outdoor Wear stock a comprehensive collection of clothes from these historic brands. Find out more on our website and subscribe to our newsletter for the next installment in this series of articles.