British label YMC is steeped in heritage. Since its inception in 1995, Fraser Moss and Jimmy Collins have defined their brand through workwear staples with military inspirations. The U.K. trailblazer has withstood the test of time through quality craftsmanship and masterful techniques, while remaining relevant in the contemporary world with its collaborations – recently enlisting the heritage sportswear label Umbro for a rugby-inspired team-up.
Now, YMC presents its latest partnership, this time tapping on a tried and true English titan: Barbour International. The duo have come together for a refreshed take on motorcycle wear, taking clear design cues from armed forces uniforms and workwear attire. YMC’s founders have taken it upon themselves to deliver a renewed approach to a few BI classics, from the 1951 wax motorcycle suit to the authoritative biker jacket. While digging into its extensive archive, the founders found a sense of influence in 1950s Japanese biker gangs known as Bōsōzoku. Members often donned customized boilersuits, along with leather ensembles with an oversized look. British biker subcultures accompanied by a few quintessential classic films also make unmissable nods throughout the collection.
A selection of three collaborative outerwear garments sits at the helm of the range, featuring an Oversized Rider Wax Jacket decorated with a removable hood and slanted pockets, complete with an oversized fit for utmost comfort while on wheels. A waxed cotton “So Not Up” Wax Jacket and "Dirt Gang" Casual Jacket also appear with a relaxed design for everyday wear.
Crewnecks and hoodies sport a supple cotton construction, while trousers, sports caps and drawstring pouches arrive in a variety of color options.
Speaking exclusively to Hypebeast, Ian Bergin, Director of Menswear for Barbour International states:
“Great collaborations, in my opinion, happen when the people in the brands have similar values and the brands can learn something from collaborating – making both brands a bit richer at the end for the experience.
Jimmy and Fraser from YMC brought that slightly off-kilter, counterculture, metropolitan slant and infused this with our motorcycle classics. The result is a Barbour International product that is aligned with an attitude and attention to detail that is distinct to YMC - which I think is refreshing and totally wearable and indeed collectable.
The imagery and point of view they brought to the collaboration are good examples of how an established and much-loved brand like Barbour International can always be true to its heritage, whilst continuing to be relevant and exciting. Working with good people never goes out of fashion.”
Diving deeper into the collaboration that is powered by outstanding history, Hypebeast sat down with YMC co-founder Fraser Moss to look into the development of the project, from its humble beginnings to execution and delivery.
Hypebeast: Tell me about the process leading into the collaboration and how it came to be.
Fraser Moss: We were approached by Barbour International for a collaboration together a few months back. I began the collection with a moodboard and a color palette. The next step was a visit to the factory in South Shields where I worked closely with their design team on the different elements of the collection. We shared a similar ethos to design, the process ran smoothly all the way through.
Why did you choose to collaborate with a brand like Barbour International and what does it mean to you?
Barbour is an iconic British brand that is still family-owned in South Shields (North East England) after 128 years of business. Barbour International came to be in 1936 and was initially started as a motorcycling line; it’s great to work with a brand that has that kind of profound heritage. When they came knocking on our door, it was an easy decision to make.
What inspired you to create such a detailed line of quality garments?
I looked back to the origins of British bike culture, in particular, the Ton Up Boys of the 1950s. I then focused on the movies from the 60s that represented this movement, for instance, Some People and The Leather Boys. I was also inspired by the European psychedelic comic book take on bikers, such as A Girl On A Motorcycle and the incredible pop art of Guy Peellaert. Lastly, for styling purposes, I looked at the Japanese Bōsōzoku bike gangs — all these ideas were then put through the YMC blender.
You have taken Barbour International’s classic motorcycle aesthetic and added YMC’s street-style flair to it. How did you approach the collaboration design-wise?
As the old adage says: if it's not broken don't fix it. My approach was more about tweaking and twisting. I started with exaggerating the silhouette for a more relaxed feel, I then took their classic bellow pockets and enlarged them to more comic book proportions. I also wanted the garments to be multi-purpose with removable liners that work as separate jackets. I extended the collar lengths and removed the traditional buckles to create a more minimal, yet functional design.
What was your main objective when diving into Barbour International’s archive?
All I wanted was to have fun!
What do you hope that consumers take away from the collaboration?
Hopefully, they will see that this is a meeting of two British labels creating functional clothing with integrity.
Can we expect to see another project coming from YMC and Barbour International in the future?
It would be nice to continue this journey as I've bonded with the Barbour International team immensely. But only time will tell.