December 05, 2014
Brand Watch – Sunspel
There are several things us Brits are famous for; our impeccable manners, saying sorry for anything (even when strangers walk in to us) and our chivalrous nature are all high on the list of an Englishman’s traits. We are known for our reserved nature, our polite demeanor and for pretty much anything that has to do with being a debonair gent.
Our gentlemanly nature also extends to our dress sense with those of us from Albion shores being renowned for our elegance and well-groomed clothing. We are a band of men known for looking sharp in suits and that preppy look oft associated with the image of well-attired public school boys. And any nation that has an entire road known throughout the world for it’s excellence in tailoring must know a thing or two when it comes to looking dapper (I’m talking about Savile Row for those of you who may be wondering).
Nottingham based Sunspel are one such brand who have been a leading light in the British style pantheon for the best part of 160 years, making fine Egyptian cotton t-shirts, polo shirts and a plethora of other garments for generation upon generation of well tailored gents from England and across the globe.
Founded in 1860 by Thomas A Hill, the company were pioneers in creating the boxer shorts as well as lightweight, soft cotton t-shirts that today we simply take for granted. From these early, innovative beginnings, Hill and the Sunspel brand set about revolutionising clothing through both the fabrics they use and the cuts of the cloth – with particular regard to t-shirts – while maintaining an aesthetic that spoke of both traditional values and tailoring.
Since those humble beginnings the brand has gone from strength to strength and has many high points on their CV. Both Daniel Craig and Sean Connery have been dressed in Suspel while playing the charming James Bond while the brands boxers shorts were thrust in to the homes of people across the globe in the 90’s after appearing in a Levi’s advert – Google Nick Kamen and anyone over the age of 30 will be catapulted back to their childhood.
It is no coincidence that Sunspel has come back to prominence in recent years with Nicholas Brooke and Dominic Hazlehurst purchasing the brand in 2005 and with the appointment of J.W Anderson as creative director in 2010, this classic English brand has firmly re-established itself as one of the best brands in Britain today.
While Anderson may be renowned for producing collections under his own name that push the boundaries of contemporary fashion, his work at Sunspel keeps very much to the mantra that has seen them thrive for the past two centuries. Polo shirts of the finest Egyptian cotton, breathable long sleeve jersey polo’s for those lazy holidays in the sunshine and t-shirts so soft you’ll never want to take them off are still the key elements to a brand that has no need to change its design aesthetic.
Sunspel may be true to its English roots but it is a brand made for the man who unafraid to venture. It should be seen sauntering down Monte Carlo boulevards, aboard sun drenched yachts, it is made to be sat pool side with a mojito in and watching the world passing you by.
With all clothing production still emanating from their factory base in Long Eaton, Sunspel are one of a diminishing number of brands that can claim to be truly British. Theirs is a brand that still holds those classic British traditions of craftsmanship and quality in the highest regard and it shows in the clothes they produce.
Sunspel clothing is about an understated elegance. It is not one for showing off, it likes to be subtle in its approach to fashion, preferring to eschew the limelight. It is about quality over quantity and maintaining the values of the true British gent. In fact if Sunspel were a person, there’s no doubting they’d be British. And they’d definitely apologise if someone walked in to them.