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Our Purpose and Values


Creativity Opens Spaces

We are guided by the core belief that creativity opens spaces. Our purpose informs the choices we make as a company and shapes our long-term goals.

A reference to Thomas Burberry’s Open Spaces manifesto, our purpose statement draws on our heritage of pushing boundaries and making space for creativity to flourish.

For our founder, “open spaces” referred to the tiny pockets of air found within the weave of gabardine, the revolutionary fabric he invented. It was also a nod to the freedom his products gave to the pioneering women and men who wore Burberry clothing, including explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton and aviator Betty Kirby-Green, and the open spaces they explored.

Today, Burberry continues to delight customers by harnessing creativity to deliver products of the highest quality and exceptional shopping experiences.

Our values

Our purpose is underpinned by our values. Being creatively driven, forward thinking, open and caring, and proud of our heritage are hallmarks of our organisation at its best and have remained core to our brand since the Company was founded in 1856.

  • We find beauty in every detail
  • Put passion and creativity in everything we do
  • Committed to excellence
  • Challenging the ordinary to pursue the extraordinary 

  • Inspired by our past, as we create our future
  • Globally minded, learning from others
  • Championing contrasts from royals to rebels
  • Representing Britain on the global stage

  • Harnessing strength in diversity
  • United to achieve common goals
  • Responsible, guided by our conscience
  • Upholding a legacy of respect and inclusivity

  • An open space for imagination
  • Free to explore, push boundaries, pioneer
  • Unafraid to stand out
  • Our creativity drives us forward

Thomas Burberry 1835-1926

Thomas Burberry was just 21 years old when he founded his outfitting business in Basingstoke, England. However, it was in 1879 that he secured his legacy as a visionary and innovator with his invention of gabardine. Before the advent of the fabric, outerwear worn to protect against the often inclement British weather tended to be made from rubber, oil and wax. After hearing from a doctor that it was better to get wet through rather than stay dry in such clothing as it was odorous, hot and believed to induce ill-health, Thomas Burberry set out to create a breathable and weatherproof alternative. His invention, gabardine, revolutionised rainwear. The open spaces in the weave of the fabric allowed airflow and made for lightweight and comfortable garments. 

Such was the fabric’s reputation that in 1893 Norwegian polar explorer, zoologist and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr Fridtjof Nansen, took Burberry gabardine with him when he set sail bound for the Arctic Circle. Many more explorers and adventurers turned to Burberry gabardine in the years that followed. Gabardine is still used in the manufacture of Burberry Heritage Trench Coats today. 

Affectionately known as “Old Tom”, Thomas Burberry was described by his employees as “the kindest of chiefs”. During his lifetime he devoted significant time to humanitarian causes and gave generously to local charities. He was considered to have been thoughtful and ambitious, and was said to have conducted his career through “straightforward dealings and sound principles”. 

He retired in 1917 but remained on the Board of Burberrys Ltd until his death in 1926 at the age of 90. 


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