Glass Celebrates … Burberry

FOUNDED by a young man in a small English town in Hampshire, Burberry would go on to become a world-recognised name synonymous with quality, elegance and style. The adaptability and breadth of the brand is such that it is worn by individuals as diverse as Queen Elizabeth II, the Prince of Wales, Kate Moss and Beyoncé. Few designers can be credited as having invented an item of clothing; but, borne from a mission to protect British officers from the wind and rain, Thomas Burberry created The Trench Coat, which has gone on to become one of the most iconic items of clothing of the 20th and 21st centuries.

thomasburberryThomas Burberry

Thomas Burberry prided himself on designing pieces that would fit the needs of many. He noticed how local shepherds and farmers wore linen smocks, dual purpose garments to bring coolness in the summer and warmth in the winter, and he went on to create the first “technical” fabrics.

burberrytrenchcoat2The Trench updated

Although now a global brand, the house of Burberry has persistently followed the manufacturing principles of the innovation and progress laid out by its founder. Each new collection retains a distinctive handwriting and portrays the essence of a timeless and inherently British style.

1856 – Thomas Burberry, a 21-year-old drapers apprentice, opens a small Outfitters shop in the town of Basingstoke in Hampshire, England.

burberryshopOne of the first Burberry shops

1880 – Inspired by the weather-resilient fabrics of local shepherds, Burberry creates a fabric which is weatherproofed in the yarn with a secret formula before weaving, and proofed again after weaving. The result is a weatherproof, tear-proof, breathable fabric; he had created gabardine.
1901 – Now he is trading as Thomas Burberry & Sons, the Equestrian Knight trademark appears for the first time accompanied by the Latin word ‘Prorsum’, meaning forwards, reflecting progress in manufacture and invention.
1911 – Equipped by Burberry, the Norwegian explorer Captain Roald Amundsen becomes the first man to reach the South Pole.
1914 – Burberry is commissioned by the War Office to design a raincoat for officers in the First World War and “The Trench Coat” is born.

burberryadAn archive Burberry advertisement

1920 – Burberry goes public and is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
1924 – The Burberry house check, which is now trade mark registered, is introduced as a lining for rainwear in 1924.
1950 – The Trench coat is immortalised by screen icons in some of the most classic films of the century, such as Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca, Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther films.

burberrytrenchcoatAn earlier incarnation of The Trench

1955 – Burberry is awarded a Royal Warrant by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, giving recognition to the house for being one to supply goods and services to the Households of Her Majesty The Queen, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh or the Prince of Wales.
1970-80s – Burberry enjoys a period of international expansion as more countries are exposed to Burberry designs.
1998 – The Burberry Prorsum prêt-à-porter label launches under creative director Roberto Menichetti with an advertising campaign styled by Carine Roitfeld and photographed by Mario Testino.
2001 – Christopher Bailey joins Burberry as Creative Director and ushers in a new era of creativity and growth. Bailey succeeds in making Burberry one of the most desirable brands in the world and fifteen years later is still at the helm of innovative fashion.

by Sara Hesikova

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