The iconic checks and the famed trenchcoat are something all of us are familiar with. Here’s a lowdown on where this iconic brand started, and how it’s become a staple in every discerning man’s wardrobe.
THE MAN | THOMAS BURBERRY
Born in 1835, he became an apprentice draper before establishing Burberry in 1856, at the age of 21. Initially, he specialised in outdoor clothing.
1879 | THE INVENTION OF GABARDINE
Thomas Burberry invented this innovative fabric. Breathable and weatherproof, it revolutionised rainwear which, prior to this, was heavy and uncomfortable to wear.
The first Burberry Shop opened in the Haymarket, London.
1912 | ORIGINS OF THE TRENCH
The trenchcoat began as the Tielocken. Patented by Burberry in 1912, it was an unbuttoned style made from gabardine and fastened with a belt. It was developed to serve the needs of the military in the early 20th century.
Burberry was the outfitter of choice for several polar explorers, as its gabardine fabric’s protective and lightweight qualities made it well suited to cope with inhospitable conditions. Sir Ernest Shackleton, the acclaimed polar explorer, chose it for three expeditions in the early 20th century.
The iconic Burberry check has been in use since this period, primarily as a lining in its trenchcoats.
Christopher Bailey joins Burberry as creative director.
Burberry begins selling online in the US, followed by the UK in October and the rest of the EU in 2007.
Bailey becomes chief creative officer.
Marco Gobbetti takes over as CEO of the FTSE 100 Company, while Bailey transitions to President and continues as CCO.
Bailey unifies the men’s and women’s shows, starting a new trend and the advent of a new fashion calendar. The collections are also now immediately ready for consumers to purchase.
The Tale of Thomas Burberry: Shot in England, the film was directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Asif Kapadia and written by Academy Award nominee Matt Charman. In the film, Dominic West plays Sir Ernest Shackleton and Lily James portrays Betty, a fictionalised character inspired by the real-life achievements of Betty Kirby-Green. The blue flying suit she wears was based on images from the Burberry Heritage Archive.
Present Day Trench
The tropical gabardine is an even lighterweight alternative to the weatherproof cotton. It’s made with gossamer threads and shares many of the same techniques as the famous gabardine fabric. The cotton fibres used to create it are even finer, without compromising on durability. In order to create its soft, iridescent palette, contrasting yarns are woven together, before the cloth is tumbled to create its suppleness and volume. This is also woven at the Burberry mill.
Burberry’s iconic made-in-England Heritage Trench Coats are available for monogramming, allowing customers to add up to three initials in a selection of 15 thread colours, creating the most personalized version of the trench coat to date.
Some of their other offerings include sunglasses, candles and perfume. Some famous fragrances are Burberry Brit and Mr Burberry.