I’ll take bad ideas for $5,000,000,000 please. The thought of Burberry moving to China will face such a negative backlash that the brand will merely attempt to survive. The signature Burberry checkered pattern is “quintessentially British”, and a move to China will leave the company far from the same. Hell, even Prince Charles is rebelling!
PRINCE CHARLES has intervened in a row over plans by Burberry, the upmarket clothing firm, to shut down its Welsh factory with the loss of 300 jobs. He is understood to have contacted government ministers to ask if there is anything he can do.
The move is the latest in a backlash against Burberry, which wants to move production of its “quintessentially British” products to China, where labour costs are lower.
Ioan Gruffudd, the Welsh actor and Hollywood star, has also intervened, because the polo-shirt factory in Treorchy, Rhondda, is close to where he grew up.
Gruffudd’s move could prove embarrassing for the firm, which also counts Madonna, David and Victoria Beckham, and supermodel Kate Moss among its fans.
A year ago it recruited the actor to become one of the two global faces of Burberry, along with the
actress Rachel Weisz. Advertising shots of the actors have been the centrepiece of Burberry’s promotion for its London fragrance collection.
This weekend, however, it emerged that Gruffudd has written to Angela Ahrendts, Burberry’s chief executive, asking her to keep the plant going.
Tomorrow Leighton Andrews, a Welsh assembly member for Rhondda, will publish a letter he has received by e-mail from the actor, sent from Canada where he is currently filming.
In it, he says he has written to the Burberry chief executive asking her to look at “an alternative course of action” to closure.
Andrews said: “Burberry advertises itself on its website as ‘a luxury brand with a distinctive British sensibility’. If it wants to be seen as a British brand, it needs to keep manufacturing jobs in Britain.”
Burberry workers from the Rhondda demonstrated with their union the GMB outside Burberry’s two flagship West End stores in New Bond Street and Regent Street last weekend.
Billed as “the authentic British lifestyle brand”, Burberry was founded in 1856 in Basingstoke, Hampshire. The signature check emerged as a brand signature on various products in the 1960s, although now it is only used on 10% of Burberry products.
Burberry’s image is still centred on its Britishness. Behind the scenes, however, the focus of the company has been shifting to Asia, where the label is growing in popularity.