Burberry Group plc

Burberry Group plc (LSE: BRBY) is a British luxury fashion house, manufacturing clothing, fragrance, and fashion accessories. Its distinctive tartan pattern has become one of its most widely copied trademarks. Burberry is most famous for its iconic trench coat, which was invented by founder Thomas Burberry. The company has branded stores and franchises around the world, and also sells through concessions in third-party stores. HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH The Prince of Wales have granted the company Royal Warrants. The Chief Creative Officer is Christopher Bailey. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.



Early years, 19th century

Burberry was founded in 1856 when 21-year-old Thomas Burberry, a former draper's apprentice, opened his own store in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England.[1] By 1870, the business had established itself by focusing on the development of outdoors attire.[1] In 1880, Burberry invented gabardine, a hardwearing, water-resistant yet breathable fabric, in which the yarn is waterproofed before weaving.[1] The Gabardine was patented in 1888. Burberry was the original name, but then the company soon switched to using the name Burberrys, after many customers from around the world began calling it Burberrys of London. This name is still visible on many older Burberry products. In 1891, Burberry opened a shop in the Haymarket, London, which still exists and until recently was the site of Burberry’s corporate headquarters. Now the headquarters are at Horseferry House just behind Houses of Parliament, Westminster (London).

20th century

In 1901, the Burberry Equestrian Knight Logo was developed containing the Latin word "Prorsum", meaning forwards, and registered as a trademark.[1] In 1911 they became the outfitters for Roald Amundsen,[1] the first man to reach the South Pole, and Ernest Shackleton, who led a 1914 expedition to cross Antarctica. A Burberry gabardine jacket was worn by George Mallory on his ill-fated attempt on Mount Everest in 1924.

In 1914 Burberry was commissioned by the War Office to adapt its officer's coat to suit the conditions of contemporary warfare, resulting in the "trench coat".[1] After the war, the trench coat became popular with civilians. The iconic Burberry check was created in the 1920s and used as a lining in its trench coats.[1]

Burberry also specially designed aviation garments. A. E. Clouston and Mrs Betsy Kirby Green made the fastest flying time to Cape Town from London in 1937 and were sponsored by Burberry.

Recent history

Burberry was an independent company until 1955, when it was taken over by Great Universal Stores (GUS). Burberry Group plc was initially floated on the London Stock Exchange in July 2002.[2] GUS divested its remaining interest in Burberry in December 2005.[3]

In 2006 Rose Marie Bravo, who as Chief Executive had led Burberry to mass market success, retired.[4] She was replaced by current CEO Angela Ahrendts.

Burberry first began selling online in the US, followed by the UK in October 2006, and the the rest of the EU in 2007. [5]

UK image and revitalisation

During the 1970s, the brand became popular with the British casual cult, leading to it to being associated with chavs and members of football firms by the 1990s.[6][7]

However, Burberry has attempted to rebrand itself with advertisements in GQ, Esquire, Vogue, Tatler and Harper's Bazaar, and is well-known for using British celebrities in its advertising, including models Kate Moss, Agyness Deyn and Lily Donaldson, singer George Craig, and actress Emma Watson, who was named the face of Burberry's 2009 Fall/Winter campaign and the cover model for the 2010 Spring/Summer campaign. [8][9]


Burberry operates under 5 brands:[10]

  • Burberry London: The primary brand, used for the vast majority of products
  • Burberry Brit
  • Burberry Prorsum
  • Burberry Sport
  • Thomas Burberry


  1. a b c d e f g . Burberryplc.com. http://www.burberryplc.com/bbry/corporateprofile/history/. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  2. Burberry IPO gets away amid market turmoil[dead link]
  3. Finch, Julia (2005-11-18). . Guardian News and Media. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2005/nov/18/3. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  4. Bravo quits Burberry[dead link]
  5. . Uk.burberry.com. 2010-12-05. http://uk.burberry.com/pws/ProductCategoryAttributeLink.ice?paId=SHOP-BY-DEPARTMENT&layout=departmenthome.layout&page=ShopOnline. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  6. Day, Julia (2004-11-01). . Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2004/nov/01/marketingandpr. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  7. . Money.guardian.co.uk. http://money.guardian.co.uk/businessnews/story/0,1265,-1592049,00.html. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  8. Zinderman, Carly (2009-07-15). . International Business Times. http://www.ibtimes.com/contents/20090715/grown-emma-watson-models-burberry.htm. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  9. . Stylenews.peoplestylewatch.com. 2010-01-05. http://stylenews.peoplestylewatch.com/2010/01/05/emma-watsons-spring-summer-2010-burberry-ads-revealed/. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  10. . Burberry.com. http://www.burberry.com/en-row/#/en-row/collections/. Retrieved 2011-01-04.