The rise of the Burberry Nova check print
It’s as if Vicky Pollard never happened
Remember what we used to think of Burberry print in the late 90s?
It became so popular that the distinctive check went the way of tacky. It was hard to tell the difference between fakes and the real thing. It became a glaring trademark of the fetishisation of brands over taste .
But now, there has been a Burberry renaissance. The print has shaken its connotations, and people are wearing it again, non-ironically. And they actually look pretty good. Kylie Jenner was seen in a Burberry bikini a few weeks ago, around ten Burberry products an hour are posted on Depop. There’s even a Facebook group called Burberry Talk UK.
I spoke to some people about their thoughts on the brands revival.
Sam Matthew, 22, owner of vintage shop, M21
The way I see fashion is like a loop, or cycle. There are limited styles and trends, and they come and go. Especially with men’s fashion – it is more limited than women’s. This explains the sudden rise of Burberry over the past few years.
Burberry, the Nova Check in particular, was originally associated with the wealthy, whether that meant shirts or caps. But as the fashion cycle continued, it became very popular within working class Britain in the late 90s/early noughties. That is the fashion cycle that I think is looping right now.
We seem to be saying goodbye to the pretty boy look of spray-on jeans and a cheap nylon bomber, and welcoming, once again, wide legs, corduroy and high-priced (second hand) vintage from brands including Versace, Ralph Lauren, Burberry, and Stone Island.
Laura Fitzpatrick, student at Manchester
I love it so much. I think it’s almost a kind of novelty thing now, quite nostalgic. I embrace it in the same way I’d embrace a pink Adidas jacket – but I’d never have worn it ten years ago. I got this jacket from my mum, and I’m always searching for new Burberry stuff on Depop. I really want one of the skirts. I have about ten bookmarked.
For me, Burberry is an out of reach brand but one that I respect for its (obvious) style, quality, heritage and longevity.
I don’t really know any of the collections from 10 years ago so can’t really comment on whether I’d have worn it then, but I think Burberry has always been the name for timeless classics.
Bea Stoneham, fashion student
I think it’s got a lot to do with recent music and videos. It’s one of those ironic brands that used to be seen only on those rich and famous people with no fashion sense, but now it’s cool again. It’s like how Ralph Lauren used to be for the elder gent playing golf, but now every 20-year old boy across England is wearing a Polo hat. And girls – I have four. It’s also to do with the trend for boyish clothes, like vintage Burberry shirts. I actually bought some (fake) Burberry stuff while I was travelling in Vietnam – including this scarf.
All my friends try and wear as much designer as possible, but on bucket hats and oversized coats like Louis Vuitton and Burberry. It’s all about the swag. But don’t get me wrong, I’d never wear head-to-toe Burberry print. It’s all about the novelty garment.
Jayne, Depop seller
I love my Burberry cap, but I’m selling it on Depop as I know it’s worth quite a lot of money.
George M-G, CEO
Nowadays, I think that Burberry and its print define the classic English gent.
Olivia Noon, student
I think Burberry’s complete overhaul has made it much more appealing to a younger crowd. New campaigns starring people like Emma Watson and Cara Delevingne have made the brand cool again and erased its old reputation. I always liked the print but never wanted to admit it, and would go along with people when they said how chavvy and ugly it was. But now people think it’s fashionable again, I can embrace my inner Vicky Pollard and I love it.
Roisin Lanigan, journalist
Basically, I think Kate Moss is the only reason the print is seen differently now.
I genuinely think that the iconic vintage print is in higher demand. I don’t really see people my age going out and buying new Burberry. The classic trench coat in beige and the tartan print pants are a must-have in any collection. I don’t really know much about new Burberry stuff because no one my age really likes it.
All the new clothing lines are more smart and clean-cut. I think Burberry in general is a “rich man’s” brand. But I love what they have done with some of the new jackets. They have taken the whole concept of a biker jacket and made it into a puffer jacket.
Juliet Mahony, publisher
I definitely wouldn’t have worn it 10 years ago. I have a pair of Burberry print trousers, and I wear them because I think they looks cool in an ironic way. My friend also loves the print and I knew she’d be super jealous.