NEW YORK — Barbour Inc., the North American subsidiary of J. Barbour and Sons Ltd. of Great Britain, is reprising its role as Presenting Platinum Sponsor of the 19th annual New York Tartan Day Parade on Saturday.
Barbour is also sponsoring the Barbour Tartan Dog Pack of Scotties and West Highland Terriers, one of the most popular elements of the parade. As platinum sponsor, Barbour is the exclusive outfitter of contemporary clothing, accessories and dog accessories.
“The Tartan Day Parade gives Barbour a great opportunity to creatively showcase its association with tartan, and we look forward to taking part again this year as the Platinum Sponsor for 2017 while still supporting the Scottie and Westie dogs,” said Tom Hooven, general manger, Barbour Inc. North America. “Each season, we design new lifestyle collections for men, women, children and dogs using our exclusive tartans that celebrate our heritage in the British countryside.”
Before the parade, Helen Barbour, vice chairman of J. Barbour and Sons Ltd., South Shields, England, and Hooven will judge the Tartan Dog pack in three categories including Best Scottie, Best West Highland Terrier and Best Overall, and will award prizes to both dogs and their owners. A competition will be held to find up to 40 dogs that will be awarded a Barbour dog coat to wear as they strut up Sixth Avenue with their owners.
Barbour, who arrived in New York Thursday and was interviewed at the Warwick Hotel, said she looks for dogs that are wearing accessories, such as a tartan bow in their hair; that are friendly; cute; happy; well groomed, “and have been Scottished up.”
“We don’t like pushy moms,” she added.
Discussing Barbour’s involvement in the Tartan Day Parade for the third year in a row, Barbour said, “With our roots being so firmly in Scotland, it’s really a good tie-up.” She said the marchers are dressed in tartans and kilts “and they’re really proud to have all their gear on.”
In addition to dozens of Scottish and West Highland terriers, bands, pipers, dancers and clans from Scotland and throughout the U.S. and Canada will be participating. The parade begins at 2 p.m. and marches up Sixth Avenue from 44th Street to 55th Street.
Barbour herself will be dressed in a down-filled quilted Barbour jacket as well as a kilt, which was designed by Siobhan Mackenzie, an award-winning fashion designer from the Highlands of Scotland, who was awarded Best New Scottish Designer in 2016. Mackenzie graduated in 2014 and was trained in traditional kilt-making while a student at one of Scotland’s top kilt-makers, Glenisla.
Mackenzie created the kilt using a contrast pleat. The pleats alternate between a red wool and the Barbour Tartan. A traditional kilt is pleated in one fabric. The red wool has been used to create a contrast fringe and waistband. The front wrap of the kilt has been cut on the bias, again a slight change that puts a new perspective on the garment.
“It’s a visually impactful piece and the front is cut on the bias which makes it eye catching,” said Mackenzie, in a telephone interview. She believes that modern kilts are a nice addition to a woman’s wardrobe. “Worn with a cashmere sweater and heels, it’s a really versatile piece that can add to your wardrobe,” she said. She said that men generally wear kilts for special occasions and weddings.
She launched her own company three years ago that produces contemporary coats and cashmeres made in Scotland.
Barbour was founded in 1894 by John Barbour, a Scotsman from Galloway in the Borders of Scotland. The Barbour tartans today are used in jacket linings, knitwear, shirts, polos, accessories and dog coats. The colors in the tartans reflect the color images of the iconic Barbour waxed jackets with the main base colors of navy, olive and sandstone alongside gold-white-red overcheck lines. Helen’s mother, Dame Margaret Barbour, is chairman of the privately held firm, which generated about $255.6 million in sales at the current exchange rate for the period from Jan. 1, 2015 to April 30, 2016.
The U.S. is Barbour’s second-largest market after the U.K. and its fastest-growing business. The company has 11 freestanding full-price stores in the U.S., including two boutiques in Manhattan. Among its retail accounts are Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom.