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is a U.K. based outfitter, manufacturing clothing and other apparel, often in a distinctive check pattern, that has become one of its most common copied trademarks. The company has branded stores and franchises around the world, and also sells through concessions in third party stores. It also runs a catalogue business and has a fragrance line. Both HM Queen Elizabeth and HRH The Prince of Wales have granted the company Royal Warrants.


Burberry clothing was founded in 1856 when 21 year old Thomas Burberry, a former draper's apprentice, opened his own store in Basingstoke, Hampshire. By 1870 the business had become well established and focused on the development of outdoors attire. In 1880 Thomas Burberry invented gabardine fabric, which is hardwearing, water-resistant, yet breathable, in which the yarn is waterproofed before weaving. A patent was taken out for this in 1888.

In 1891 Thomas Burberry opened an emporium in the Haymarket, London, which still stands today as the company's headquarters. Ten years later, the company was commissioned by the War Office to design a new service uniform for British officers. They also became the outfitters for Roald Amundsen, the first man to reach the South Pole in 1911, then to Ernest Shackleton on his 1914 expedition to cross Antarctica. When war broke out in Europe that year, the company modified its military designs to suit the conditions of contemporary warfare encountered by British troops, and the trenchcoat was created. After the war it became popular with civilians and over the years has been worn by Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther films, and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's. In 1955 Burberry was bought by Great Universal Stores (GUS), owners of U.K. High street retailers Argos and Homebase.

The Burberry Check

The red, white, black, and camel check, known as the 'Nova,' which came to be synonymous with Burberry, was first used as a lining for their trenchcoat in 1924. It wasn't until as late as 1967 that the Burberry Check, by now registered as a trademark, was widely used on its own for items including umbrellas, scarves and luggage. After the entry of a new management team in 1997, the brand was revitalised. Once mainly the preserve of the upper-middle class older women, the patronage of celebrities in the U.K. and U.S., including David and Victoria Beckham and hip-hop artists, gave it wider appeal. During the 1980s the brand had become popular with the British football casual cult, leading to it to being associated with chavs, hooligans and members of football firms in the 2000s. The Burberry check baseball cap, a favourite of chavs, was discontinued by the company in 2004 to distance itself from the maligned group. The company blamed weak Christmas 2004 sales in the UK on its chav image.

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The above article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia   Retrieved and Modified by Apparel Search 2/6/06

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