In my head, I’m Alia Wang.
At the end of 2002, Jay Z released the song ’03 Bonnie and Clyde’ which featured Beyoncé. The track sampled TuPac’s ‘Me and My Girlfriend’ and earned the number four position on Billboard’s Hot 100. Thus, it equated to Beyoncé’s first top ten hit as a solo artist.
Whilst these achievements are more than noteworthy, the one element of the song that particularly resonated with me was Jay’s referencing of a British fashion house. According to the Brooklyn rapper, ‘the only time you wear Burberry (is) to swim.’
Fast forward twelve years later, the celebrity domain cannot wear enough Burberry – Beyoncé too!
Why, though? Well, in 2001 Christopher Bailey joined Burberry as the Creative Director. Previously, he had worked for both Donna Karan and Gucci – in the era where Tom Ford was at the helm. However, when he migrated to Burberry, Bailey was faced with significant challenges. The brand’s iconic plaid had become almost archaic but Christopher’s role required him to blend Burberry’s history of tartan and outerwear with a modern edge that would appeal to a wide-spanning demographic.
In 2006, Angela Ahrendts left her position as Vice President of Liz Claiborne to become Burberry’s CEO. Together they made innovative decisions; they invested millions of pounds into their runway presentations, installed iPads in every Burberry store for their sales assistants and heightened their online presence with live-chat functionality for sales. The result? The completed 2013 with a 14% rise in sales amounting to £528m.
The collaboration of Ahrendts / Bailey and the impact which it had on the fashion house received positive acclaim from critics and customers alike. Style.com’s Sarah Mower wrote that turning “the frumpy old country lady’s Burberry into a fashionable thing” is “something of a cause for national pride in Britain.”
However, earlier this year Apple recruited Angela Ahrendts to the position of Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores. The vacancy at Burberry proved controversial as Christopher Bailey was promoted to the positions of both Creative Director and CEO. Whilst shareholders voted against Bailey’s rise in salary, the market has yet to reflect customers’ dissatisfaction.
Whether you agree with the brand’s business decisions or not, Burberry’s re-branding and management landscape continues to fascinate me.
Standing at 105.5 cm, investing in a fashion brand is not a decision I take lightly. Quite often, a litany of alternations need to be made in order for the garment to fit me properly, which in turn would add to the cost and mean losing a significant amount of fabric to my dressmaker’s scissors. Thus, I have abstained and purchase accessories instead. (I have more scarves than you shake a stick at)
This week though, I strongly contemplated renouncing my title as a high-fashion pioneer as I discovered Burberry’s childrenswear. Clothes made for infants and teens are often twee and over-sentimental but Burberry’s line reflects the garments in their adult lookbooks but remain age-appropriate; a combination very few perfect.
The good news? You can purchase all of the above in sizes measuring 4 years to fourteen years. Thus, if you’re on the shorter side of average height, you can jump on this bandwagon.
The not so good news? For the items above, prices span from €215.00 to €1,895. As a student, they are not within my discretionary income budget but in a few years time, I shall be meandering down Grafton Street in head-to-toe plaid. Maybe.