Everything You Need to Know About Burberry


The Rich History of Burberry

Burberry has long enjoyed worldwide recognition for its iconic trench coats and distinctive Nova check pattern, often splashed across ready-to-wear, bags, shoes, accessories, and more. Founded in 1856 by Thomas Burberry, the brand has a rich history that spans over 150 years – from humble beginnings to its current status as a global fashion powerhouse, Burberry has consistently showcased its commitment to quality, craftsmanship, and innovation.

The story of Burberry begins in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England. At the age of 21, Thomas Burberry opened his first store, primarily focused on outdoor clothing. Inspired by the need for durable and weather-resistant garments, Burberry invented a new fabric called gabardine in 1879. This innovative material, made from tightly woven cotton, was not only water-resistant but also breathable. The introduction of gabardine revolutionized the world of outerwear and laid the foundation for Burberry’s success.

Burberry Coats On Rack

In the early 1900s, Burberry’s gabardine fabric caught the attention of explorers, aviators, and military personnel. The brand’s association with these adventurers led to the creation of the iconic Burberry trench coat. Initially designed for officers in the British military during World War I, the trench coat became a symbol of style and functionality. Its design featured epaulets, a D-ring belt, storm flaps, and a double-breasted front, making it a timeless classic that is still widely appreciated today. 

Burberry Nova check, another iconic element of the brand, made its first appearance in the 1920s. Originally used as a lining for the trench coats, the distinctive check pattern quickly gained popularity and became synonymous with the brand. Consisting of a camel, black, red, and white crisscross design, Nova has been incorporated into various Burberry products, including scarves, umbrellas, and bags.

In the 1990s, Burberry experienced a shift in its brand image. The popularity of its check pattern led to counterfeiting, which over the years has threatened to dilute the brand’s exclusivity.

Burberry Red Coat

How We Authenticate Burberry

The RealReal has a team of in-house luxury experts who authenticate all Burberry pieces, including ready-to-wear, bags, shoes, and accessories. “To authenticate a Burberry check product, there are several key indicators to look for,” explains Rodriguez. “First, examine the pattern itself. The classic Burberry check is a beige base with black, white, and red lines forming a symmetrical pattern. And this is dependent on the type of check we are examining. Next, inspect the craftsmanship and quality of the product. Look for neat stitching, precise logos, and high-quality materials. Additionally, check the labels and tags attached to the product. This includes care tags, brand stamps and engravings.”


Burberry’s New Era

In the early 2000s, under the leadership of new CEO Rose Marie Bravo and later, creative directors Christopher Bailey, Burberry underwent a significant rebranding effort.

The brand’s reinvention included a renewed focus on heritage, craftsmanship, and innovation. The iconic check pattern was reinterpreted and used more sparingly, while collaborations with renowned artists and designers like Vivienne Westwood infused new energy into the brand, attracting a younger audience. Burberry also embraced digital marketing and technology, becoming one of the first luxury fashion houses to livestream its runway shows.

Burberry Coat

Burberry’s modernization efforts paid off, and the brand regained its status as a global luxury leader. In 2018, Riccardo Tisci was named creative director, further modernizing  the brand with drops similar to those in streetwear. He also worked on sustainability efforts to reinforce the brand’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint. Burberry also launched the Burberry Foundation, which supports young creatives and provides access to arts and culture for disadvantaged communities.

Now, newly minted creative director Daniel Lee, best known for revamping Bottega Veneta, is reviving the brand’s subtle British eccentricities. He revamped the logo to reference its historical equestrian roots, and in his first campaign, cast a slew of British celebrities and creatives. “It was exciting to try to find the narrative of Burberry,” Lee has said. “And I wanted to go back to the idea of functionality, men and women on the go, and clothes that will last, that are not too precious.”

Honoring heritage brands and extending the lifecycle of luxury items.