Sam Heughan has super fans. They’re not casual admirers; they don’t just ask for autographs and snap selfies. They’re on the popstar level—not just fans but fanatics. They camp out on the sidewalk overnight; they dedicate their free time to making hyperactive social media fan pages; they hyperventilate at the mere sight of the guy. Justin Bieber might understand.
The actor has the incredible success of his show, Outlander, to thank for his fame. The time-traveling drama has crafted a unique cult following and reawakened the lust for romanticized love in modern television. (And if you think it’s not for you, you should probably reconsider.) As Jamie Fraser, the fiercely loyal husband to costar Caitriona Balfe’s Claire Fraser, he’s not only a principle mover of the plot, but a lightning rod for audience obsession.
Of course, bedroom eyes and tortured love aren’t the only defining features of Outlander. It’s also set in Scotland, where Heughan was born and bred. The setting is the perfect background for the show, and the style influence that comes through on screen is one that tracks through to Heughan’s personal life as well. We talked him about the success of the show, his Scottish upbringing, and his own style evolution.
On his personal style
My personal style is a mix of of practicality, functionality, but also classic and high-quality fabrics as well. I’m a big fan of Scottish tweed and herringbone—a lot of my kilts are herringbone. Tartan as well. I think I look for something quality and something that’s maybe handcrafted. It feels good, it’s comfortable, and also the quality of the texture—it feels good, it’s comforting. A lot of the detailing in the jackets [Heughan has a capsule collection with iconic UK outerwear brand Barbour], there’s Scottish tartan or tweed on the cuffs. It’s about fine details and practicality. It’s about layering, about being cozy, and about being stylish as well.
On working with Barbour
We’ve been working on this collection for almost a year. They’ve taken into account all the things I love about Scotland, and about clothing. I think they’ve incorporated it beautifully. Barbour has this great tradition of manufacturing. It’s all handmade, and it’s a great investment. If you buy one of these jackets, it’s going to last you a lifetime.
On his Scottish influence
I’ve got three formal kilts and two less formal, for when I’m drinking beer. A lot of the landscape of Scotland and the weather and the fibers and fabrics—it’s all reflected in the Barbour collection, especially the tartan element. Scotland is always with me; I’m a proud Scotsman. I think when you wear a piece of this collection, you have a bit of Scotland with you.
On cutting his long hair from the show
I like [my grooming] slightly rugged, slightly loose. I’m a guy; we want to just throw it in and be done. I use Kevin Murphy products. I was desperate to have my hair short, but I kind of miss long hair. You might see it again.
On the success of Outlander
We’ve been working on it for four years, and it’s just amazing. This is my favorite season, probably because there’s a lot of Jamie in it. But every episode is different. It’s given me so many great opportunities. It really comes down to the fans; they’ve supported us, they’ve guided us, and they’ve given us their opinions. It’s amazing.