A brand famous internationally among the top dogs leading the luxury fashion industry, fortified by having recently been dubbed as brand of the year at the British Fashion Awards, it’s more than my pleasure to be writing about a personal favourite: Burberry. The British powerhouse, who’s history extends back over 150 years ago, is a brand which not only creates classic iconic clothing, yet also manages to remain a modern technological figure, standing at the forefront with a dominating social media presence across the world. It hasn’t always been a clean sailing ride for Burberry, with a less-than-favourable reputation having developed during the 90’s, and in more recent times, an array of mishaps and shockers leaving investors particularly cautious. Nevertheless, as a consumer, I can’t imagine several of Burberry’s pieces ever being a bad investment for the wardrobe, unless you’re talking about those horrendous caps which are usually seen accompanied by obnoxious chanting and a delightful spit on the floor.
There’s much to drone on about with the history of Burberry, something which I’ll try my best to keep short and sweet. It all started back in 1856 when Thomas Burberry, a mere 21 year old, decided to open his own store which later began focusing on outerwear. Fast forwarding to the 1900’s, Burberry was asked to adapt British officers’ coats for the conditions of warfare, and thus the trench coat was born utilising Burberry’s patented gabardine fabric, and eventually the brand’s signature check lining. It gets a bit messy discussing the origins of the trench as Aquascutum is also a brand known for defining the trench coat, but the least we can agree on is that the coat’s heritage is British. There’s much to say about what happened next, with Burberry facing huge issues during the 1990’s being commonly associated with hooliganism and chavs, but let’s just say the brand has left this image in the dust, thanks to the aid of creative mind Christopher Bailey, as well as a string of formidable American CEOs.
a string of very strong campaigns have reinforced Burberry’s British image
The 2010’s have seen strong strides by Burberry, featuring British celebrity after celebrity within their striking campaign imagery. Then there’s been Jourdan Dunn & Cara Delevingne taking the world by storm, combined with Burberry’s innovative catwalks such as their holographic show in Beijing in 2011, and making it snow in London 2012. More recently though, 2013 has been an eventful year for Burberry; facing the fears of losing their patented check in China, the stepping-down of their beloved CEO Angela Ahrendts (and surprising replacement by Christopher Bailey), and a surprising yet successful catwalk “innovation” by adopting the use of iPhones to provide a live feed of the show. The brand is still making significant ripples in the industry having been dubbed as brand of the year at the British Fashion Awards, in addition to Christopher Bailey being awarded menswear designer of the year. So having proven themselves as a brand with both brains & beauty, what should the average guy be thinking about when purchasing from the outerwear giant?
Burberry’s trench coat use in pop culture - Johnny Hallyday in Hong Kong film Vengeance
It’s a no-brainer to start off with the trench coat. Be it in navy, camel or black, the trench coat is truly a timeless piece of clothing that exudes both class and confidence. It’s true however that a trench coat doesn’t suit everyone, looking either too feminine for some gents or simply “not right” for others. I think the safest way to approach the trench coat is go for something that isn’t too fitted, as really that’s the point of the belt, which is there to make it tight if necessary. Officer’s trench coats used to be significantly large, worn over layer after layer to provide warmth against harsh conditions. The classic Burberry trench coats’ definitive features include the double gun flaps (the fabric that folds down on the front of the shoulders), the epaulettes (the flaps on top of the shoulders) and the rain shield (the flap which covers the back of the trench coat).
Other good investments include staple white shirts from the brand, which as boring as they may sound, Burberry shirts are some of the softest things I’ve ever worn. The signature cashmere scarves were also insanely popular with the Hong Kong crowd, which ultimately resulted in millions of fakes being produced across Asia since unfortunately, the check is actually quite easy to reproduce. Saying that, you can’t go wrong with a good Burberry check tie or scarf. Blended scarves are around the £200 price mark, where as the cashmere scarves are around £300. It might sound like a hefty price point for just something you’d wear around your neck, but again the point of luxury fashion for me personally, is saving up for something that you actually really want to buy, and know you’ll probably be appreciating it for the rest of your life. I wouldn’t say it’s a cardinal sin to be mixing highstreet with designer.
It might be worth checking out Bicester Village in Oxford, which is a designer outlet featuring some great brands such as Ralph Lauren, Mulberry and of course, Burberry. Talking about another kind of Oxford, Regent Street near Oxford Circus is home to a pretty extravagant Burberry store boasting a 44,000 square-foot space. Those not even looking to leave their warm houses this winter might just want to look at the brand’s website, which is perhaps slightly TOO busy but features all of the collection accompanied by lavish images and history-explaining bits of texts.
I’ve noticed my pieces are getting wordier and wordier, but with these little (well, not quite so little) features on the side I’m hoping to entice people to look at things they normally wouldn’t. So, as a reward for being patient reading my article-borderline-essay, I’ll be posting up lots of outfits for the rest of the month. Happy December.
- Mr. Boy