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Thomas Burberry was a visionary. Burberry's history began in 1856 when Thomas, at 21 years old, opened his own store in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England. The company's primary focus was on heavy duty clothing to withstand the elements. This focus produced clothing with its own patented fabric, the infamous Gabardine.

Known for being a durable water-resistant fabric it was so revolutionary Burberry went on to patent it in 1888. It was made using an innovative process whereby the yarn was waterproofed before weaving. Gabardine is a Shakespearean term referring to shelter from inclement weather. Burberry developed five different types of gabardine including "Airylight," "Double-Weave," "Karoo," "Wait-a-bit," and "Tropical." He even patented "Burberry-proofed" linings made from silk and wool.

The brand has evolved quite a bit over the past century. The company who first started producing simple outdoor attire is known today as a high-end fashion mainstay. What an evolution. Burberry handbags, coats, scarves, and even umbrellas sport Burberry's signature trademarked nova-check pattern, a plaid pattern that features black, white and red stripes overlaid upon a khaki background.

Often imitated, their signature plaid is recognizable anywhere. This pattern was first found in the lining of trench coats which Thomas Burberry helped to make mainstream. He was commissioned in 1914 by the British War Office to modify the officer's coats and the rest as they say is history. The classic check pattern was integrated into the line in 1924 but the pattern wasn't trademarked by the company until 1967.

Employing a variety of labels to distinguish its garments from imitators, Burberry registered the "Equestrian Knight" trademark in 1909 and it is also recognizable the world over. Their logo actually represents several Burberry ideals. The armor signifies the protection afforded by the outerwear, the "Chivalry of Knighthood" reflects the company's own standards of integrity, and the Latin adverb "prorsum" ( forward ) referred to Burberry's innovative fabrics and styles.

No matter how you look at it the brand is so strong that still to today The Burberry name is virtually synonymous with the tan gabardine raincoat pioneered by the company more than 145 years ago. The company also has endorsements of quality from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and The Prince of Wales. Considered a "rite of passage" by some, a Burberry coat was a prerequisite for a first job interview.

Writing for Women's Wear Daily in 1989, Andrew Collier went on to describe the garment as "a mainstay in outerwear worldwide, and symbolizes all that is Britain: sturdy and unassuming, equally at home in fine hotels and muddy lanes." In 1999, the firm launched the Prorsum designer collection as part of its efforts to reinvent Burberry's luxury brand status. An icon of classic clothing, Burberry has utilized licensing and brand extensions to appeal to a younger generation of fashion-conscious customers. brings to you Burberry's impeccable taste and innovation. They truly signify how a brand should evolve.

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