Burberry is a British luxury fashion house that is rocking the fashion world for the last 163 years and it is still dominating the apparel industry with its range of clothing and fashion accessories. Today, Burberry is ranked among the most valuable fashion brands with a brand value of $4.7 billion, according to Statista.
It was launched in 1856 as a manufacturer of outdoor attire and later ventured into fashion and clothing business and made clothes for people of all age and taste. It operates in every corner of the world under its labels and custom patches with its 475 stores which proves the influence of this fashion house on international fashion.
In our features of “Brand Profile”, we will take a look at the history of Burberry and its evolution as a world’s leading clothing and fashion brand:
1856: The Launch of Burberry
The year 1856 marks the birth of Burberry. It was established in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England by Thomas Burberry who was a young boy at the time. The brand was founded to protect people from the harsh effects of British weather. For the next 14 years, it cemented itself as a strong business that makes the best outdoor attire. But the best from this brand is yet to come.
1879: Burberry Invents Gabardine
It was in 1879 when Burberry launches its most iconic clothing “gabardine.” It got the patent in 1888 under the name of Burberry. The fabric was made primarily from wool and its texture was hardwearing, breathable and waterproof which make it a perfect attire for the outdoors.
The invention of gabardine led many companies to use this fabric in their outdoor outfits and it became a popular fabric for protecting people in the rain. Gabardine is known for its lightweight which makes it an apt piece of clothing to wear during extreme weather. It is still the chief material for making trench coat which is another best-selling clothing piece by Burberry.
1901: Burberry Gets Its First Logo
1901 was significant in history of Burberry since the brand got its first logo in the year. Burberry ran a crowdsourcing contest to create the logo for its brand and it picked the Equestrian Knight logo which featured a jockey holding a shield and flag with the words “Prorsum” which means “forward” in English. It took eight years for Burberry to patent the logo for its brand.
The Equestrian Knight logo became the official brand identity of Burberry and it remained part of its branding for the major part of twentieth century until 1999 when it removed the word “Burberry’s” from it and changed it into “Burberry” which the company used in its logos and custom made patches.
1912: Burberry Designs Tielocken Coat
In 1912, Burberry designed the Tielocken Coat which was a precursor to the famous trench coat which the company later designed for the British soldiers during World War I. Unlike a trench coat, it featured only a single strap and buckle along with a single button at the collar. The design of Tielocken Coat was instrumental in developing the trench coat.
1914: Burberry Designs Trench Coat
1914 is another landmark year in history of Burberry. World War I was in full swing and British soldiers needed lighter and more comfortable coats to fight the enemies from trenches. To cater to the needs of British army during wartime, Burberry invented trench coat which had many features that made it a functional clothing for the army personnel during the war.
It had epaulettes that were designed to hang army accessories like whistles and gloves. The D-rings in the coat were used to hold grenades. The gun flaps were added to give extra protection during combat.
It became a breakthrough product of the company and helped protect the British soldiers from harsh weather conditions during World War I. It later became a famous protective outerwear for the winters and people started buying trench coats to shield themselves against extreme cold.
Circa 1920s: Burberry Introduces the Famous Burberry Check
Burberry unveiled its famous Burberry check in 1920s that it used in its rainwear. It had a beige background and uses black, white and red as crossing lines. The tartan pattern is still visible in majority of clothing pieces of the company and distinguishes it from the other brands. Among its different clothing pieces, it is used as lining in the famous trench coat of this brand.
1965: The Sales of Burberry Coats Skyrockets
The business of Burberry reaches its zenith in 1965 and it became the leading exporter of coats from The Great Britain. The success of its business can be gauged from the fact that 1 out of 5 coats that were exported from England were made by Burberry. It was the beginning of the growing influence of Burberry fashion house.
1990: Burberry Gets the Royal Warrant of Appointment from the Prince of Wales
In 1990, Burberry receives the prestigious grant for supplying apparels to the British royalty. The grant is only served to the best businesses that monarchy loves to wear and Burberry was one of them. It proves the likeness of Burberry in British army and authenticated the standing of this brand in the world of fashion.
1999: Burberry Introduces Its New Logo
Just before the turn of the millennium, Burberry unveiled its new logo and it changed its name from “Burberry’s” to “Burberry.” Later, the company also removed the Equestrian Knight and continued with its name as the wordmark of the company.
In 2018, Burberry launched its new logo that featured the wordmark and used “London England” under it. It got rave reviews from the critics and is considered among the best logos of Burberry.
2001: Burberry Appoints Christopher Bailey as Its Design Director
The year 2001 saw a change in higher management of Burberry as the company appointed Christopher Bailey as its design director. The appointment of Christopher Bailey proved to be a pivotal turning in the history of Burberry and it reached new heights of success under its leadership. He retained the title until 2009 when he was replaced by Ricardo Tisci in 2018 as Chief Creative Officer.
This is an overview of Burberry brand and showed the significant events in the history of this famous British brand. Keep reading to learn the history and evolution of famous fashion brands.