Profile: The Burberry Heritage Collection

Fashion brand Burberry has long been emblematic of British history and heritage since its founding in 1856 by Thomas Burberry. Two iconic styles, the Burberry Trench Coat and Check Scarf, are at the heart of the brand's skyrocketing contemporary popularity

Fashion brand Burberry has long been emblematic of British history and heritage since its founding in 1856 by Thomas Burberry. Two iconic styles, the Burberry Trench Coat and Check Scarf, are at the heart of the brand's skyrocketing popularity, and part of the Burberry Heritage Collection which celebrates the brand's rich history. 


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Burberry's trench coat has risen to stardom as the brand's signature piece; it is a celebrity favorite and is considered one of the brand's most iconic pieces. The coat, originally created to protect officers from the wind and rain, has evolved since its debut 100 years ago but has remained timeless, and is one of the most stylish and coveted pieces for autumn-winter.

Thomas Burberry's original, the Burberry Tielocken, featured a coat without buttons and with a belted closure, made from gabardine, a material invented by Burberry's founder that is considered a pinnacle in fashion, as it altered the way rainwear was made. Gabardine is a tightly woven cloth, made from yarn woven in a compact twill construction with over 100 interlaced threads per centimeter. The open spaces, although miniscule, permit ventilation but its compact structure obstructs rain from permeating the fabric. Triple proofing the cloth further enhances its protective qualities, making it a lighter and much more breathable option from the bulky, stiff and uncomfortable alternatives available.

Today, gabardine is woven at the Burberry mill in England but technological developments have enhanced its water-repellent qualities and further established the Burberry trenchcoat as unique in providing both functionality and timeless style. Producing garbadine is a meticiulous process: only the finest cotton with a sizeable fiber length is chosen to be spun into yarn. Two fine yarns are twisted together before the fabric undergoes finishing and is checked twice by eye. Color, too, is under strict regulation, and must be signed off by experts at the mill. 

It is not difficult to see the appeal of the trenchcoat - it is timelessly elegant, a classic piece that embodies the brands ethos. Initially developed for the military, certain design elements remain, such as the epaulettes, then used for displaying the rank of officers and the gun flap which buttoned at the chest for additional protection. A storm shield on the back allows water to run off the coat, keeping the wearer dry while the back pleat allowed for expansion when running or on horseback. The coat is belted at the waist, in order to further protect from the elements, with metal D-rings in place to attach tools. 

Burberry trench coats are crafted in Castleford, and take up to three weeks to make, due to the involvement of more than 100 processes that require high skill to ensure quality. The stitching of the collar, in particular, is one of the most unique aspects of the trench coat. This process alone takes up to a year to learn, a method that has long been a part of Burberry's heritage. Some 11.5 stitches per inch are hand-placed by a craftsman along the length of the collar, creating a fluid curve that makes it sit perfectly on the neck. Clean edges are also a big part of the design, which appear on the cuff straps and belt particularly, while the design of the back pleat has not changed in 100 years. And what would a Burberry trench coat be without the classic check print that lines the interior? Originating in the 1920's, the pattern is made up of camel, ivory, red and black. Expert attention is needed to ensure that the interior design is completely symmetrical to achieve a sleek look.

The collection comes in three stellar colors from the Burberry Heritage Archive – honey, stone and black, and is available in three fits: slim, modern or classic. Choose from a range of short, long or mid-length styles in womenswear, menswear and childrenswear.

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The brand’s supple cashmere scarves also embody Burberry’s commitment to expert craftsmanship and heritage. The scarves have been around since the 1880’s but are now a modern accessory recognized as another Burberry icon.

Using the highest quality materials and partnering with a family-run Scottish mill established in 1797, Burberry ensures the utmost quality in producing its cashmere. The cashmere is harvested and transported to Scotland to undergo 40 processes that incorporate traditional methods long a part of history with technological advancements. Each fibre must have a super-fine diameter and color has to be the perfect shade for optimum lightness and richness. Fibers are blended, dyed and carded, before being spun into yarn and woven on traditional looms. The cloth is brushed on hand-built frames that contain natural teasel heads before being cut and pressed to give it texture. 

Burberry’s check design is the most distinctive feature of the scarf, using the same classic color palette or camel, black, ivory and red since the pattern originated in the 1920s. The check scarves have undergone a modern facelift, now available in charcoal and stone.

The heritage collection proffers solid colored scarves in parade red, charcoal and stone, as well as a new crinkled cashmere texture in parade red, camel, charcoal and stone.

Burberry is offering a monograming service in-store and on from September 2014. Giant check and solid cashmere scarves are eligible for the service, which offers up to three characters. Available worldwide from September 3 (USA from November) 2014.

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