10 Things You Didn’t Know About Burberry

Breathtaking designs, high-profile brand ambassadors, and iconic check-patterned scarfs. This is Burberry, a name synonymous with luxury fashion. However, beyond its prominent marketplace brand, there are many interesting facts that remain unknown to many. Let’s delve into some fascinating and less-publicized facets of this iconic British brand.

1. Burberry’s Beginning

The Burberry story began in 1856 when Thomas Burberry, a 21-year-old draper’s apprentice, opened his own store in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England. He had a simple yet ambitious goal: to design outerwear that could withstand the English weather.

As his business focused on outdoor clothing, the brand, initially named ‘Burberry & Sons’, quickly gained recognition for its durability and practical designs. The company steadily grew and, by 1870, it had established itself as a trusted purveyor of quality outerwear.

2. The Famous Trenchcoat

Thomas Burberry invented gabardine, a weatherproof, breathable fabric in 1879, but it wasn’t until nearly 40 years later that the famous Burberry trench coat was created. These coats were originally commissioned by the British War Office for Army Officers during World War I.

The coat’s design included several unique adaptations fit for war, including large pockets for maps and a ring to attach swords or binoculars. Over the years, the iconic design has been reinterpreted and reimagined, yet has remained synonymous with Burberry.

3. The Check Pattern

The iconic Burberry check, known as the ‘Nova Check’, didn’t make its appearance until the 1920s. Predominantly beige, black, red, and white, the pattern was initially used as a lining for their trench coats.

Serving as a visual signature for the brand, the Nova Check eventually extended beyond coat lining to become a defining feature on a variety of Burberry products such as scarves, purses, and other accessories.

4. Burberry’s Royal Warrants

Burberry received its first Royal Warrant in 1919, granted by King George V. A Royal Warrant can be considered as a mark of recognition that tradepeople are regular suppliers of goods and/or services to the Royal Household.

Today, the brand holds two Royal Warrants, from Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince of Wales. These signify that the monarchs have shopped with the company for years, adding a royal seal of approval to the Burberry name.

5. A Rebranding Exercise

In 1999, to emphasize its place in high-end fashion and distance itself from counterfeiters, Burberry’s underwent a massive rebranding which saw the company’s name shortened from ‘Burberry’s’ to simply ‘Burberry’.

This change was accompanied by a new logo and a challenge to the perception of Burberry as just a provider of outdoor apparel. Today, the brand successfully occupies a prestigious place in the luxury fashion market.

6. The Cost of Counterfeit

Unfortunately, with success comes imitation. Burberry’s iconic check pattern has often been copied by counterfeiters, significantly affecting the brand’s reputation. The problem became so severe that the brand had to rethink its design strategy, ultimately downplaying the use of the check pattern across their products.

This struggle underlines the ever-present vulnerability of popular designs to unsanctioned and unethical reproductions, a problem many high-fashion brands contend with.

7. A Musical Connection

Personal diplomacy isn’t confined to politics; it can also apply to fashion. To leverage their appeal to younger demographics, Burberry launched Burberry Acoustic in 2010. This was a project that involved collaborating with emerging British musicians and streaming their performances online.

The initiative brought a new aesthetic to the brand while also providing a platform for upcoming artists, showcasing the brand’s commitment to supporting local talent alongside their fashion endeavours.

8. The Name of the Logo

The iconic Burberry logo known as the ‘Equestrian Knight’ was first used in 1901. The logo depicts a knight on horseback carrying a shield with the Latin word ‘Prorsum’, meaning ‘forwards’.

The logo perfectly represents the forward-thinking approach that the brand has upheld since its inception. The knight symbolizes chivalry, noble ethos and alludes to the brand’s early association with outdoor attire.

9. Technologically Advanced

With the rise of digital technology, Burberry has always proven quick to adapt. They were one of the first luxury brands to embrace the internet and social media. This includes being the first brand to live-stream their runway shows online, opening up the exclusive world of high fashion to the broader public.

The brand has continued to pioneer the use of technology in its operations, with augmented reality experiences, and its website offering customized services, cementing its place as a digital leader in luxury fashion.

10. Environmentally Conscious

Burberry is committed to reducing environmental impacts, striving to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. As a result, they run several programs dedicated to sustainability, such as their goal to become carbon neutral by 2022.

They also recycle and reuse wherever possible, showing a definitive commitment to sustainability. The company’s recent decision to stop destroying unsold merchandise further exemplifies their commitment to environmentally-responsible practices.

And there you have it. Ten fascinating insights that paint a richer picture of this cherished brand. While we know Burberry for its luxurious designs, we hope these revelations deepen your appreciation for the company’s ingenuity and commitment to longevity.

Explore more about Burberry here: Burberry Official Site and visit the Burberry museum virtually here: Burberry Society.