Discover our brand history, including the invention of gabardine and the evolution of our signature trench coat design. Thomas Burberry – 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 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.

Burberry was the outfitter of choice for several polar explorers, as our gabardine fabric’s protective and lightweight qualities made it well-suited to cope with inhospitable conditions.


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