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
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 in 1879, which revolutionised rainwear. Gabardine has since protected a long line of pioneers and helped 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 known on earth. Explorers including 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 at times tents for their lightweight and windproof qualities.
Burberry provided motoring 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 amongst the brand’s patrons. At the same time, Burberry also dressed aviators in the formative days of aviation; this was not limited to aeroplanes but included hot air balloons. In 1937, Burberry sponsored a record-breaking return flight from London, England to Cape Town, South Africa. The plane called 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.
Finally, the trench coat is synonymous with the brand. The Burberry trench coat began as the Tielocken, patented by Thomas Burberry in 1912. The innovative design featured a belted closure, without buttons. During the First World War, Burberry adapted the design to meet the needs of the military with every detail, the epaulettes, gun flap, storm shield and D-rings designed to serve a purpose. The trench coat was worn by Officers in both World Wars and has evolved over 100 years to represent timeless British style and innovation.
Burberry runway shows inspire with critically acclaimed collections, innovative digital partnerships and live musical performances. The global reach of the shows are extended with live-streaming on digital channels. In February 2016, Burberry unveiled plans for the “see now, buy now” show format, which replaced its previous four show calendar with two mixed gender shows. Since the September 2016 show, collections are available to purchase immediately after the show. All Burberry shows feature products from all four seasons, designed for its global audience.
The Cape Reimagined
A collection of 78 limited-edition couture capes was presented as part of the February 17 show’s finale. Inspired by the scale and form of Moore’s elemental sculptures, each unisex design was made using unique constructions and referencing elements from the Burberry archive. The individually named capes are available for special order and forms part of a travelling exhibition around the world to cities including Milan, Shanghai, Los Angeles, Dubai, New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo.
Burberry’s digital mind-set is a fundamental and integral part of the brand and way of thinking across the organisation. This way of thinking underpins how Burberry connects with customers globally, whether through its runway shows, marketing innovations and customer insight to enhance customer experiences. Burberry is one of the most followed luxury platforms on social media with over 48 million followers across all the brand’s 20 social platforms.
Burberry has invested in an industry-leading approach to artificial intelligence technology across the digital platforms. In 2016, Burberry launched the Facebook Messenger chatbot, a combination approach to artificial intelligence and human assistance in customer service. Since this launch, Burberry continued to roll out this strategy across key messaging platforms including Line, Kakao and the Burberry app. This approach uses the technology available on each platform it its full capacity, for example integrating localised store, currency and transport information for customers. The latter included Uber integration to the Messenger bot and KaKao taxi to the KaKao bot.
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.