Tan plaid and trench coats, without having to say the brand name, everyone knows the iconic style of Burberry. This high-fashion brand was not always in the luxury market, but as a rugged and outdoors style.

Burberry was founded in 1856 by Thomas Burberry, starting with a small outdoor outfitter store for sports and camping gear in Basingstoke, England. Later he moved to London, starting the expansion of his business.

The brand was known for popularizing the highly-woven fabric, gabardine, serving as durable material for outerwear clothing. Burberry grew his clientele of customers who enjoyed outdoor sports and hunting. His fashion was known for a versatile look for upscale daily wear but rugged style for outdoor activities.

Burberry’s style has a political background when British army officers wore the Tielocken style Burberry coats in the 1890’s, during the Boer War.

In 1911 Norwegian explorer Ronald Amundsen and his team were outfitted with Burberry clothing and tents. The tents used the famed gabardine material, showing that it can hold well through cold weather conditions.

The success of the South Pole expedition led to the patent of the Tielocken coat, which was the inspiration behind the trench coat and gained popularity among army officers during WWI. The trench coat was a varied design from the Tielocken coat with added epaulets and d-rings, for military use.

After World War I the traditional neutral-colored check was designed and was used as the liner for trench coats, registering the design under trademark. Burberry received recognition from the military, even drawing attention from royalty.

Burberry has received several royal warrants, meaning that the British monarchy commends them on their work. Burberry also had their fashion features in films with celebrities including Audrey Hepburn (Breakfast at Tiffany’s) and Humphrey Bogart (Casablanca).

The brand was recognized as high-fashion starting in the 1990’s with Burberry wanting to focus on being a fashion name rather than a classic brand. Italian designer, Roberto Menichetti, launched a new fashion line Prorsum.

Prorsum introduced more of a fashionable approach to the classic style, using the iconic check pattern from trench coats for various styles. The name Prorsum drives from forward in Latin, featured on the banner in the Burberry logo since 1901.

Menchetti’s successor, Christopher Bailey, took the fashion brand to new heights in 2001 including a fragrance line, diverse line of products, and major ad campaigns.

Check out the video above to learn more about Burberry’s iconic history.