The driving force behind Burberry’s success, Christopher Bailey was born in Yorkshire in 1971. Taking Burberry’s century old motto ‘Prorsum’ meaning forward seriously, Bailey has taken Burberry to a whole new level with shops springing up in almost every corner of the world and has created not just clothes but a makeup line, footwear and eyewear too. Burberry has got something for everyone.
Graduate from the University of Westminster in 1990 and the Royal College of Arts along with a Master’s degree in 2004, Bailey started his career by working at Donna Karan as a designer in 1994. Later, he proceeded to become the senior designer for women’s wear for Gucci alongside Tom Ford from 1996 till 2001. In 2001, Burberry offered him a job as the Creative Director in replacement of Roberto Manichetti which Bailey accepted happily. He soon started working on their new Prorsum line and the first collection of Bailey’s designs for Burberry made its debut. The very next year, his hard work was recognized and Bailey was named the GQ Man of the Year for Emerging Talent in Menswear. By the time it was September 2005; Bailey had already made his territory in the fashion industry and won the GQ Man of the Year Award in London. The next month, Forbes recognized Bailey as one in ten influential tastemakers in the world of fashion. The year 2005 came to an end with a Designer of the Year award from Alexandra Shulman at the British Fashion Awards.
2006 started off with the University of Westminster, Bailey’s alma mater gave him honorary designation of Doctor of Letters. Then in October 2007, Bailey landed a spot in one of five most influential designers working in London. In November, he won the Bambi Award for Fashion in Germany and one at the British Fashion Awards for Designer of the Year. Bailey launched the Burberry Foundation alongside Angela Ahrendts which is a welfare organization that sponsors youth with creative minds. Once again, the year ended with a photo finish conclusion; he won the Designer of the Year Award at the British Fashion Awards.
It was in November, 2009 that Bailey became Burberry’s chief creative officer. Later in December, The Philosophical Society of Trinity College in Dublin made Bailey an honorary patron. For his dedication and outstanding contributions to the fashion industry, Queen Elizabeth II made Bailey a Member of the Order of the British Empire. Bailey won the CFDA International Award in 2010 which was presented to him by Donna Karan, his former boss. Around the same time, Bailey was in talks with Vogue about Burberry’s new makeup line. He won the Digital Innovation Award in December 2010 by the British Fashion Council; an honor only reserved for those brands that are successful in digital and social media.
Beijing was the host of Bailey’s one of a kind holographic fashion show where only six real model walked on the runway along with digitally created doppelgangers in 2011. The Sheffield Hallam University gave Bailey his third honorary doctorate in the same year. Bailey’s dedication to Burberry for years finally landed him the much deserved CEO spot in the company in 2013 at a surprise announcement.