BURBERRY store The Dubai Mall, Dubai, UAE

Where it all started

It all started in 1856. The year when founder Thomas Burberry founded Burberry at the age of 21 in Basingstoke, England. Burberry was founded on the concept that clothing should be designed to protect people from the rainy weather in England.

Burberry is a brand that keeps inventing and they started early. Thomas Burberry invented gabardine in 1879. Gabardine is a breathable, abrasion-resistant and weather-resistant fabric. A revolution in rain gear, until the invention of gabardine, rain gear was heavy and uncomfortable. Gabardine was definitely a game changer for the fashion world, which is why Burberry patented it in 1888. The gabardine fabric has proven time and time again to be the perfect weatherproof fabric. Dr. Fridtjof Nansen, a zoologist, polar explorer and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, is the first documented polar explorer to bring gabardine to the poles when he set course for the Arctic Circle.

Around 1901 the history of Burberry’s logo took a turn. Burberry held a public competition to design a new logo for them. After the competition a new logo was chosen, the logo is inspired by the 13th and 14th century armour and display at the wallace collection in London. The equestrian knight device was born. 

DR Fridtjof Nansen is not the only one to wear the gabardine fabric in extreme weather conditions. Air commodore Edward Maitland also took Burberry gabardine on quite the adventure. He wore it from crystal palace to Russia in a hot air balloon. He covered a distance of 1,117 miles in 3 ½ hours, with this accomplishment he sets the world’s long-distance overseas and the British long-distance in-flight record.


Trench coat

The tielocken coat is the forerunner to the trench coat. The tielocken coat was designed by Thomas Burberry and patented in 1912. Burberry has had a presence in London since 1891, in 1913 Burberry moves to a larger London property in Haymarkt. The new place was designed by the architect Walter Cave. Just like Fridtjof and Edward British explorer sir Ernest Shackleton took Burberry’s gabardine on an adventure. From 1914-1917 Ernest wore gabardine for three expeditions that took place in early 20th century, including the endurance expedition. 

We all know the iconic Burberry trench coat. The history of the Burberry trench coat is something not a lot of people know. It was invented in the First World War. The trench coat has a functional design that includes epaulettes, these used to suspend military equipment. D-rings were functional to carry grenades, the gun flap was designed to provide extra protection when needed. The storm shield is there to allow water to run off it smoothly, which is perfect for stormy weather.  The Burberry check is now registered as a trademark, but it wasn’t until the 1920s that the famous Burberry check was introduced as a lining to the rainwear from Burberry. Which now is the iconic trench coat.

Through the years

1934, the year that Burberry offers a same-day delivery in London, with as finishing touch their own dedicated vehicle. Burberry doesn’t stop developing because in 1937 they sponsor a record-breaking flight from Croydon to Cape Town in an aeroplane called ‘The Burberry’. Both pilots, Flying Officer Arthur Clouston and Betty Kirby-Green wore Burberry. Queen Elizabeth II herself granted Burberry a royal warrant as a weather proofer in 1955. In 1965 one in five coats exported from Britain was a Burberry product. The home of the Burberry trench coat is the factory in Castleford which Burberry acquired in 1972. The prince of Wales granted Burberry a royal warrant as an outfitter in 1990. 

1999 was a revolutionising year for Burberry. Because Burberry’s became Burberry. In this year a new logo was designed by art director Fabien Baron. In 2000 Burberry opened their first store on Bond Street in London. Christopher Baily is appointed design director in 2001. Floating on the London stock exchange Burberry becomes a public quoted company in 2002. Burberry is always improving, the brand and working on helping to improve the word around them. In 2008 the Burberry Foundation is established as an independent charity for general charitable and grant-making. 

Marking the 25th anniversary of London fashion week, the spring/summer 2010 womenswear show relocates to London from Milan in 2009. In 2010 Burberry became the first brand to livestream a fashion show, this made them the first luxury brand to join the ethical trading initiative. 2011 is the year that Burberry moved away from a wholesale and licensed business model. Retail becomes the primary route of distribution, this increased from 43% in 2005/2006 to 64% in 2010/2011. Burberry launches the first ‘tweetwalk’- premiering its spring/summer 2012 womenswear collection on Twitter and posting each look live before it goes down the runway. In 2014 Burberry directly operates over 500 stores around the world, definitely a big milestone! 


As mentioned earlier Burberry is working on helping to improve the world and fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world. In 2016 Burberry is recognised as industry leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index in the ‘Textiles, Apparel and Luxury Goods’ sector. Also in this year Burberry is the first brand to make runway collections available to consumers for purchase immediately after the show. Together with the Royal College Of Art (RCA) they announce the establishment of the Burberry material futures research group. With the aim of applying radical thinking to invent new sustainable materials, transform consumer experience and advance manufacturing to benefit the industry and wider community. 2018 is the year that Burberry celebrates diversity and inclusivity with the rainbow vintage check throughout the collection from February collection and donations to three leading organisations. The Albert Kennedy Trust, the Trevor Project and ILGA. All these organisations are dedicated to supporting LGBTQ+ youth around the world. FOTO PRINT Burberry also joins the Ellen Macarthur foundation ‘Make Fashion Circular’ initiative as a core partner. To help develop solutions to some of the biggest environmental issues faced by the fashion industry and work toward a circular economy. 



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