This time of year usually revolves around the North Pole, but this week the news has been all about its magnetic opposite. Yesterday was the 100th Anniversary of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen (pictured, above) reaching the South Pole – making him the first human to ever set foot on the continent. About 10 years ago, this editor’s father made her read an article on the Antarctica voyager, Sir Ernest Shackleton, (pictured, below) in National Geographic. He was trying to illustrate the importance of hard work and determination, but being a teenage girl, the most memorable part I took away from the remarkable story was the fact that Shackleton outfitted his crew in Burberry. The British label is eponymous with glamorous raincoats, so it was quite surprising to learn that the chic clothing line was the choice of a rugged adventurer. Thomas Burberry, the company’s founder, invented the waterproof fabric gabardine (for those of you Seinfeld fans – that’s the thin layer of cloth separating Kramer and his private parts from his friends, when he decides to stop wearing underwear). The company went on to make coats that would keep these explorers, including Amundsen, dry and warm in extreme temperatures and conditions, which started the company’s tradition and reputation for creating resilient outerwear. The men on these ships would generally wear wool layers and top it off with a Burberry gabardine coat. (Fun Fact: This editor got a Burberry trench for college graduation from her parents, and it is the finest piece of clothing I’ve ever – and probably will ever – own. Tim Gunn said one Burberry trench should literally “last a lifetime.”) Burberry is also committed to supporting the imagination and vision these voyagers held, by creating the Burberry Foundation, which organizes opportunities for young people with dreams. So when Santa enjoys himself by the fire this year, remember it was Burberry keeping his brothers on the other side of the globe warm enough to live to tell about it. Saint Nick brings presents, but these men brought us the extraordinary tale of seeing the world – and never giving up.
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