1937: British rainwear maker Baracuta began producing their now-iconic G9 jacket. Its design allows for the arms to move freely, its pockets are roomy and its cotton fabric breathes but sheds water, so golfers, a rather exclusive set in the 1930s, quickly adopted the style. Before long, though, the G9 proved its worth beyond the golf course and became a fixture in other men's closets, too.
One of the jacket's early adopters was Simon Fraser, the 24th Lord Lovat and Fraser Clan chief. If you don't know who he was, it's worth looking him up. In short, he was an eccentric, a soldier, a commando leader and a World War II hero.
If you have ever seen the movie The Longest Day, the hair-raising story therein about the taking of the Pegasus Bridge is one of his exploits. Winston Churchill described him as “the most mild-mannered man that ever scuttled ships or cut a man's throat”.
But we digress. (It's hard not to when there are so many amazing stories out there.)
Anyway, Lord Lovat liked his G9 jacket a lot. So much so, in fact, that in 1938 he gave Baracuta permission to use the Fraser tartan to line all the G9 jackets they manufacture. We're happy to say that the company is still following that tradition.
In the early 1950s Baracuta introduced the G9 to the U.S. where it immediately appealed to the subset of college students who incorporated it into their "Ivy League" look. As soon as the hip, Ivy League-wearing, bad-boy celebrities of the time were seen wearing the G9 jacket on-screen or off, it became a badge of "cool" and every guy wanted one.
Watch any of these old movies and you'll see the G9 worn by the star:
- King Creole (1954), Elvis Presley
- Rebel Without a Cause (1955), James Dean
- Assault on a Queen (1966), Frank Sinatra
- The Thomas Crowne Affair (1968), Steve McQueen
During the 1960s the G9 didn't go out of fashion as you might expect. Instead, the '60s generation absorbed it into the decade's British "Mod Look". By then the jacket had become an icon.
Still being made in the UK, the Baracuta G9 jacket has a long and colorful history. It's ageless design is still a terrific example of form working with function. And, of course, we like the fact that it's still "really cool."
Don't you think it's time you had one in your closet?