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Thomas Burberry | Success story of the ‘Burberry’ brand



Thomas Burberry

Thomas Burberry was one of the most influential British designers of his time. His success story is about getting over poverty and establishing himself. Thomas lost his parents early; he had to take responsibility quite early. In 1847, Burberry entered the family business, which became the Thomas Burberry Company.

Early Life

Thomas Burberry was born on the 7th of April 1814 in London, England. His father ran a successful business with Edward, a fashion designer. At age 17, he left the family business to pursue his passion for art and design. He studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in London and then continued to study at various other art schools during the following years.

After his mother died in 1850 and his father passed away in 1852, Burberry decided to do something for himself instead of running his company from home. He moved into a new house in Kensington with Emma Wardrop’s maid (1821–1864). He designed several fashionable nightwear pieces to make ends meet until she could find work elsewhere in London.

Later in 1861, Burberry married Emma Wardrop, with whom he had five kids.

Thomas Burberry


After his father’s death, Burberry bought his factory in 1847. He became the Managing Director and led the company until he died in 1875. The business multiplied, and he could purchase several other factories as well. By the end of his life, he had bought over 18 factories, employing over 2,000 people.

Burberry designed many of his fashion lines for women, but he is best known for creating the famous trench coat during the Great War. His designs were featured in many magazines, including Vanity Fair and Harper’s Bazaar.

Thomas Burberry
Burberry Fashion show

Burberry’s first significant designs were coats and suits worn by celebrities like Queen Victoria, Princess Alice of Albany, and George IV. The designs became so popular that other fashion designers copied them. By 1844, he earned over £10,000 through sales of his first coat.

Lessons to Learn from Thomas Burberry

Thomas belonged to a poor household had less to no means to grow. But he tried working hard pushed his limits constantly, which brought him success. However, there were times in his life where was demotivated and sad. He didn’t stop. He worked, and he earned it. The company might have been under several financiers and creative directors. But something that we can’t defy is Thomas Burberry’s outstanding work in the field of fashion.

Also Read: Diana Vreeland | Success story of the VOGUE editor

What is Burberry famous for?

Trench coats

What's the trademark pattern of Burberry?

It’s a pattern of tan, black and red tartan known as the “Haymarket Check. ”

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