What’s the difference between Walker and Hawkes and Barbour? And, why does one charge nearly four times more than the other for a waxed cotton jacket? Below, we’ll cover a little about Walker and Hawkes, how they stack up against Barbour, and where they might be worth your money.
About Walker and Hawkes
Walker and Hawkes began in 1982 as small Midlands-based retailer of hunting and shooting apparel. Their menswear may be defined as “rugged and good-looking” and their womenswear as “effortless, elegant and practical.”
Despite their relatively short existence compared to outwear giants like Barbour, they’ve developed a sort of cult following among hardcore trad enthusiasts and regular Ask Andy readers.
The company offers a full range of country attire for both men and women, from tweed blazers and flat caps to pleated skirts and thick stockings. We’re most interested, though, in their range of waxed outerwear.
Walker and Hawkes’ website offers more than their own brand, though. In addition to the jackets using Harris and Derby Tweeds, they feature products from Greenbelt Countrywear, House of Cheviot, and Jack Murphy.
Walker and Hawkes vs. Barbour
The waxed jackets from both companies have gotten a ton of chatter in our community, and we recently published a piece on the warmth of Barbour jackets. But, how do they stack up head-to-head?
Both companies claim to offer a heritage, country look. But, we’d argue one is a little more ‘trad’ than the other.
The cut and design aesthetic of Walker and Hawkes appears very specific to hunting and shooting culture. This, in our view, appeals to a niche audience of dedicated enthusiasts or those who genuinely do tramp through marshes at the weekend.
Barbour, on the other hand, straddles the line between farm life and fashion. It’s a global, mainstream brand with plenty of appeal for those who wear waxed jackets down country lanes or on the subway to work.
While we don’t have direct experience with Walker and Hawkes, the difference *appears* to be more in style than materials. Both flagship waxed jackets feature a 100% waxed cotton shell and 100% cotton inner lining. Barbour uses a mix of cotton and polyester for their sleeve lining while Walker and Hawkes use 100% nylon.
Some of their tweeds, however, seem to include considerable amounts of polyester and other manmade materials.
This, then, brings us to price. A Barbour Waxed Jacket with all the trimmings will set you back in excess of $400. The highest-tier jacket on the Walker and Hawkes website retails for about a third of that.
Why? Garments are manufactured to hit a price point, and Walker and Hawkes must cut corners somewhere in order to hit it. It could be quality of materials, yes. Or, it could be the limited overhead costs of staffing, brick-and-mortar retail, or expensive marketing, branding, and sponsorship campaigns.
Another difference could be how each brand positions itself in the competitive marketplace. Barbour has gradually pivoted to ‘luxury’ brand status, and the prestige of a Royal Warrant may also make the case for charging a premium price. Walker and Hawkes is much more niche and targets a specific kind of consumer.
Which Should You Choose?
That’s up to any number of factors, really. If you want a broad appear and spend more time on sidewalks than country lanes, Barbour might be your best bet. But, Barbour also doesn’t offer tweed shooting jackets or plus-fours.
What would you go for? Share your thoughts with us in our online community!