British heritage brand Sunspel has been producing iconic English clothing for over 150 years. Since its inception in 1860, when Thomas Hill founded the firm under his own name to supply the British Empire with high quality underwear, the label has always been an intriguing combination of innovation and tradition.
[BRUSHED COTTON SHIRTS DENIM 3114/500]
Sunspel’s shop on Jermyn Street is a great place to get kitted out in luxury essentials as well as lavish garments. Preview a small sample of their new AW14 collection above and below.
[LONG SLEEVE RIVIERA POLO NAVY 1106/188]
Founded in Nottingham, then the capital of Britain’s hosiery and lace industry, it soon established a name for itself as a leader in lisle cotton undershirts, singlets and tunics. Two generations later, Thomas Archibald Montgomerie Hill moved the family business from Nottingham to Long Eaton, where the company’s factory resides to this very day.
The new company was renamed Sunspel at the end of the 1930s. The label remained a family run business until Nicholas Brooke and Dominic Hazlehurst acquired it in 2005.
[BRUSHED COTTON SHIRTS GREY 3114/141]
The new owners have been instrumental in moving the brand into the 21st century, whilst at the same time honouring the roots that make it so well-loved. Sunspel is renowned for its innovation in textile manufacture.
In 1958 the company developed the legendary Q14 fabric, which was created using traditional lace-making techniques and expertise to create a soft, breathable, lightweight and hard wearing cellular cotton; perfect for underwear. Another custom fabrication, which has become a Sunspel staple, is Q82; an exceptionally fine jersey knit developed in 1982, used for their T-shirts today and the reason for their extraordinary lightness and softness.
[VINTAGE WOOL JACKET DEEP BURGUNDY 1455/133]
By continuing to source exceptionally soft cottons such as Long Staple Egyptian Cotton and creating unique fabric structures, Sunspel is able to make clothing of unparalleled comfort: well designed, well constructed and tailored to fit. The design philosophy of the brand is characterized by simplicity and comfort.
Sunspel’s History & AW14 Campaign: Welcome to Jermyn Street
Sunspel pay rigorous attention to detail in design as well as manufacture, which is why their garments are considered classics. Amongst their most renowned products are the boxer short, the polo shirt and of course the t-shirt that they have been making for 150 years. Sunspel introduced the boxer short to Britain from the US in 1947 and it was immortalized in the 1985 Levi’s commercial with Nick Kamen, who was seen stripping down to his white Sunspel boxers.
[SHETLAND WOOL DARK RED 1429/699]
Daniel Craig wore the Sunspel ‘Riviera’ polo shirt in the James Bond film, Casino Royale. The ‘Riviera’ was actually a design that had been in production since the 1950s and which was adapted slightly to complement the impressive physique of the 007 actor.
The polo shirt is produced using the Q75 warp knit cotton, originally created to be worn on the Riviera as it is a lightweight mesh fabric ideal for warm weather. With each of these garments Sunspel have meticulously perfected their design, eliminating excessive detail and making changes only where necessary. Commitment to timeless yet modern design remains a focus of the company.
In 2012 Sunspel introduced their Sea Island Cotton range. Crafted by hand and produced without any chemical processes, the range sees an edit of menswear basics recreated in the finest Sea Island Cotton and elevated to luxury status. Several years in development, this project took Sunspel, who originally worked with Sea Island cotton during the company’s formative years, to a tiny cotton farm in Jamaica. Here they produce fabric from one of the original Sea Island plants – the Montserrat. And with only three Sea Island cotton plants in existence, the fabric is of a premium.
[PEA COAT CHARCOAL 1352/257]
Sunspel (21a Jermyn Street, London SW1Y 6HP)