Jocelyn YihMakers House

Burberry Makers House

Jocelyn YihMakers House
Burberry Makers House

The evolution of fashion has become more apparent in recent months, with the most recent highlight being the ‘See Now, Buy Now’ technique, which has already found its way in numerous brands.

Burberry was one of the first to announce and adapt to this strategy, particularly in 2015 where the Burberry Prorsum, London and Brit have unified to come under the now single Burberry brand, and earlier months of this year where the brand has been pressurised to step up, due to reclining growth in market value. Since Bailey’s disclosure earlier this year, the industry raised their eyebrows to the unconventional method. Such a strategy was never implemented due to the way the industry operates. Time is required to divide between the designing six months before the show debut, in-house advertising campaign for magazines, showing of the runway collection followed by a visit for buyers and press, production after wholesale buyers have submitted their orders, brand marketing and visual merchandising to follow.

To squeeze what is originally a process that is stretched out over a year from its designing to the point where the items actually reach in-stores for customers (or longer if considering International markets), is like completing a 2-year-accelerated LLB degree (rather than the average 3 years) – possible, but the name itself suggests its intensiveness.

So what’s the rush?

Much of the process is concerned with time, but moreover a process of re-branding. Burberry naturally has a strong English heritage and international audience - in fact, the brand’s digital numbers have been on the rise since 2014. And so the problem did not lie within its history, but the formation of a relatable dialect.

Traditions come with a price, whether in the live orchestra the brand chooses to employ every show or a muse. Still in current times, it would be absurd to see the brand without its iconic trench coats and Scottish-woven cashmere scarves. Though without emotional engagement, the dialogue dries up. Which is why it is so important for brands to maintain a presence in a way that doesn’t deafen its audience with the already excessive amount of click-and-go online content, but instead to develop a conversation that actually delivers.

Thus, the results: a change in the show venue (the smaller, more intimate Makers House in Soho rather than the previous Kensington Gardens venue) along with the release of the short film The Tale of Thomas Burberry which illsutrates 160 years of history in 3 and a half-minute. Both of which are enormous investments for the brand. For the first time of my witness, a fashion show venue has allowed people to stay after what is usually a triumph quarter of an hour. Makers House has opened as a week-long pop-up for the public to experience the inspiration and craftsmanship, as a collaboration with The New Craftsmen, featuring the best of British culture. From the live theatrical readings of Virginia Woolf’s literature love letter ‘Orlando’ by Clara Paget to the sculpting by Thomas Merrett, and calligraphy by Rosalind Wyatt. West-London based calligraphy artist Rosalind Wyatt speaks of our present day world as ‘bombarded with messages all the time, and Art is another message – almost like an assault on the senses.’ She further explains that she rather creates Art that is lasting, meaningful with a subtle message to it. And that visual is very much intertwined with the message Burberry is trying to bring. 

To make people think about who they are, what they are doing here… Not just about creating something that is instantly understandable, but presenting a view that makes people think there is something bigger.
— Rosalind Wyatt

The clothing followed Woolf's illustration of the Elizabeth I period in 'Orlando', with romanticized and over-the-top ruffled collars and beaded military jackets. Busier prints appeared in forest greens, often loaded with historic castles and florals, over-layered with see-through ruffles and lace fabrics. Highlights of the collection include the new satchel style 'Bridle bag' and Tassel Detail Leather Army Boots.

And during a period where more is precisely more, Burberry has stepped its foot to mark a new step right on time. 

Words & Photography / Jocelyn Yih