Founded by John Emary, Aquascutum began as a Mayfair tailors in 1851. The brand became famous in 1853 with the creation of the first waterproof textile - which then inspired its name (aqua scutum literally means water shield). Promoted by King Edward VII, the label developed the iconic trench coat in 1914, for use by the British military during both World Wars (there has always been some dispute with Burberry over who can claim to have invented the trench).
Aquascutum has never quite managed to achieve the same level of global prominence as rival Burberry (despite dressing Hollywood stars and royalty, from the Queen Mother to Humphrey Bogart, in its prime) which has not been helped by the fact it has changed hands several times in recent years. In 2009 investment firm Better Capital bought it from retail entrepreneur Harold Tillman and three years later it was sold to Hong Kong’s YGM Trading. YGM has since sold it to China’s Shandong Ruyi.