Burberry is possibly fashion’s most quintessentially British brand. Burberry campaigns are noticeable for their use of British-only models, including Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne, alongside British actors and musicians. We all recognise the distinctive trademarked tartan when we see it, but there’s more to Burberry than meets the eye:
Here’s 10 things you might not know about Burberry.
1. The company was founded in 1856 by draper, Thomas Burberry as a retailer of outdoor clothing for sportsmen.
2. Burberry invented the trench coat in 1914 after it was commissioned by the War Office to adapt the traditional officer’s coat to be more suitable for active warfare, in the trenches. The gabardine fabric used in the construction was invented by Thomas Burberry in 1880 and repels water, making it suitable for wear in wet weather. The trench coat became a popular fashion item with civilians after the war.
3. The iconic and much copied Burberry check was first created in the 1920s and used as a lining for Burberry trench coats.
4. Burberry has a history of outfitting famous explorers, adventurers and aviators – the label has been worn by Major F.G. Jackson during his exploration and mapping of the Arctic Circle; Aviator Claude Grahame-White, the first person to fly between London and Manchester in less than 24 hours; Roald Amundsen and his team, the first people to reach the South Pole; Ernest Shackleton during his 1914 expedition across Antarctica and Captain John Alcock and Leuitenant Arthur Whitten Brown, the first pilots to complete a non-stop transatlantic flight in 72 hours; and George Mallory on his 1924 attempt to reach the summit of Everest.
5. The Burberry Equestrian Knight trademark and logo was designed in 1901 and contains the Latin word, “Prorsum”, meaning “forwards”.
6. Burberry is probably most well known for it’s camel, black, red and white check that has been replicated in many counterfeit garments and accessories and has become synonymous with “chav” fashion. There are actually several different check patterns and colours available from Burberry, including a pink version. The traditional Burberry check is so recognizable; it is considered a “corporate tartan” and is listed on Scotland’s tartan register.
7. Until the ‘60s, Burberry sold mainly raincoats. The expansion into accessories was prompted by accident when a window display in its Paris store led to an overwhelming demand for Burberry check umbrellas and scarves.
8. The childrenswear brand of Burberry was launched in 2007 and has been seen on several celebrity tots including Suri Cruise and the Beckham siblings. Romeo Beckham was the star of the 2014 Burberry Christmas campaign.
9. The most expensive item sold by Burberry was a limited-edition £22,000 women’s trench coat from the Spring/Summer 2013 collection. The coat was made from peacock feathers and worn by American Vogue editor, Anna Wintour.
10. Although Burberry prides itself on being a British brand, most of its items are no longer made there. Burberry now only has two small factories in the UK and most of the clothing and accessories under the label are produced in other locations across the world.