Burberry Group is a British luxury fashion house, distributing outerwear, fashion accessories,fragrances, sunglasses, and cosmetics. Its distinctive tartan pattern has become one of its most widely copied trademarks. Burberry is most famous for its trench coat, which was designed by founder Thomas Burberry.
Founder Thomas Burberry was born in 1835 and apprenticed in the drapery trade, establishing his own drapery business in Basingstoke, Hampshire, in 1856. A sportsman, Burberry was dissatisfied with the then-popular rubberized mackintosh raincoat, which was heavy, restricting, and stifling, and thus unsuitable for extended outings. Inspired by country folk’s loose “smocks,” Burberry designed a tightly woven fabric made from water-repellent linen or cotton yarn. Although sturdy and tear-resistant, this “Burberry-proofed” cloth was lightweight and allowed air to circulate, making it considerably more comfortable than the heavy mackintosh. The tailor trade-marked his cloth “Gabardine,” a Shakespearean term that referred to shelter from inclement weather. Burberry developed five different weights of gabardine: “Airylight,” “Double-Weave,” “Karoo,” “Wait-a-bit,” and “Tropical.” He even patented “Burberry-proofed” linings made from silk and wool.
Burberry was a shrewd marketer, employing trademarking and advertising to great benefit. Illustrated advertisements touting the clothing “designed by sportsmen for sportsmen” drew customers to Burberry’s retail outlet, which was established in London’s Haymarket section in 1891. Having used a variety of labels to distinguish its garments from imitations, the company registered the “Equestrian Knight” trademark in 1909, an insignia used continuously through the mid-1990s. Also employed in the corporate logo, this image represents several Burberry ideals. The armor signifies the protection afforded by the outerwear, the “Chivalry of Knighthood” reflects the company’s own standards of integrity, and the Latin adverb “prorsum” (”forward”) referred to Burberry’s innovative fabrics and styles.
The name of the brand is virtually synonymous with the tan gabardine raincoat pioneered by the company more than 145 years ago. Writing for WWD (Women’s Wear Daily) in 1989, Andrew Collier described the garment as “a mainstay in outerwear worldwide, that symbolizes all that is Britain: sturdy and unassuming, equally at home in fine hotels and muddy lanes.” In 2000, Burberry operated 58 company-owned stores, and its products were also found in department and specialty stores around the world. In 1999, the firm launched the Prorsum designer collection as part of its efforts to reinvent Burberry’s luxury brand status. An icon of classic clothing, Burberry has utilized licensing and brand extensions to appeal to a younger generation of fashion-conscious customers. The company is a subsidiary of the United Kingdom’s Great Universal Stores pic, the very closely held $9 billion credit reporting, mail-order, and retail apparel conglomerate.
Nowadays Burberry is an international luxury brand represented for many celebrities around the world. Its globally recognized name, trademark, and signature trenchcoat have been synonymous with quality and enduring style for over 150 years.
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