The history of the Burberry line of clothing for men, women, and children is almost as checkered as the trademark plaid lining that tells everyone an article of clothing is a true Burberry. This is especially interesting, considering the clothing line’s humble beginnings.
Thomas Burberry is the founder of Burberry Clothing. He began working with fabric as an apprentice, and later owner, of a drapery shop.
It was Burberry’s idea to develop the tan gabardine raincoat that is Burberry’s trademark. Burberry did so after noticing how uncomfortable and awkward the heavy rain gear that was worn in England could be.
Britain’s King Edward is said to be the first person to specifically request that a Burberry raincoat be purchased for him. This original celebrity order caused the garment to become known simply as a Burberry.
In fact, the term “trench coat” was adopted for the famous Burberry raincoat, when military officers began to wear it during World War I. It's exceptional durability made it a staple for military wear, especially after a military officer wrote of having to discard it after landing in water during a forced plane evacuation, and having it returned to him days later still in wearable condition.
In more recent times, the trademark tan/black/red/white plaid lining that adorns these coats now makes Burberry clothing easily recognizable. But, it was not until a saleswoman randomly exposed the plaid lining of the raincoats by turning up the hem of a raincoat in a window display. Burberry then decided to duplicate the checkered pattern in an umbrella. This led to requests for other umbrellas as well as scarves in the trademark Burberry design.