Think iconic British brands and Burberry immediately springs to mind. Few luxury design houses have such a quintessentially British style, yet sit so comfortably on the world stage. From their instantly recognisable check-print scarves to their time-honoured trench coats, Burberry is a brand that embraces British heritage to create modern ready-to-wear classics.
Established in 1856 by Thomas Burberry, the global fashion powerhouse had modest beginnings. With just one shop in Haymarket, London, Burberry began as a small family-run business focussed on producing highquality outerwear garments, and even dressing Arctic explorers for expeditions. While their signature piece remains the trench coat, Burberry have expanded their line over the years to include a vast range of luxury products including clothing, accessories, make-up and fragrances. Their famous checked Haymarket pattern has become one of the most popular, and widely copied, trademark prints in fashion. Burberry now produces a range of collections, from the fashion forward Burberry Prorsum, to the smartly tailored work wear of Burberry London, to the more casual Burberry Brit collection.
The Burberry brand has never been stronger, ranking 73rd in Interbrand’s Best Global Brands report in 2015. With over 500 stores scattered around more than 50 countries across the globe, Burberry employs almost 11,000 employees and continues to enjoy an ever rising popularity.
Creative direction for the fashion house currently lies in the hands of acclaimed Chief Creative and Chief Executive Officer Christopher Bailey. Holding the role since 2014, he has increased the company’s share price by over 500% and expanded the brand into the lucrative Chinese market.
Bailey has also been the innovator behind unique digital campaigns, such as the ‘Art of Trench’ street style photography collection and ‘Burberry Acoustic’, which shares beautifully-shot videos of performances by the best of British musical talent (dressed in Burberry, of course) online. In 2017, Bailey is expected to hand over the CEO reigns to Marco Gobbetti, head of luxury French brand Céline, while retaining his role as President and Chief Creative Officer.
Burberry has been showcased by famous British faces, from Audrey Hepburn and Peter Sellers in the ‘60’s, to rising stars Eddie Redmayne and Cara Delevingne in recent years. Legendary photographer, Mario Testino, is the man behind Burberry’s stellar campaigns, perfectly capturing the brand’s distinctive style and propelling it firmly into the contemporary market. On the catwalk, Burberry is known for using the most up-and-coming new models, treating its packed celebrity audiences to enthralling musical performances from the likes of Paloma Faith, Alison Moyat and James Bay, and showcasing a whirlwind of sharply tailored silhouettes, heritage prints and delicate touches of embroidery and embellishments down the runway.
Starting this fall, Burberry now makes all of the clothes featured in its runway shows able for immediate purchase, in-store and online. A significant departure from the conventional model in which clothes appear on catwalks four months before they go on sale, Burberry aims to reboot fashion and better service its customers. The brand will also reduce its four catwalk shows a year to two.