Burberry was founded in 1856 by 21 year old Thomas Burberry. A former draper's apprentice, he set up shop in Basingstoke and over the next 20 years established Burberry as a business providing outdoor clothing. It wasn't until 1880, 24 years later, that he patented a hardwearing, water resistant fabric "gabardine" and became famous for the perfect English raincoat. With an increasing international customer base the brand started to be known as "Burberrys of London" and so the name was changed to Burberrys. It wasn't until 1998 that the 's' was dropped and the brand went back to being Burberry.
Burberry became the number one provider of weatherproof clothing for famous explorers, sportsman, the army as well as international business men. But in the 1980'S the brand was adopted as a status symbol by football fans and the Burberry check became their "clobber" of choice. Soon the famous check was in danger of loosing it's exclusivity, it increasingly become associated with football fans and the likes of Danielle Westbrook and fell victim to counterfeiters the world over.
Burberry fought back to retrieve the brand. Christopher Bailey joined as Creative Director in 2001 and it was when Angela Ahrendts joined in 2006 that things began to turn around for the design house.
Under Angela's direction the check was removed from most of the product lines and she oversaw the buy out of the Spanish franchise which was damaging the brand through unfettered licensing. Angela Ahrendts vision was a "digital first approach" She hired a young dynamic marketing team and leveraged social media to engage and inspire her customers. Through innovative technology and operational excellence she connected the offline presence to a digital world. Her success came from having the vision to combine the marketing department with their technology partners creating an amazing eco-system that helped revitalise Burberry into an upmarket luxury brand.
Burberry is now one of the most successful and iconic brands of our time and a leader in the digital space. Angela has left for Apple, Christopher Bailey will be taking over as chief executive officer and we expect more great things from a brand that has shown the fashion world what innovation in design can achieve.
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