Heritage outerwear brand Barbour has strengthened its design team with the signing of five new members as part of an effort to grow its credentials as a lifestyle brand.
The new appointments will oversee an increase in the amount of knitwear, T-shirts and trousers produced by the brand, in line with a more on-trend look that has helped it increase its outerwear sales in the UK.
Sue Smedley Roberts and Sara Orell have joined as design and development managers.
Smedley Roberts, who previously worked for Pentland Brands, will have responsibility for developing the technical aspects of Barbour’s sporting collection as well as shirts, hats and footwear.
Orell, who was formerly a senior designer at Sainsbury’s Tu, will take overall responsibility for knits, wovens and accessories.
Alan Scott has been recruited in a consultancy role, initially to develop Barbour’s trouser offer. He has previously worked as design director for Donna Karan menswear among others.
Two junior designers have also been appointed. Ex-Fox Racing’s Chickaira Morrell will support design and development manager Andrea Freeman on womenswear, while Liz Okaroh, who has worked at Ben Sherman and Nigel Cabourn, will work with design and development manager Gary Janes as junior menswear designer.
Barbour managing director Steve Buck said: “These appointments reflect our determination to develop the business and offer a full Barbour wardrobe.”
He added: “We are in it for the long haul and not just to make a quick buck. There are two things we have to do to achieve that. One is to make sure our outerwear is relevant and of the moment, and the other is to develop the Barbour personality across other categories. We will make sure we get the product right first and that our customers like it before we start making a big noise.”
Barbour’s new categories are knitwear, wovens, T-shirts and trousers for both men and women. Buck acknowledged that the menswear business is more developed, but said that since its launch in 2003 womenswear now comprises 30% of the brand’s sales.
Buck said he expected product to show the effect of the new recruits on quicker-to-turnaround items, but that the changes wouldn’t have a full impact until autumn 09.
He added that the brand would be happy to talk to any stores pitched at mid- to high-end shoppers that are prepared be long-term stockists.