Luxury Fashion Brand Report: Burberry

Most Luxurious or ‘Berry’ Common Brand?

Many believe that spending money on a luxury brand is a waste of time, effort, and of course, money. However, have you ever wondered what is so special about them and why people really love to spend their salaries even if they have to eat bread and water for the next few days (or even weeks)? No? Just give it a second. 

General clothes and items can be cheap or very affordable to acquire, but how long do they last? It is hard to find one or two that can promise at least one or two years of full use. 

Instead, a luxury brand is defined as a company or product that provides an experience of higher quality and exclusivity, and the high price tag is just the result of the effort and materials poured into the merchandise. 

Where is Burberry included in all this? As one of the luxury brands that has been in the business for over 100 years and continues to be one of the most successful ones in the world. 

In this article, we will explore some key facts about Burberry, such as how it was founded, who its founder was, what makes it so luxurious, and why you should reconsider your thought of buying from retailers and investing just a little bit (alright, maybe a lot) in getting at least one item. 

Going to the 1800 and 1900s: Thomas Burberry History

First of all, yes, we have another luxury brand that follows its founder’s last name, and we couldn’t be happier about it considering that many are able to remember them whenever someone thinks about the brand. 

In this case, the founder was Thomas Burberry, who was born on August 27, 1835, in Brockham Green in Surrey. His father was a farmer and grocer. 

There aren’t many details about his childhood and education; however, he did attend Brockham Green Village School. 

Then, Burberry began his apprenticeship in a local draper shop until he opened his own clothing store in Basingstoke in 1856.

Burberry demonstrated a good business sense by identifying the needs and preferences of local farmers and communities to the point of being able to (and need to) hire seven men, three boys, and seven women to work his shop by 1861.

After he opened his store and noticed the success of the items he was offering, Burberry began researching and testing materials in order to create fabrics that were weatherproof and suitable to clothing customers who enjoy the country pursuits such as hunting, fishing, and riding considering his location and demand from other local areas. 

Thanks to the innovation of weatherproof clothing and great protection offered, his business grew further and started to make a lot of money. 

This led him to make the company expand in employees by hiring about 70 people and by 1871.

Gabardine, a fabric that is breathable and weatherproof that can also be tainted and rubbed off on clothing, was created by his innovative research in 1880. It was lightweight and ventilated but also protected the wearer against the harsh elements of nature.

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In 1891, he decided to open another store in Haymarket, London. He also opened a few ones in Reading, Manchester, and Liverpool, and thousands of agencies also sold the products. 

Wholesale branches were opened in New York, Paris, and Buenos Aires to begin exports around the same date. 

Burberry was open to the endorsement of famous and wealthy people for his products. 

His products were also used by Antarctic and Arctic explorers such as Scott, Amundsen, and Shackleton. 

They were reportedly sold to the armed forces in which Lord Baden Powell and Lord Kitchener were known for wearing them.

After a successful career and leading his company to the top in innovative designs that allowed people to feel safe and protected anytime, Thomas Burberry retired in 1917. 

In 1920, the company was listed on the London Stock Exchange (this means it went public) and was incorporated as Burberrys Limited. During this time, his two sons, Arthur Burberry and Thomas Burberry joined the company’s management as directors. 

Evolution – Burberry in the 21st Century

Before getting to the 2000s in specific, we actually have to go back for a bit to the 70s and 80s to guarantee we are going over the details of the brand. 

After Thomas Burberry (the founder) died on April 4 in 1926, several aspects changed in the company in terms of design and administration. 

The family controlled the entire extension of the company until 1955 when Great Universal Stores took possession as owners. This takes us to the current dates and years we will be talking about: the modern age. 

Burberry’s designs were first worn by stars of the modern age in the 1970s and 1980s. 

During this time, the company also made agreements with international manufacturers to produce complementing products to its British collections. 

These included suits, trousers, shirts, sportswear, and accessories for women, men, and children. 

These products were designed by Burberry headquarters in London and produced and sold through independent retailers worldwide. They also contributed to the brand’s growth in sales and profits up to the late 1990s. 

Moving forward to the 2000s (finally), Christopher Bailey joined Burberry in May 2001 as the creative director and was also the chief creative officer and CEO between 2014 and November 2017. 

Bailey was relieved of his position as a chief creative officer in March 2018 and left Burberry completely at the end of the same year whatsoever. 

Between 2001 and 2005, Burberry was associated with football hooligan culture and “chav.” 

This change in the brand reputation was attributed to lower-priced products, the proliferation of counterfeit goods adopting Burberry’s trademark check pattern, and adoption by celebrities prominently identified with “chav” culture. 

Burberry check clothing was banned in some places due to its association with football hooliganism, and Burberry Group plc first floated on London Stock Exchange in July 2002. 

Since then, the brand has gone through many ups and downs, including public apologies for certain pieces, closing 24 stores in China, and the climate damage it produces to the planet. 

However, in 2021, the company has announced that it will be aiming to be completely climate positive by 2040 and avoid over 50% of chain emissions by 2030.

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Why You Need a Burberry Product: Its Uniqueness

The introduction of an innovative piece of cloth that could help farmers and people overall to be protected from the weather is what Burberry brought to this world. 

Although some argue that this idea wasn’t exactly new, Thomas perfectionated it during his research. He made it possible to wear thanks to the effort in creating the pieces and collections. 

Therefore, we can say this is definitely the main reason you would need one: there’s no other unique and amazing weatherproof clothing collection like this brand. 

But what about the design in specific? 

Burberry is famous worldwide for the trench coats and signature tartan lining pattern we all know about (and love as well). 

In China, the brand is particularly popular, and although the company was forced to close several stores, it was due to COVID-19 and its repercussions. 

However, people truly buy the products and love the essence it continues to give in the fashion world. 

The only problem is at the cost of many chain emissions and involvement in climate change, which many have stepped down from using it. 

Since the company is compromised to change this, its popularity isn’t flopping as expected but rather increasing a bit more every year.

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Products & Prices: Can You Afford One?

There’s no need to say that Burberry isn’t particularly cheap since it is a luxury brand, but if you ask us, among all the options in the market, this one is in our top 3. 

Why? Because if we leave aside the bad aspects, it offers more for the same or less in terms of comfort and protection. 

You can get an elegant yet weatherproof product without much effort or having to acquire more than one from other brands to deal with this. 

Of course, gabardine isn’t exclusive from Burberry nor other materials used for the weatherproof feature. Still, it is unique in quality, and you can notice a difference in the products created. 

With this in mind, can you afford any of them? 

We will go over the range of prices for most of the collections and help you have an idea of how much you would have to spend: 

  • Womenswear: including shirts, coats, t-shirts, hoodies, jackets, and more, start at $370 and go up to $6.900. The most expensive ones are usually gowns and coats. 
  • Menswear: including underwear, shorts, shirts, and more, ranging from $60 to $5.000.
  • Shoes: for both women and men start at $290 and go up to $2.000.
  • Accessories: belts, bags, hats, scarves, and more start at $680 and go to $2.590.
  • Handbags: most of them start at $2.000.

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For a company that is worth $2.6 billion, most of its prices are lower compared to brands that compete at the same level. 

Of course, we can’t say that paying $370 for a shirt is cheap, but is it worth it? That’s the question you need to ask (spoiler: it is). 

As we mentioned, a luxury brand isn’t expected to be cheap, but Burberry can indeed be considered expensive when it comes to accessories collections. However, the main reason behind this lies in the materials used for them. 

Burberry & Celebrities: Does the Brand Embrace Them?

Short answer: without a doubt. 

Burberry is one of those brands that truly loves celebrities and artists, which is why you will see that many are endorsed by it. 

Of course, the number of those that wear the brand is many more, and we are in love every time we see a gorgeous gown or dress in an awards show. 

However, daily and casual clothes are our favorite, and many celebrities can share the feeling. 

That being said, Cara Delevingne, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Emma Watson, and Rachel Weisz are one of the few endorsements. 

The same often wear the brand clothes even without being paid for it or performing in some ads. 

People like Meghan Markle, Sophie Turner, David and Victoria Beckham, Dua Lipa, and Jennifer Lawrence also join the list of people using collections quite often.

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Finally, we have to mention that Burberry is a favorite when it comes to UK stars and figures. The royalty often chooses it when it comes to coats and jackets, and many artists from the region decide to get dressed with it. 

We would love to have one of those coats, but for us, they are kind of out of our budget.

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Written by Dame Cash

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