Think Marlon Brando, think James Dean, think Brexit merchandise. When it comes to the humble white t-shirt, we have a lot to be grateful for. Not only is it the bedrock of any outfit, it also has a cultural heritage that goes deeper than many of us know. However, the issue is often where to find the perfect tee. In such an over-saturated market, it can be diﬃcult to know where to look, but bare with me, as I may have found the answer.
If one man epitomises the power of a white t-shirt better than anybody else, it has to be the perfect anti-hero actor, James Dean. Cast your mind back to Rebel Without A Cause. You can’t recall the movie without thinking of his iconic white tee, paired with blue jeans and a red bomber jacket. The perfect outfit for the perfect leading man, stripping back what typical Hollywood leading men would usually wear and nodding heavily towards American Workwear style.
Recent years have made clothing more accessible and quicker to produce, so as a result, it is overall cheaper. Whilst there are plenty of arguments and indeed great points about the sustainability and longevity surrounding this, a key issue for me is quality. Fast fashion suppliers often lack attention to detail when it comes to the fit and quality of a garment. This naturally leads to the unsustainable eﬀects we’ve all become familiar with.
After a few years of searching for the elusive perfect white tee, I’m quite confident in my feeling that I have managed to find it. Sunray Sportswear are a British brand known for crafting premium tees, manufactured in Japan through a technique called loopwheel construction. Sounds scientific, I know, but stay with me.
This slower process involves knitting around a tube to create a super seamless finish on the torso of the garment. Each piece takes around one and a half hours to produce, and the process ensures that the tees will remain in perfect shape through many wears. Japanese factories who swear by this technique are convinced that loopwheel cotton is ideal for sustainability: they’re creating clothes in clean, classic designs that are made with consideration and care, and designed to last. The tee worn by James Dean was also produced using this technique, perhaps adding to its heavy, high-quality look on-screen.
Sunray are champions of this slower, more considered process, and the proof really is in the results. Their garments are ultra high-quality and withstand the test of time, fitting in to the flow of modern life: wear, wash, rinse and repeat. I would recommend from experience that if you’re searching for the perfect white tee, theirs is the brand you should be looking at.
Sunray Sportswear – Haleiwa T-Shirt in White
Written by Tom Loughran