Burberry is a luxury fashion brand that is founded in London. Their primary focus is on making and distributing trench coats for the rich and famous, accessories, fragrances, ready-to-wear clothes, and cosmetics. The company was founded by Thomas Burberry in 1856, and back then, they made initially outdoor attire before deciding to move into the high fashion market. The company was the first to develop a wholly waterproof but breathable fabric they called the Gabardine. In this article, we are going to know more about the history of Burberry and how it achieved the status it has today.
History of Burberry
Burberry was founded in 1856 by 21-year-old Thomas Burberry, who used to be a draper’s apprentice back then. He decided to open his own store in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England. In 1870, his business was already established as a brand that focuses on outdoor attires. After nine years, Burberry introduced their iconic Gabardine, which is a water-resistant but breathable fabric . in 1891, they opened a shop in the Haymarket in London.
In 1901, Burberry introduced the Burberry Equestrian Knight Logo, which has the Latin word Prorsum, which means forwards. The company later registered the logo as a trademark in 1909. After two years, Burberry became the outfitters for Roald Amundsen, who happens to be the first man to ever reach the South Pole. And Ernest Shackleton, who was the man who leads an expedition to cross Antarctica in 1914. Also, a Burberry gabardine jacket was worn by English mountaineer George Mallory on his attempt to climb Mount Everest in 1924.
Made to meet the needs of military personnel, the iconic Burberry trench coat was created during the first World War. They are called trench coats because it was worn by British officials in the trenches. After the war was over, the trench coats became popular with civilians. In 1920, Burberry introduced their iconic check as a lining on their trench coats.
Burberry in the 21st Century
In 2001, Christopher Bailey joined the Burberry team to be its creative director. And he has been the company’s Chief Creative Officer and its CEO from 2014 to 2017. Bailey decided to stepdown as the brand’s Chief Creative Officer in 2018 and leave the company entirely later that year.
Between 2001 and 2005, Burberry became associated with the United Kingdom’s chav or anti-social lower-class youth dressed in sportswear culture. This change in reputation came after their brand was attributed to lower-priced products and the counterfeit goods that were adopting Burberry’s iconic check pattern.
In 2006, the company’s Chief Executive officer, Rose Marie Bravo, brought Burberry to mass market success because she decided to license the company. Eventually, Bravo decided to retire, and she was replaced by Angela Ahrendts. With the help of Bailey, Ahrendts successfully turned around the chav reputation that Burberry had by removing the iconic check pattern from about ten percent of their products. They also launched a fragrance and beauty product lines.
In 2018, Burberry got into some legal dispute with Target when they filed a lawsuit against them, claiming that Target copied their check print designs. The lawsuit was seeking 2 million dollars, along with the amount to cover all its legal fees.
According to reports in 2018, Burberry was destroying unsold accessories, perfumes, and clothing that was worth over £90 million in the past five years to protect their brand and prevent their products from being sold cheaply or stolen. The company said that the energy that is generated from burning their products was captured, which made their process environmentally friendly. Later that year, the company announced that it would stop smoking all their unsold products immediately. They also said that they would stop using fur in their products and that they would phase out all their items that have fur in it.
In 2019, the brand apologized to showing a hoodie that has a noose around the neck during their show at the London Fashion Week. They said that they removed the said item from their collection. Today, Burberry remains to be one of the most sought after luxury fashion brands when it comes to ready-to-wear-clothes, accessories, bags, and perfumes.