Careers in Fashion that Begin with a Great Idea

by Sarah Clark
Fashion School Review Columnist

May 8, 2006

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Sometimes a great clothing design company begins with a simple but classic idea. That was the case with Burburry, the 150-year-old company founded by draper Thomas Burburry in 1856.

After finishing up a draping apprenticeship, Thomas Burburry opened an "outfitters shop" in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England at the age of 21.

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Over the next several decades, Burburry's career in fashion would focus on providing quality outdoor gear to men on the move--from those embarking on dangerous trips to the South Pole to British soldiers in need of durable, robust outdoor wear.

But how did an essentially outdoor company transform itself into one of the most exclusive brands of our time?

In addressing that question, or at least part of it, Vogue magazine looked to Burburry's current designer, Christopher Bailey, in its May, 2006 issue. Bailey, it seems, has a knack for taking classic styles that have served the company so well and introducing elements of eclecticism in the form of a bit of fur trim here and a gold stitch or two there.

Of course it takes more than just a talented clothing designer to take a company from staid to ultra-chic and modern. The company's advertising campaigns appear to have gotten markedly more ambitious in recent years, recruiting the likes of Kate Moss and Stella Tennant to promote their brand.

Those seeking a career in fashion marketing or clothing design should take note, as the transition that Burburry underwent is one that others should study closely. It's a lesson in brand development, marketing, and of course, superb clothing design.


About the Author
Sarah Clark is a freelance writer specializing in career development and postsecondary education.

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