Founded in 1856 by Thomas Burberry, a 21-year-old British entrepreneur and dressmaker, Burberry expanded into London in the 1890s. Originally well-known for creating a breathable, waterproof fabric called gabardine, Burberry outerwear was worn by famous adventurers like Roald Amundsen (the first man to lead a successful expedition to the South Pole) and George Mallory (who failed to reach the top of Mount Everest). At the height of World War I, the British War Office commissioned the company to redesign its officer's coat, which resulted in the created of Burberry's iconic trench coat. After the war was done, these same trench coats began to gain popularity among civilians. Burberry designed its classic checkered pattern (now known as the Haymarket check) in the 1920s and started using it as a lining inside its trench coats and other products.
Burberry's popularity went international in the mid-20th century. Characters in classic movies like Casablanca and Breakfast at Tiffany's could be seen wearing the company's products, and the manufacturer began to expand its line to include luxury handbags and luggage. After debuting its flagship New York store in 1970, Burberry began opening locations all over the United States. Today, the company has more than 500 stores worldwide. Its ad campaigns have featured well-known British celebrities, including Kate Moss, Emma Watson, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
Burberry currently manufactures the majority of its products under three sub-brands: Prorsum, London, and Brit. Burberry Prorsum is the manufacturer's fashion brand, and it produces items like luxury formalwear as well as extremely high-end coats, sweaters, and t-shirts. The Burberry London division includes some of the company's best-known, classic items such as trenches, coats, suits, dresses, knitwear, and trousers. Burberry Brit is the most affordable collection, and it features clothes meant for everyday wear. Burberry's lines for teens and adults also include accessories like scarves, purses, wallets, and umbrellas--many of which feature the company's iconic check patterns.
The Burberry clothes designed for babies and children range from sizes for newborns up to product lines for 4- to 14-year-olds. Products for babies include playsuits, onesies, jackets, snowsuits, dresses, and trousers. Toddler fashions feature signature Burberry prints on dresses, sweaters, skirts, trousers, shoes, and coats. Products for boys and girls up to 14 years of age include smaller versions of the company's classic trench coats and scarves as well as appropriately-sized sweaters, jerseys, dresses, and more.
With its extremely high-end, fashionable products, Burberry clothes and accessories certainly aren't going to be in everyone's price range. Even its more affordable Burberry Brit line still carries a hefty price tag. If you can afford Burberry's clothes, however, you certainly won't be disappointed in terms of quality. Developments like the gabardine fabric are still as functional today as they were more than 100 years ago, and Burberry has truly cornered the market on fashionable but useful trench coats. Burberry's product lines--especially for kids in particular--cover a broad spectrum of clothes and accessories for every age group, and their styles tend to be classic rather than trendy.
In 2008, the company created the Burberry Foundation, which helps young people make the connections necessary to expand their dreams. Combined with the manufacturer's ethical trade and sourcing practices as well as its commitment to environmental sustainability, Burberry has established itself as a very responsible company. On the whole, Burberry manufactures high-quality products and the company has a long, rich history behind it, so we give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.