Founded in 1856, Burberry is a global luxury brand with a distinctive British identity. The brand has a strong reputation for design, innovation and craftsmanship.
The Pioneering Spirit
Founded in 1856, our brand is built on a reputation for design, innovation and craftsmanship. With the invention of gabardine by Thomas Burberry more than 130 years ago, outerwear has been at the core of the business and remains so today – best expressed through the iconic Burberry trench coat.
Burberry has a pioneering and adventurous past. In 1879, Company founder Thomas Burberry (1835-1926) invented gabardine, the innovative weatherproof cotton fabric, which revolutionised rainwear. Gabardine has since protected a long line of pioneers on their journeys and expeditions, helping them to achieve their dreams.
The polar explorers of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration chose Burberry gabardine to accompany them to one of the most inhospitable regions on earth. The famous explorers Sir Ernest Shackleton, Sir Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Roald Amundsen, who was the first to conquer the South Pole in 1911, favoured Burberry gabardine clothing and also used the fabric to construct their tents as it was lightweight and windproof.
Burberry also provided kit for the intrepid amateur and professional motorist in the early twentieth century. Record-breaking racing drivers including Malcolm Campbell and Selwyn Edge, who both raced at Brooklands in Hampshire, were among Burberry’s patrons. Burberry also dressed pilots in the formative days of aviation; this was not limited to aeroplanes but also included hot air balloons. In 1937, Burberry sponsored a record-breaking return flight from London, England to Cape Town, South Africa. The plane, named ‘The Burberry’, was piloted by Flying Officer Arthur Clouston who wore an all-in-one Burberry gabardine flying suit. His co-pilot Betty Kirby-Green also wore a bespoke tailored Burberry ensemble.
The trench coat is synonymous with the Burberry brand. The first style, called the ‘Tielocken’, was an innovative design featuring a belted closure with no buttons and was patented by Thomas Burberry in 1912. During the First World War, Burberry adapted the design to meet the needs of the military, adding the epaulettes, gun flap, storm shield and D-rings. The trench coat was worn by Officers in both World Wars and has evolved over 100 years to represent design innovation and timeless British style.
The Runway Shows
Burberry runway shows inspire with critically acclaimed collections and innovative digital partnerships. The global reach of the shows are extended with live-streaming on digital channels. Burberry operates under the “see now, buy now” show format, which replaces the previous four show calendar with a biannual mixed gender show. This came into effect for the September 2016 show where collections were available to purchase immediately after the show for the first time. Even though the shows are now twice a year, all Burberry shows feature products from all four seasons, designed for a global audience.
Our digital mind-set is fundamental to the brand strategy and approach. This way of thinking underpins how we connects with our customers globally, using digital and customer insight to enhance customer experiences. Burberry is one of the most followed luxury platforms on social media with over 48 million followers (May 2017) across all the brand’s 20 social platforms.
The Art of the Trench is a Burberry owned website created to celebrate the iconic Burberry trench coat and the people who wear it. The concept invites people to submit portraits of themselves wearing their trench coats from around the world to feature on the site. The Art of the Trench can be found here.