Does anyone here love trenchcoats? Well, I do and Burberry is the brand responsible for those graceful fashion pieces. Headquartered at London, England, Burberry is one of the oldest British Luxury fashion house established in 1856 by Thomas Burberry. After completing more than 160 years, it has established itself as a fashion line that focuses and distributes ready-to-wear outerwear, fashion accessories, fragrances, sunglasses, and cosmetics. Because of its popularity around the world, it was called ‘Burberrys of London’ for a brief period of time only to rename it to ‘Burberry’ again later.
Initially, Burberry only looked after the development of the outdoor attire, then gradually moved into the high fashion market developing a first of its kind fabric called ‘Gabardine’, The best part about this garment is that it is completely breathable and waterproof, exclusively made for the brand. They have a unique collection of pattern-based scarves, trench coats, and other fashion accessories.
No one can forget its distinctive check pattern which was one of its most widely copied trademarks. Burberry has branded stores and franchises around the world and sells through concessions in the third party stores. The history of its coats is magnificent as it was worn during the First World War by British soldiers. Over the years, Burberry has become a huge part of the British culture that even Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince of Wales have granted the company Royal Warrants. Burberry now has more than 500 stores in over 50 countries.
The main credit to their popularity goes to the British army as they wore it during the WW1. After the war, it became popular with civilians. The iconic Burberry check has been in use since at least the 1920s, primarily as a lining in its trench coats.
Burberry was founded in 1856 when a 21-year-old Thomas Burberry, a former draper’s apprentice, opened his own store in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England.
The business had established itself by focusing on the development of outdoor attire by 1870.
Around 1879, they introduced their own fabric named ‘Gabardine’, a hardwearing, water-resistant, breathable fabric, where before weaving, the yarn is waterproofed.
In 1891, Burberry opened a shop in the Haymarket, London. Trench coats were initially called the Tielocken worn by the British officers and featured a belt with no buttons, was double-breasted and protected the body from neck to knees.
The Burberry Equestrian Knight Logo was developed containing the Latin word ‘Prorsum’ in 1901 which means ‘forwards’.
Burberry later registered it as a trademark in 1909.
In 1911, the company became the outfitter for Roald Amundsen, the first man to reach the South Pole.
It also designed an outfit for Ernest Shackleton, who led a 1914 expedition to cross Antarctica.
The Burberry Gabardine jacket was worn by George Mallory on his attempt on Mount Everest in 1924.
In 1937, A.E. Clouston and Betty Kirby-Green broke the world record for the fastest return flight from London to Cape Town in The Burberry airplane that was sponsored by the brand.
Burberry was an independent family-controlled company until 1955 when Great Universal Stores (GUS) assumed ownership.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Burberry signed agreements with worldwide manufacturers to produce complementary products to the existing British collection such as suits, trousers, shirts, sportswear, accessories, for men, ladies, and children. These products, designed under the strict control of headquarters in London, were produced and distributed through independent retail stores worldwide as well as the Burberry stores and contributed to the growth of the brand in sales and profits through to the late 90s.
In 1998, they changed their marketing name to ‘Burberrys’ following the retirement of the aforementioned.
The name was reverted back to the original, ‘Burberry’ in 1999. But, the name ‘Burberrys of London’ was so popular that it is still visible on many older products.
In May 2001, Christopher Bailey joined Burberry as creative director.
Between 2001 and 2005, Burberry became associated with ‘chav’ and football hooligan culture. This change in the brand reputation was attributed to lower-priced products, the proliferation of counterfeit goods adopting Burberry’s trademark check pattern. The association with football hooliganism led to the wearing of Burberry check garments being banned at some venues.
Burberry Group plc was initially floated on the London Stock Exchange in July 2002.
In 2005, Sanyo-shokai was the Burberry ready-to-wear license holder in Japan with a retail value of £435 million. GUS divested its remaining interest in Burberry in December 2005.
In 2006, Rose Marie Bravo, who as Chief Executive had led Burberry to mass market success through licensing, decided to retire. She was replaced by another American, Angela Ahrendts, who joined from Liz Claiborne in January 2006 and took up the position of CEO on 1 July 2006. Burberry first began selling online in the US, followed by the UK in October 2006.
Burberry conquered the rest of the European countries in 2007.
Bailey became Chief Creative Officer in November 2009.
It was reported that during 2012, Ahrendts was the highest paid CEO in the UK, making £16.9m, the first time an English woman has held that title.
In October 2013, it was announced that Ahrendts would take up the position of Senior Vice President of retail and online at Apple, Inc. from April 2014, and will be replaced as CEO by Bailey. Although Burberry promotes its British connection, as of July 2012, Burberry maintains two production facilities in Great Britain, one in Castleford producing raincoats, and one in Keighley.
In spring 2014, fashion designer Christopher Bailey became CEO of Burberry and retained the role as a chief creative officer. His basic salary was £1.1m, with total compensation of up to £10m a year depending on sales targets being met.
In 2015, Burberry ranked 73rd in Interbrand’s Best Global Brands report, ahead of Ralph Lauren and Hugo Boss.
In 2016, Burberry had an increase in reported profits, with 77 percent of sales coming from Burberry’s stores. The increase was in part attributed to strong sales in Asia. In July 2016, it was announced that Céline boss Marco Gobbetti would become CEO of the FTSE 100 Company, while Christopher Bailey became the Creative Director and President. The label also launched its ‘Mr. Burberry’ fragrance.
In July 2017, Gobbetti replaced Bailey as CEO. In early May 2017, the store announced it was moving 300 employees from London to Leeds.
In March 2018, Burberry named Riccardo Tisci as the brand’s Chief Creative Officer.
The infamous Burberry trench coats were earlier made only in two colours – khaki and black. From 2015, after more than 100 years, they added more colours such as red, white and honey to their trench coats. Today, Burberry is the brand worn most by the celebrities and was ranked at the 73rd position in Interbrand’s Best Global Brands report, ahead of Ralph Lauren and Hugo Boss.
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