Discover our brand history, including the invention of gabardine and the evolution of our signature trench coat design.
Born in 1835, he became an apprentice draper before establishing Burberry in 1856 – at the age of just 21 – initially specialising in outdoor clothing.
The innovative fabric was invented in 1879 by Thomas Burberry. Breathable and weatherproof, it revolutionised rainwear – which up until then had typically been heavy and uncomfortable to wear.
The trench coat began as the Tielocken. Patented by Burberry in 1912, it was an unbuttoned style made from gabardine and fastened with a belt.
The company moves into its first London store at 30 Haymarket in 1891.
The trench coat was developed to serve the needs of the military in the early 20th century. Epaulettes displayed an officer’s rank, while the belt’s metal D-rings were used to attach equipment.
The acclaimed polar explorer wore Burberry gabardine for three expeditions in the early 20th century, and is portrayed by Dominic West in The Tale of Thomas Burberry.
In 1937 Betty Kirby-Green and Flying Officer Arthur Clouston broke the world record for a return flight from London to Cape Town.
Betty and Arthur’s record-breaking flight lasted just over 45 hours.
The Tale of Thomas Burberry, 160 years in the making
Shot in England, the film was directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Asif Kapadia and written by Academy Award nominee Matt Charman.