Designer Biography BurberryFounded by Thomas Burberry in 1856

A former draper’s apprentice, Thomas Burberry opened his first shop in Basingstoke in 1856 at only 21 years old. Focussing on developing outdoor attire, by 1870 the business was well established.

Introducing the fabric gabardine, a hardwearing, water resistant, breathable fabric in 1888, Burberry took out a patent for improved materials and was creating waterproof garments by the turn of the century. In 1891 Burberry expanded, opening a shop in London.

In 1901 the Equestrian Knight Logo was developed and added to the clothes designed for the new leisured classes, sportswear and raincoat. In 1911 Burberry dressed Roald Amundsen, the first man to reach the South Pole, and Ernest Shackleton who led an expedition to cross Antartica.

In 1914 the War Office commissioned Burberry to adapt the officer’s coat to better suit the war conditions which resulted in the trench coat. After the war the style of the trench coat became popular, and in 1924 the famous Burberry check was designed and used as a lining for the trench.

In 1955 Burberry was taken over by Great Universal stores. The following decade the Burberry check print became hugely popular. During the seventies the brand became a casual cult style with the British, leading to the 1990’s popularisation with the football and ‘chav’ social groups.

In 1997 under influence of Rose Marie Bravo, newly appointed worldwide chief executive of Burberry, a restyle of Burberrys image started with help from a Mario Testino advertising campaign and the flagship store in London being beautifully revamped. The following February Roberto Menichette was appointed as creative director until Christopher Bailey took his place in 2001

The brand sexed up its image during the last decade with advertising campaigns using iconic models and faces including Kate Moss, Lily Donaldson, George Craig, Agyness Deyn, Emma Watson and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

Burberry, a renowned British luxury fashion brand, has a rich and storied history that spans over a century. In 1995, under the leadership of CEO Rose Marie Bravo, Burberry underwent a significant transformation. The iconic Burberry check, introduced in the 1920s, gained popularity and became a symbol of the brand’s heritage. The year 1997 marked another milestone for Burberry as it became a publicly traded company, listed on the London Stock Exchange.

In the early 2000s, Burberry experienced a period of renaissance and modernization. In 2001, Christopher Bailey joined Burberry as the creative director, bringing his innovative vision and distinctive design approach to the brand. His contributions revitalised Burberry, leading to a successful relaunch of its ready-to-wear collections.

Although 2006 marked the appointment of Angela Ahrendts as CEO, and together with Christopher Bailey, they transformed Burberry into a global luxury powerhouse. Their strategic vision focused on expanding Burberry’s digital presence, pioneering initiatives such as live streaming runway shows and engaging with consumers through social media.

In 2018, Riccardo Tisci became the new chief creative officer, succeeding Christopher Bailey. Tisci brought a fresh perspective to Burberry, infusing the brand with his unique blend of streetwear influences and classic British elegance. His debut collection showcased a contemporary reinterpretation of the iconic Burberry trench coat and introduced new logo designs.

Burberry has also demonstrated a commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. In 2020, the brand announced its goal to become climate-positive by 2040 and launched its “ReBurberry Edit” initiative, focusing on reducing waste and promoting circular fashion practices.

Today, Burberry remains a symbol of timeless British luxury and craftsmanship. With its distinctive check patterns, iconic trench coats, and innovative designs, Burberry continues to captivate fashion enthusiasts worldwide. The brand’s commitment to blending heritage with modernity has solidified its position as a global leader in the luxury fashion industry.

Burberry Biography

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Written by Saxony Dudbridge

Saxony Dudbridge was one of the first contributors to the Catwalk Yourself project, Saxony studies International Fashion Marketing and she is responsible for our great History and Designers Biographies sections.

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