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Fashion and High Society

The History of Burberry and Why It’s One of the Most Iconic Brands Today

The History of Burberry and Why It’s One of the Most Iconic Brands Today

The Burberry brand has long been an established brand in the United Kingdom – and in fact, around the world – and the Burberry reputation continuously exceeds itself even as trends come and go in the fashion world. So, what makes Burberry so special, and why is it so heavily identified with British fashion consciousness? Here’s what you should learn about the history of Burberry and why it’s one of the most iconic brands in fashion today.

Where – and how – it all began

Burberry was begun by Thomas Burberry as far back as 1856 when the 21-year old draper saw the need for clothing that would protect wearers from finicky British weather. The original focus of the ambitious lad was to create clothing for the outdoors, and this Basingstoke-based draper was soon the draper of choice for Lord Baden Powell and Lord Kitchener. 

Soon after, in 1879, Burberry went on to create gabardine, and his reputation solidified even further. Gabardine quickly became the go-to fabric at the time, with its weatherproof, hardwearing, and breathable qualities that revolutionised outdoor wear. Burberry gained the patent for gabardine in 1888. In 1891, Burberry’s first shop opened to fabulous reviews in Haymarket in London. After nine years, the famous ‘Equestrian Knight’ logo still identified with the brand was introduced, and it aptly included a word in Latin: ‘Prorsum,’ which means to move forwards.

The Burberry story continued in the First World War, and another popular Burberry attire – the trench coat – was worn in the trenches by British officers. The trench coat was referred to as the Tielocken, and it had a belt and was designed to protect the wearer’s entire body from their head to their toes. The typical Tielocken is distinguished by its buckle fastening and its single strap as well as a single button located on the collar. 

Burberry at the coming of the millennium 

In 1999, Burberry’s became simply ‘Burberry’ and the iconic chequered print became a symbol of the brand’s timeless, classic elegance and appeal. Although the iconic check became easily identified with the brand, it wasn’t all a bed of roses. So, in 2006, a new CEO came along and decided to take the Burberry brand a step further and removed the iconic pattern from almost all of its products, focusing at the time on fragrance and beauty. Due to this bold move, the Burberry brand revamped its image with modern consumers, and the British brand became a big favourite once again.

Another bold and innovative move by Burberry allowed it to get the right attention in the second decade of the millennium – in 2013, it introduced its ‘see now buy now’ campaign, where customers could purchase pieces from the runway online and through mobile straight after the Spring and Summer 2014 show.

In 2016, Burberry took initiative like never before and combined its subsidiaries, including Burberry Prorsum (its ready to wear line), Brit (its casual clothing line) and London (its accessory line, including trench coats and Burberry watches such as those available from reputable suppliers like LaxWatchCo) under one single name: Burberry. 

Today, Burberry continues to outdo itself and faces the future with plenty of confidence and innovation. With the brand-new logo, inspired by Thomas Burberry and created in collaboration with Peter Saville, the brand is set to take the future in its stride and is fated to remain one of the most iconic British fashion and accessory brands of all time. 

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