In the world of timeless clothing classics, one British icon reigns supreme – the G9 Harrington Jacket by Baracuta.
Crafted in the heart of Manchester, UK, this iconic piece of outerwear has been a wardrobe staple since its debut in 1937. Designed by the visionary Miller Brothers, John and Isaac, whose expertise in the rainwear industry fed their pioneering work with outerwear, the G9 Harrington was destined for greatness from the very beginning.
Picture this: Manchester, a golf course, and two brothers with a penchant for innovation. As ardent golf enthusiasts, the Millers observed their fellow golfers battling the wet and windy Manchester weather in inadequate attire. The idea for a jacket that could shield golfers from the elements while maintaining comfort was born.
The G9 jacket was originally born from function, boasting distinctive features like ribbed hems and cuffs, a two-button dog ear collar, an interior pocket, and cleverly slanted pockets with single-button closures designed to hold two golf balls. But the pièce de résistance is the umbrella back yoke with a built-in vent, enhancing breathability and redirecting rain away from the wearer. This unique design element has become one of Baracuta’s most recognizable features. It’s an innovation taken from rainwear with a more comprehensive coverage of fabric and therefore a greater need for air to circulate. On a comparatively small jacket this would at first seem out of place, but it came to a perfect distinguishing feature. The Miller Brothers had built a strong reputation in rainwear, making for Burberry and Aquascutum to name but two. This knowledge and experience working with historic, premium brands was invested in the G9.
The name “G9” itself tells a story – ‘G’ for golf and ‘9’ for the 9 holes of a golf course. This was an era when form followed function remember, so all design features were based on the purpose of the garment. But the Miller Brothers felt that something was missing, a signature that would set their creation apart, beyond its usefulness. With this in mind, in 1938, they ventured to Scotland and met with Brigadier Simon Christopher Joseph Fraser, the 25th Clan Chief of the Clan Fraser of Lovat. They sought permission to incorporate the Fraser Tartan, an emblem of resilience and longevity, into their garments. The brothers felt the Fraser Tartan, with its centuries-old history, was a fitting symbol for the G9 Jacket’s durability and timelessness. Upon their return to Manchester, the G9 Harrington was lined with this treasured tartan, completing its distinctive character.
While the G9 Harrington Jacket was born on the golf course, like many design classics, its cultural resonance is what really propelled it into the wider world’s consciousness. Today we see influencers play transformative roles in the popularity of brands, but this is not a new phenomenon. The G9 owes a large portion of its popularity to the Hollywood celebrities who wore it in movies and daily life, solidifying its status and adding a new dimension to its desirability.. Ivy League students were quick to adopt the “preppy” or “Ivy League” look, hanging posters of celebrities sporting the G9 in their dorms. In 1964, Ryan O’Neal’s affinity for the G9 in his role as Rodney Harrington in Peyton Place led to its affectionate nickname, the Harrington Jacket. This name was officially enshrined when John Simmons opened The Ivy Shop, inspired by the Ivy League, and placed the G9 in the storefront with the label “Harrington Jacket.” Though many recognise the G9 moniker, the Harrington name is the one most synonymous with the jacket.
The G9’s popularity surged further as it was embraced by subcultures like the Mods, Skinheads, Ska, Punks, and British rockers, who all felt an affinity with it. Bands such as The Clash and Eric Clapton rocked the G9 on stage, further cementing its iconic status. For an item designed to make golfers more comfortable in the notoriously changeable British weather, this transformation into a cultural icon was impressive.
Take any of the most celebrated male movie stars or musician from the 20th century and the chances are that at one time, whether on screen or in their own personal life, they’ll have donned the G9. From Elvis Presley, Steve McQueen and Frank Sinatra to Leonardo Di Caprio and Daniel Craig, this is style, not fashion.
Decades have passed, but the Baracuta G9 Harrington Jacket endures. Any authority on design will point to the value of simplicity in design. The G9 would at first glance appear to be a straighforward design, but its hidden depths are what make it such an enduring design. From those functional pockets, cut and shaped in a particular way, to the tartan within, rarely seen when worn, it’s an austere piece that embodies what it is to simply be cool.
The G9 has become a symbol of British heritage and a testament to enduring classics. Baracuta takes pride in its commitment to crafting this iconic piece, which remains, as it always has been, proudly made in the UK. The G9 Harrington Jacket is not just a piece of clothing; it’s a British legend.