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History

Creativity has fuelled Burberry throughout our brand’s 166-year history and our shared conviction in its power is central to how we operate as a company

DISCOVER OUR HERITAGE

1856

The brand is founded by 21-year old Thomas Burberry.

1879

Thomas invents gabardine, a lightweight, breathable, weatherproof and tearproof cloth. Its genius comes from the small pockets of air which allow for ventilation.

1888

Burberry patents gabardine. Polished and practical, the beautiful weatherproof cotton remains at the heart of Burberry.

1893

Norwegian polar explorer, zoologist and later recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize Dr Fritjof Nansen becomes the first recorded polar explorer to take Burberry gabardine to the poles when he sets sail for the Arctic Circle in 1893.

1897

Explorer Major F.G. Jackson, famed for mapping parts of the Arctic Circle, wears Burberry gabardine when undertaking an expedition to Franz Josef Land.

c.1901

The EKD is crowd-sourced from a public competition to create a new logo for the brand.

 

1909

Burberry opens the first Paris store at 8 Boulevard Malesherbes.

1910

Celebrated aviator Claude Grahame-White wears Burberry gabardine when he becomes the first person to fly between London and Manchester in less than 24 hours.

1911

Norwegian Explorer Roald Amundsen and his team becomes the first people to reach the South Pole with a Burberry gabardine tent and clothing.

1912

British Explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott reaches the South Pole, wearing Burberry clothing and equipped with a Burberry tent. Tragically, he and his team lost their lives on the return journey.

Invented by Thomas Burberry, the Tielocken coat is patented. The predecessor to the trench coat, it proves popular among officers during WWI. The coat closes with a strap and buckle fastening and features a single button at the collar.

1913

Burberry moves to a larger London premises in Haymarket, designed by the Architect Walter Cave.

1914

Thomas Burberry funds and furnishes an interdenominational hall in Maidenhead that welcomes people of all faiths.

1914 - 1918

During the First World War, Burberry provides apparel and equipment to the Armed Forces. Designed for the military, each detail of the Burberry trench coat serves a purpose: the epaulettes displayed insignia but could also display items such as gloves; the gun flap gave additional protection, the D-rings were used to attach military equipment; the storm shield allowed rain to run off more efficiently. These features of a Burberry trench remain today.

1915

Burberry donates a soup kitchen to the British Red Cross appeal.

1919

HM King George V grants Burberry its first Royal Warrant as a Tailor.


Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Whitten Brown wear Burberry aviator suits to pilot their plane in an exposed cockpit and complete the first non-stop transatlantic flight in 72 hours. Photo courtesy of Vickers.

1920'S

The Burberry Check, now registered as a trademark, is introduced as a lining to the trench coat, marking the beginning of the unmistakable Burberry signature we know today.

1934

Burberry offers same day delivery for London-based customers.

1937

During the First World War, Burberry provides apparel and equipment to the Armed Forces. Designed for the military, each detail of the Burberry trench coat serves a purpose: the epaulettes displayed insignia but could also display items such as gloves; the gun flap gave additional protection, the D-rings were used to attach military equipment; the storm shield allowed rain to run off more efficiently. These features of a Burberry trench remain today.

1940'S

During the Second World War, Burberry supplies the British Army with a range of military apparel and accessories, including the trench coat. Burberry also caters for various other divisions of the British Armed Forces, including the Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy, the Royal Pioneer Corps, the Officer Cadet Training Unit, and the Auxiliary Territorial Service - including the women’s division.

Despite the austere conditions imposed by war, Burberry continues to make civilian clothing during the 1940’s including weatherproofs, overcoats and suits for both men and women. Burberry adapts the product category to wartime to include women’s siren suits, which were designed to be worn in an air-raid.

1955

HM Queen Elizabeth II grants Burberry a Royal Warrant as a Weatherproofer.

Burberry is acquired by UK retailing group Great Universal Stores (GUS).

 

1960's

Burberry holds fashion shows in London, Paris, Milan, Brussels, Berlin and Tokyo, bringing its collections and inspiration to customers around the world.

1964

Burberry becomes the official outerwear supplier for the British women’s Olympic team who participates in the Tokyo Olympics.

1964

By 1965

Burberry exports one in five coats from Britain.

 

1967

Jacqueline Dillemman, a buyer in Burberry’s Paris store, has a flash of inspiration while preparing a fashion presentation for the British ambassador, Sir Patrick Reilly. She removes the check lining from a coat and uses it to wrap luggage and create an umbrella cover. The check accessory is born.

1968

Burberry’s first television commercial is broadcast in Britain.

 

1972

Burberry acquires a factory in Castleford, Yorkshire, where it continues to make its heritage trench coats today.

2009

1990

Burberry is granted a Royal Warrant by HRH The Prince of Wales as an Outfitter.

1994

Burberry expands into China.

1999

Burberry changes the company name from Burberrys to Burberry.

 

2000

Burberry opens its first store on Bond Street, London, cementing the brand's status as an iconic, global luxury brand and becoming the blueprint for Burberry’s global store network.

2002

Burberry is listed on the London Stock Exchange in July following an initial public offering.

Christopher Bailey joins as Design Director.

 

2004

Burberry launches its first transactional website, serving customers in the United States.

 

2005

Burberry’s demerger from GUS plc, the company’s former majority shareholder, is completed.

 

2006

Burberry expands its transactional website to cover the United Kingdom.

Afghanistan, Balkh, Charkant District, April 6, 2019 
A herder milks a goat in the hills of Charkant District in Afghanistan's Balkh Province. 

Photo by Joel van Houdt for Burberry, Oxfam, Pur Projet and third party publications related to the cashmere project. 

Subject signed Oxfam consent form: only on video

2008

The Burberry Foundation launches, a philanthropic arm dedicated to helping young people realise their dreams and potential through the power of creativity. Burberry donates a percentage of annual group profit before tax to charitable causes.

2009

The Womenswear Spring/Summer 2010 runway show relocates to London from Milan, marking the 25th anniversary of London Fashion Week.

Burberry launches Art of the Trench, a website showcasing people around the world wearing their Burberry trench coats, providing a platform for the Burberry community to come together and connect with each other, one year prior to the rise of global social media platforms.

2010

Burberry is the first luxury brand to live stream its Autumn/Winter 2010 show online, bringing its collection into the homes of millions of consumers around the world.
 

2011

Burberry expands e-commerce with the launch of a new transactional website Burberry.com serving 44 countries, in 13 different languages. Burberry is the first luxury brand to allow its customers around the world to interact with and shop its products online.

2012

Burberry opens 121 Regent Street in London, its most digitally advanced brand experience, which brings every aspect of Burberry.com to life in a physical environment for the first time. Pushing the boundaries of digital technology, the flagship store is designed to delight, surprise and entertain customers. Customers are treated to sporadic Burberry weather "moments" with digital rain showers accompanied by the sounds of a thunderstorm. Changing room mirrors flip to show customers images of the specific piece on the catwalk or on film.

2013

Burberry’s Prorsum Menswear Spring/Summer 2014 show returns to London from Milan, showing as part of London Collections: Men.

Burberry is the first luxury brand to create an Instagram account to inspire customers with engaging, beautiful and creative digital content.

 

2015

Burberry ends licencing deals in Japan to retake ownership of the brand.

2016

Burberry offers collections for purchase online and in store immediately following the runway show.

 

2017 

Burberry appoints Marco Gobbetti as Chief Executive Officer.

 

2018

Burberry introduces the Burberry Rainbow check, a colourful reimagination of the house check, in support of LGBTQIA+ communities.

Burberry appoints Riccardo Tisci as Chief Creative Officer.

Burberry opens centre of excellence for leather goods in Scandicci, Italy.

Burberry launches B Series, a unique fully social experience allowing customer to shop exclusive limited-edition product drops, on the 17th of each month, for 24 hours only via Instagram, WeChat, LINE and Kakao.

Burberry launches a new brand logo and refreshes the Thomas Burberry monogram, introducing a new way to write Burberry. The new monogram taps into Burberry’s heritage and is inspired by logo stamps with the ‘TB’ of Thomas Burberry found in the archive.

2019

Burberry redesigns paper packaging to be made out of recycled coffee cups. Since launch, 58 million coffee cups have been recycled into new Burberry packaging.

Burberry launches its first Augmented Reality experience in London and Tokyo.

2020

Burberry retools the factory in Castleford, England, to make Personal Protective Equipment for the British National Health Service. Burberry leveraged its global supply chain to manufacture and source more than 160,000 pieces of PPE that it donated to the UK National Health Service and healthcare charities.

 

Burberry opens luxury’s first Social Retail store in Shenzhen, China. A store of tomorrow for today, social retail takes interactions from social media and brings them into a physical retail environment. The new store is a space of exploration, designed to inspire and entertain luxury customers, where they can interact with the Burberry brand and product in new and exciting ways, in person and on social media.

1879

1879

Thomas Burberry invents gabardine, a revolutionary fabric which heralded a new dawn for outerwear.

1912

Thomas Burberry patents the Tielocken coat, considered the forerunner to the Burberry trench coat.

1914-1918

Designed to meet the needs of military personnel, the Burberry trench coat is born.

c.1960

The trench coat’s military origin is celebrated and it becomes fashionable.

1940

During the Second World War, Burberry supplies the British Army with a range of military apparel and accessories, including the trench coat. Burberry also caters for various other divisions of the British Armed Forces, including the Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy, the Royal Pioneer Corps, the Officer Cadet Training Unit, and the Auxiliary Territorial Service - including the women’s division.

 

1964

Burberry are the official outerwear suppliers of the British Olympic women’s team for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

1965

Burberry exports one in five coats from Britain.

2009

Burberry launches Art of the Trench, a website showcasing people around the world wearing their Burberry trench coats, providing a platform for the Burberry community to come together and connect with each other, one year prior to the rise of global social media platforms.

2001-TILL TODAY

Each season the Burberry trench is reworked for the runway.

C.1970

The Burberry Classic Check Cashmere scarf is born.

c.1980

The Burberry Check Scarf is reworked in a variety of colourways.

2015

Launch of Scarf Bar in store and online for customers to design and customise their cashmere scarf, including monogramming.

2018

In partnership with Oxfam and PUR Projet, The Burberry Foundation implements a long-term programme focused on developing a more inclusive and sustainable cashmere industry and supporting the social and economic empowerment of rural communities in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan, Balkh, Charkant District, April 6, 2019 
Goats and sheep graze in the hills of Charkant District in Afghanistan's Balkh Province. 

Photo by Joel van Houdt for Burberry, Oxfam, Pur Projet and third party publications related to the cashmere project. 

Subject signed Oxfam consent form: n/a

Copyright: Joel van Houdt

c.1920

The Check is first introduced as a lining for our raincoats.

c.1960

Customers begin asking specifically for the Burberry Check - the evolution of our signature house code begins.

1967

The Check accessory is born in a ‘flash of inspiration’ when Jacquline Dillemman, a buyer in the Burberry Paris store, used the Check to wrap luggage and create an umbrella cover.

2018

The Rainbow Check is launched in support of LGBTQIA+ communities.

2020

Riccardo Tisci reimagines our iconic house code with the Birch Brown Check as the latest iteration.

2022

To mark the opening of our flagship store on Rue Saint-Honore, Paris, we stage a citywide takeover of the new Birch Brown Check, with projections on a series of Paris landmarks and Check-adorned London taxis.

c.1901

The EKD is crowd-sourced from public competition to create a new logo for the brand.  The banner reads ‘Prorsum’ which translates from Latin to ‘Forward’ signalling the Company’s direction of travel.

1909

We trademark the EKD.

2018

The EKD is widely used in our AW18 See Now Buy Now collection.

2019

The EKD features in Riccardo Tisci’s first Burberry runway show, SS19.

2022

The EKD is reimagined in crystal iterations at our AW22 show. For this show, the EKD is revisited in an oak leaf crest which was widely used throughout the 1990s.

 

 

 

2022

The Supreme®/Burberry® collection features the Equestrian Knight Design,  bringing a touch of heritage to statement outerwear, leather tracksuits and co-ords.