The heritage, craftsmanship and innovation of Burberry

Discover more about the British luxury fashion brand founded in 1856

By British Fashion Council

Bust of Thomas Burberry (2016)Original Source: Burberry


A British luxury fashion brand, since 1856. Heritage, craftsmanship and innovation are at the heart of the Burberry story, as embodied by the iconic trench coat – woven from the weatherproof gabardine cloth invented by the founder Thomas Burberry. Today, the Burberry design studio is based in London under the direction of Chief Creative and Chief Executive Officer Christopher Bailey.

The brand’s founder, Thomas BurberryOriginal Source: Burberry

Thomas Burberry was an apprentice draper before establishing Burberry in 1856 – at the age of just 21

The coat's weatherproof fabric (2015)Original Source: Burberry


Gabardine, the innovative fabric used to make Burberry trench coats, was invented in 1879 by Thomas Burberry. Breathable and weatherproof, it revolutionised rainwear- which up until then had typically been heavy and uncomfortable.

Sir Ernest Shackleton on the Nimrod Expedition (1907–1909)Original Source: Burberry


Burberry was the outfitter of choice for several polar explorers, as the protective and lightweight qualities of gabardine make it well suited to cope with inhospitable conditions. The acclaimed explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton wore Burberry gabardine for three polar expeditions in the early 20th century.

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Every detail of the Burberry trench coat is designed to serve a purpose. Developed for the military, epaulettes displayed the rank of officers while the gun flap, buttoned at the chest, provided additional protection.

Burberry Trench Coat Design (2016)Original Source: Burberry

Burberry, The September Show (2016)Original Source: Burberry

The trench coat is at the heart of the Burberry brand and is continually reimagined for the runway in new colours, patterns, fits and fabrics.

Burberry and Dover Street Market (2016)Original Source: Burberry


Three original Burberry trench coats were reimagined by Dover Street Market's Rei Kawakubo and displayed in the new DSM store on London's Haymarket, together with a selection of exclusive, restored weatherproofs.

The Burberry Restored project comprises of original weatherproof coats individually sourced and proudly restored by Burberry in England.

Burberry cashmere scarves are made in Scotland and embody the brand's heritage of craftsmanship and protection against the weather. The classic cashmere scarf, featuring the iconic Burberry check, is made at a 200-year-old mill in Elgin, Scotland.

Dyeing Process, 2015, Original Source: Burberry
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Each scarf is worked on by 18 artisans and undergoes 30 different production processes, from combing the raw cashmere to hand-cutting the fringes on the finished product.

Carding, 2015, Original Source: Burberry
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The processes, some done by hand and others on traditional machines, are carried out at the family-run premises. Because of this, and the expertise of the people that work there, this Scottish business has become one of the finest textile manufacturers in the world.

Scarf Washing (2015)Original Source: Burberry

Burberry scarves are washed in Scottish spring water from the River Lossie, as part of the finishing process. The river is also used to create some of the world's most famous whiskies.

The September collection inside Makers House (2016)Original Source: Burberry


Makers House in London's Soho was the venue for the Burberry September 2016 show. The show brought together the men's and women's collections on the runway for the first time, and was available to purchase immediately afterwards.

The space remained open for the following week with an exciting programme of events and activities in collaboration with The New Craftsmen, some of Britain's finest makers, who brought the inspiration behind the runway to life.

Designed at the Burberry London studio under the creative direction of Christopher Bailey, the seasonless ‘see now, buy now’ womenswear and menswear collection is presented twice yearly on the runway at London Fashion Week.

Thomas's Cafe at Burberry, December 2016 (2016)Original Source: Burberry

Thomas's cafe is located within the Burberry flagship on London's Regent Street, serving an all-day menu of British classics, alongside a unique selection of gifts for the home. The space has been designed as part of a continuing collaboration with The New Craftsmen.

Thomas's Cafe at Burberry, December 2016 (2016)Original Source: Burberry

The September 2016 campaign (2016)Original Source: Burberry

Burberry advertising campaigns feature emerging and established British models, musicians and actors, and the brand proudly nurtures and celebrates British creative talent across a variety of projects, events and initiatives.

The Burberry September 2016 campaign was shot by Mario Testino on location at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. British models Jean Campbell, Alex Dragulele and musician Cavan McCarthy are pictured in looks from the September runway collection.

Benjamin Clementine at the Burberry Autumn/Winter 2016 show (2016)Original Source: Burberry


The brand's music platform Burberry Acoustic uncovers up-and-coming British artists and their talents, publishing on and YouTube.

Founded in 2010, the platform has commissioned over 100 performances since, from artists including Benjamin Clementine, Clare Maguire and Jake Bugg.

Credits: Story

This exhibit was created by the British Fashion Council in collaboration with Burberry.

All rights belong to Burberry unless otherwise specifically stated. All models and photographers have been credited where known.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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