The world-renowned British fashion group Burberry is selling a new cotton-silk regimental jacket that has upset some U.S. Marines. The brand recently unveiled what they describe as a “navy jacket [that] trades the white belt, eagle, globe and anchor, and rank insignia Marines wear for an army of brass buttons,” in their own catalog description. Some Marines are calling the jacket disrespectful, as they claim it too closely resembles a Marine dress coat, while others are calling the imitation a sincere form of flattery.
This isn’t the first time military gear has inspired trends in the fashion industry. In 2013, the American fashion designer Ralph Lauren began selling cargo shorts featuring the Marine Corps’ digital camouflage pattern with the official Marine insignia blurred out. The Smithsonian also claims that the founder of Burberry, Thomas Burberry, invented the water-resistant fabric that would one day be used to create the iconic trench coats that became common with military personnel after WWI.
The military community seems to be split on whether or not the jacket is offensive. Some service members were outraged by the jacket. The mother of a U.S. Marine wrote on the company’s Facebook wall:
“Marines are buried in this uniform, [don’t] disgrace it by wearing it as a fashion statement. If you want to wear it join the Marines and earn it.”
Another commenter, that claimed to be a former Marine, also seemed to offended by the jacket but to a much smaller degree. They wrote on the company’s wall:
“They could’ve said, ‘inspired by United States Marine Corps! Thank you for your service,’ That would’ve been a lot better in my opinion.”
Others simply took the opportunity to facetiously bash the company and the designer for taking the iconic and respected uniform and mutilating it. A commenter wrote on a Facebook post regarding the jacket:
“The designer looked at a dress blue jacket and said, ‘That’s a cool jacket, but with 30 or 40 more buttons it could be way cooler,'”
The biggest difference between the Burberry jacket and a standard issue Marine dress coat is the price tag. A dress coat would cost an enlisted Marine approximately $185 while the Burberry jacket is being sold at the astonishing price of $2,595.
Despite the similarities the U.S. Marines will not take any action against Burberry. Matthew McLaughlin, the deputy director for the Marine Corps Trademark Office, said that while the style is “flatteringly-similar” it doesn’t infringe on any Marine Corps registered trademarks. Burberry declined to comment on the similarities.