Barbour is so well known as the producer of waxed jackets for country wear that its brand has almost become the generic term for this type of garment. But in 2001 the Barbour group is keen to stress that it is not just a one garment - nor indeed one fabric - manufacturer.

In its autumn collection, just launched, it is employing both micro fibre polyesters and l00 per cent New Zealand Merino wool as shirting fabrics, and lambswool/cashmere yarns, as well as oiled wools, to create knitwear.

Jacket fabrics now include l00 per cent polyester fleeces, while the latest version of its Swaledale jacket comes in a knitted fabric which is a blend of 55 per cent wool and 45 per cent polyamide. The jacket is fully showerproofed but is also machine washable in temperatures up to 30 degrees C.

But the garment that Barbour is showing with most pride this season is what it describes as the world's first high tech tweed jacket, employing Barbour's branded Condura tweed. Condura is in fact an intimate blend of wool, cotton and nylon in proportions that Barbour intends to remain a trade secret.

"The result is the look of a traditional tweed but with enhanced durability and strength. It can also be finished with a fully waterproof treatment yet retain its breathable properties," said Barbour.

By Sonia Roberts