Home to royalty and some of the big names in the fashion industry, Britain has inspired many when it comes to style. Burberry, revered as a leader in the fashion, is also headquartered in London, adding to its legacy of high fashion…
Burberry’s idea of fashion started very differently from what it is now. Back in 1856 when Thomas Burberry laid the foundation of this brand, their primary focus was on development of outdoor attire. Soon, the brand expanded its horizons to include high fashion accessories. Clearly,Burberry’s entry into the high fashion market was dramatic and so was its fan following. Ever since, the brand has never looked back the meteoric journey to the top continues to inspire many. In this issue, VisionPlus, takes you through the historic journey of Burberry.
The Early Years
In the early nineteenth century, the world witnessed the birth of Burberry and took its first steps in the world of high fashion. The grand entrance was marked with the development of a first of its kind fabric called Gabardine, which is completely breathable and waterproof, and exclusively made for the brand.Their pattern-based scarves, trench coats, and other fashion accessories quickly caught the attention of aspiring as well as established fashionistas.
Burberry entry into the high fashion market was like a breath of fresh air. Given its focus on creativity and understanding the needs of its customers, Burberry started with offerings that were fashionably superior and high in demand. The focus on detail and the uniqueness of the pattern is a concept so beautifully entwined in the Burberry DNA that it continues to make the brand one of the most preferred choices for fashion lovers across the globe.
The glorious journey of Burberry has been lined with many milestones. For instance, their extremely popular trench coat, a unique garment that was initially adapted to suit the needs of the military personnel. But trust Burberry to redefine fashion and register it as an icon! The trenchcoat was introduced at the time of the first world war. It was an accessory used extensively by the British officers in the trenches. Later Burberry modified it and soon even the civilians started to wear it. In fact, the iconic Burberry trench coat has been with us since the 1920’s. Burberry also specially designed aviation garments. In 1937, A.E. Clouston and Betty Kirby-Green broke the world record for the fastest return flight from London to Cape Town in The Burberry airplane that was sponsored by the brand.
Burberry opened its first shop in the Haymarket, London, in 1891. Till 1955, Burberry was an independent family-controlled company, after that it was reincorporated. In 2005, it completed its demerger from GUS plc, the company’s former majority shareholder. The brand continues to be a hot favourite for fashion lovers.
Moving on to the 1970s and 1980s, Burberry signed agreements with worldwide manufacturers to produce complementary products to the existing British collection such as suits, trousers, shirts, sportswear, accessories, for men, ladies, and children. These products, designed under the strict control of headquarters in London. However, they were produced and distributed through independent retail stores worldwide as well as the Burberry stores, and contributed to the growth of the brand in sales and profits through to the late 90s.
Massy But Classy!
Between 2001 and 2005, Burberry became associated with the chav, a term used to describe the anti-social youth dressed in sportswear. The association to football hooligan culture also followed. This sudden change in the reputation of the brand was attributed to it introducing lower priced products, the proliferation of counterfeit goods adopting Burberry‘s trademark check pattern, and adoption by celebrities prominently identified with “chav” culture. Rose Marie Bravo, was the Chief Executive who led Burberry to mass market success through licensing. He retired in 2005 and was succeeded by another American, Angela Ahrendts. She successfully turned around the then Chav-like reputation that the brand had acquired at the end of Bravo’s tenure. Angela took the bold step of removing the brand’s check-pattern from all but 10% of the company’s products. She also took the fragrance and beauty product licenses back in-house and bought the Spanish franchise. During her tenure, Burberry also ventured successfully into the e-commerce market. The brand first sold online in the US, then in the UK in October 2006, and the rest of the European Union in 2007.
Foraying Into Eyewear
After establishing several benchmarks in the world of fashion Burberry made its foray into eyewear in 2006. Ever since, their eyewear collection has been wooing audience with its impressive designs. Inspired by the brand’s innovative ready-to-wear and accessory collections Burberry eyewear incorporates recognisable iconic elements for both men and women.
Here is a look at Burberry’s Autumn/Winter 2018 eyewear collection for men and women. The uber cool collection consists of classic styles reimagined through updated material, proportion and colour in the Burberry London studio. Made in Italy, the collection of sunglasses and opticals comprises of round, square, pilot, cat-eye and vintage-inspired oval styles in a range of materials from rubberised metal to glitter-saturated acetate. House codes feature on details throughout, from trench-influenced temple tips to the vintage check accents. The colour palette for this collection includes: classic black, matte brown, burgundy, and tortoiseshell as well as styles in pink, purple, blue, green and yellow.
Models to drool for Women BE4277: A classic square acetate frame contoured with a thick rounded edge. BE4278: Black translucent acetate frame with Vintage check temples and smoke grey lenses. BE4283:A feminine 1950s-inspired acetate frame with an upswept brow bar. BE2289 : An oval optical acetate frame reinterpreted with a straight edge. Men BE4281: A curved acetate optical frame with a flat browline featuring a keyhole bridge and double pin hinge. BE4280: A curved acetate optical frame with an edge, featuring a keyhole bridge and pin hinge.
1856: Burberry comes into existence
1879: Iconic gabardine is introduced
1891: Opens first shop in London
1955: Brand is reincorporated
2001 to 2005: Burberry becomes associated with chav culture
2005: Burberry completes demerger from GUS plc
2006: Burberry forays into the eyewear segment
2006: Burberry ventures into the e-commerce segment with its first online sale