Designer Spotlight: Burberry

Designer Spotlight: Burberry

Burberry has long been associated with all things British. Throughout its over 150-year history, Burberry has undergone several transformations, evolving from a brand that primarily suited explorers and soldiers to one that collaborates with the street style brand Supreme. Today we take a look at the quintessential British brand.

A Brief History of Burberry

Thomas Burberry was just 21 years old when he established his business in 1856. The former draper’s apprentice set out with the goal of creating clothing that would shield the wearer from inclement weather, and by 1879 Burberry invented gabardine, a sturdy, tightly woven fabric that is breathable and weatherproof. Burberry patented the fabric in 1888, cementing the brand as the premier resource for quality outerwear. Burberry’s gabardine fabric was put to the test multiple times throughout the 19th and early 20h centuries. In 1893, the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen wore Burberry gabardine on a journey to the Arctic Circle, as did British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton on three of his Arctic expeditions.

The Burberry Trench Coat 

In 1912, Burberry patented the Tielocken coat. A predecessor to the iconic trench coat, the Tielocken was a knee-length coat that featured overlapping fronts which were secured with a buckled strap belt, protecting the wearer while allowing for an adjustable fit. The Burberry trench coat was invented several years later, during World War I. The trench coat was designed to provide functional support during the war. The trench coat’s shoulder epaulets were used to suspend supplies like guns and whistles, the D-rings held grenades, and the back storm shield protected the wearer from the rain. After the war, the Burberry trench coat remained, and the functional and stylish coat became especially popular among the British upper classes. In 1955, Queen Elizabeth II granted Burberry a Royal Warrant as a Weatherproofer, solidifying the brand’s status as a British mainstay. 

Burberry Check

Other than the trench coat, the check pattern is the most iconic Burberry signature. The house check design was originally used as a lining on coats in the 1920s, but throughout the 20th century it became more prominently displayed on other Burberry products, particularly the scarf. Legend has it that the creation of the checked Burberry scarf was accidental – in 1967 the manager of a Burberry store in Paris was creating a trench coat display, and turned up the hem on some of the coats to reveal the checked lining. Customers apparently loved the exposed check pattern, and Burberry responded by producing checked umbrellas and cashmere scarves.



Burberry and Logomania

While Burberry had been primarily associated with the British upper classes, by the 21st century the brand reached a new audience. The logomania of the 1990s saw high fashion designers like Chanel, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton put their branding front and center, and suddenly more was more. Luxury excess, not often associated with the stiff upper lip ethos of British conservatism, made its way to Burberry.

 New York-born Rose Marie Bravo became CEO of Burberry in the late 1990s, and transformed the heritage brand into one that could compete in the new fashion market. The iconic checked pattern, once reserved for accents or accessories, covered everything from clothing to handbags to bucket hats. In Burberry’s iconic Spring 2000 ad campaign, Kate Moss starred as a Burberry-clad bride, wearing a checked slip dress and checked bikini. Although this transformation was frowned upon by some (a 2004 article in The Guardian derisively described the brand’s evolution as “mass-market tackiness”), Burberry’s popularity grew outside of England, becoming a true international luxury brand.

Burberry Today 

Riccardo Tisci, an Italian designer who was previously a creative director at Givenchy, was announced as Burberry’s Chief Creative Officer in 2018. Tisci set out to combine the bold Burberry of the aughts with the brand’s classic archival pieces, stating at his debut show that, “I know we all talk about street, and I was one of the first, but, we forget about sophisticated cut and Savile Row tailoring.” Tisci continues to work in this vein, fusing his romantic history at Givenchy with new and old Burberry. The Burberry Fall 2022 show, which featured fully checked looks, trench coats deconstructed as evening gowns, and outerwear crafted from lush fabrics, exemplifies this current version of Burberry.

Why to Buy Burberry from Luxury Garage Sale

Burberry’s extensive archive ensures that there is something to suit any style. A classic trench coat will literally never go out of vogue, a checked handbag is playful and chic, and a pair of checked rain boots are trendy and practical. With vintage, pre-owned, and new items, Luxury Garage Sale has the Burberry that’s right for you. Browse our ever-growing selection, or contact a personal shopper.



Luxury Garage Sale is an upscale resale company specializing in high-end women’s fashion from designers like Chanel, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. Authenticity and excellent service are always guaranteed. Shop handbags, shoes, clothing, and more at up to 90% off retail prices.