Thomas Burberry started a clothing manufacturer in 1856. In 1880, he invented a wateproof and windproof fabric that he named gabardine.
Burberry made his first raincoats a decade later. Burberry raincoats were adopted as standard issue for British military officers on the battlefield during World War I, earning them the sobriquet of "trench coats".
Burberry also designed clothes for Shackleton's, Scott's, and Amundsen's polar expeditions. The Burberry equestrian knight logo was first used in 1901. In 1920, Burberry began to use its signature beige and red check (plaid) lining, which it trademarked and still uses.
Burberry trench coats were featured with iconic movie characters, such as those played by Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther films, and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's, yet Burberry has remained the quintessential British fashion. Burberry coats have remained remarkably constant in their design over a century, with epaulets, storm flaps, and metal D-rings having been present since the beginning.
Burberry's changed its marketing name to Burberry in 1999. Despite protests from Britons as prominent as Prince Charles, Burberry closed its last plant in the United Kingdom in March 2007, to move its manufacturing operations to Asia and save money.
Christopher Bailey, formerly a womenswear designer at Gucci, is the current head designer for Burberry, and has strongly developed their Prorsum line.
Burberry has been granted Royal Warrants by Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince of Wales.