Blog: Leonie BarrieBurberry backlash

Leonie Barrie | 17 November 2003

You’d better be careful next time you don your trendy Burberry togs for a night on the town – you could end up red-faced and thirsty. The British fashion label’s attempts to make its camel, red and black check more accessible have backfired – or been spectacularly successful, depending on how you look at it – to such an extent that its distinctive designs are now banned from several British pubs, restaurants and nightclubs where they are linked more with football hooligans and rowdy street gangs than respectable fashion folk.

Last week, a woman toting a Burberry bag and umbrella was turned away from a pub in Aberdeen, Scotland because of the brand’s perceived tie with hooligan culture. She was so humiliated she took her story to the papers, generating acres of unwanted publicity. Burberry has, it seems, been tarred with the same brush as other designer labels such as Lacoste, Aquascutum, Evisu and Stone Island which have also been adopted as the troublemakers’ unofficial uniform.

I can’t help but think the brand’s distinctive look is creeping into overkill, and this unwanted association is a direct result of its distinctive look – which is now replicated at low-end stores across the country. But unfortunately, no amount of advertising or brand building can dictate who buys the clothes and when and where they wear them.


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