Burberry History – From the Backyard to the Runway

Burberry is a famous luxury British fashion brand that is famous for its trademarked nova-check pattern, a plaid pattern that features black, white and red stripes overlaid upon a khaki background. The brand has evolved over the past century from a simple outdoors attire manufacturer to a high-end fashion mainstay, popularized by celebrities and royalty. Burberry handbags, coats, scarves, and even umbrellas are among the fashion items sporting Burberry’s signature.

Burberry’s history began in 1856 when Thomas Burberry, 21 years old at the time, opened his own store in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England. The company focused primarily on heavy-duty all-weather outdoor clothing, producing clothing with its own patented fabric, gabardine, which is a durable water-resistant fabric that Burberry patented in 1888. No one could have imagined at the time that a brand as practical as Burberry would one day become an example of high fashion.

In 1914, the British War Office commissioned Burberry to modify the army’s officer’s coat, and this collaboration ultimately resulted in the modern day trench coat. After World War I, the trench coat reached mainstream popularity, and the classic check pattern was integrated into the line in the 1924 when the fabric was used as a lining for the coats, although the pattern wasn’t trademarked by the company until 1967. Today, the Burberry check is one of the most recognizable patterns in fashion, and is often imitated by competitors.

In recent decades, Burberry’s popularity continued to soar thanks to celebrities like Kate Moss, who was featured in the company’s ad campaigns. It’s not uncommon to see stars like Sienna Miller, Elizabeth Hurley, and Jennifer Lopez clutching Burberry handbags while walking down the red carpet. The famous faces that have shown an affinity for Burberry’s simplicity and style have helped the brand become an unmistakable mark of status and fashion.

Burberry’s latest ad campaign for Spring and Summer 2008 features younger models wearing brighter colors, which is in stark contrast with the company’s past black and white, more classically themed campaigns. According to Burberry’s creative director, Christopher Bailey, “Movement, energy and character – the defining spirit of this spring/summer 2008 ad campaign. Working together with an eclectic, British and talented group of musicians, actors, models and sports people to express a fresh new attitude of the Burberry family.”