Burberry is one of the most iconic luxury fashion houses in the world, known for its classic British aesthetic and instantly recognizable check pattern. Founded in 1856 by Thomas Burberry, the brand has a long and illustrious history that has cemented its status as a quintessentially British luxury label.
Origins and History
Thomas Burberry opened his first shop in Basingstoke, Hampshire in 1856, selling outdoor attire and accessories. He soon gained a reputation for quality and innovation, developing gabardine – a breathable, weatherproof fabric made using an innovative process to tightly weave the cloth. This became the signature material for Burberry’s trench coats and outdoor wear.
In 1879, Burberry invented the predecessor to the trench coat, which was adopted by British officers during the Boer War. The trench coat with its distinctive check lining became an iconic garment associated with Burberry. Hollywood stars like Humphrey Bogart later popularized the Burberry trench.
Burberry was also the official outfitter for famous Antarctic explorers Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton, with its gabardine coats protecting the explorers from the elements. This history of innovation and adventure is a key part of the brand’s heritage.
Over the decades, Burberry has expanded from its origins in outerwear to become a global luxury fashion brand covering ready-to-wear, accessories, fragrances and more. It remains headquartered in London and is currently led by creative director Riccardo Tisci.
The Iconic Check
The Burberry check is one of the most widely recognized brand signatures in the world. Created in the 1920s, the tan, black, red and white check was initially used as a lining for the trench coat. It is now emblazoned across scarves, bags, accessories and clothing pieces. The check remains a core part of Burberry’s identity and heritage.
Burberry proudly celebrates its British roots. Its collections often reference British culture, traditions and the countryside. Models walk down the runway in front of bucolic backdrops or London cityscapes. British supermodels like Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne have fronted campaigns. This quintessential British charm is an integral aspect of Burberry’s aspirational image.
From Royal Warrant to Today
Burberry was granted a Royal Warrant in 1955 as an official supplier to the royal family. Prince Charles and the Queen Mother were devoted patrons, cementing Burberry’s image as a refined, prestigious brand fit for royalty.
Today, Burberry remains a leader in luxury fashion. Under Tisci’s creative direction, the brand is appealing to younger consumers while retaining its core identity. Burberry continues to celebrate innovation, adventure and its British roots. With over 500 stores globally, the iconic check is recognized and coveted worldwide as a symbol of timeless, sophisticated luxury.