Sunspel is a contemporary British brand with a story going back to 1860when its founder Thomas Hill set out to create luxurious underwear from innovative cotton fabrics of exceptional quality.
Over 150 years later, Sunspel continues to innovate, both in the products at the heart of the brand – underwear, T-shirts and polo shirts – and in each seasonal collection. These, including knitwear, outerwear and accessories, all fit the brand’s core philosophy; everyday, essential clothing made to luxurious standards of functionality, fit and comfort and manufactured to last. Sourcing the finest raw materials has been integral to the Sunspel brand since it was founded, along with developing its own, innovative luxury fabrics. With these fabrics, it crafts wardrobe essentials characterised by exceptional fit, light-as-air comfort, softness and unfussy design. Think Nick Kamen in the legendary Levi’s ‘laundrette’ advertisement from 1985 (Sunspel’s boxers) or Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale (Sunspel’s pec-hugging Riviera polo). The polo’s cellular knitted fabric originated on a traditional lace-making machine in the 1950s.
‘It feels nice to take these luxurious British wools, produced by some of the nation’s finest millers and spinners, and make them into beautiful modern pieces’
For most of its 150-year history, Sunspel has been a family business. It was founded in Nottingham, and moved by the Hill family to its current specialist factory in Long Eaton in 1937. The technology may have changed since then to facilitate the company’s progressive manufacturing processes, but the commitment to community and a ‘job well done’ remains the same.
For its A/W’18 collection, Sunspel branched out from its iconic T-shirts, polos and boxers to explore colour, cashmere and the British wool industry, visiting experts in the Peak District and Scotland. The resulting collection was testament to British craftsmanship, with colours drawn from the archives of sources as diverse as yarn spinner Todd & Duncan and paper specialist G F Smith in Hull. And, as a company that’s all about fabric, the team was keen for the textiles of the new collection to reflect the local expertise. ‘It feels nice to take these luxurious British wools, produced by some of the nation’s finest millers and spinners, and make them into beautiful modern pieces,’ enthuses Sunspel’s head designer.
Sourcing the finest raw materials has been integral to the Sunspel brand since it was founded, along with developing its own, innovative luxury fabrics.
Notwithstanding its British heritage, Sunspel also has a long history with the US – where the idea originated for creating the perfect boxer short in 1947 – and with New York City, where Barneys and Paul Stuart began selling Sunspel garments in the 1950s. Now that relationship is coming to fruition, with the recent opening of Sunspel’s first US store on Mercer Street in New York’s SoHo.
Says CEO Nicholas Brooke, ‘In Marylebone, Notting Hill, Tokyo’s Shibuya and Mitte in Berlin, our stores all have a community-oriented feel with a global sensibility. SoHo offers Sunspel the best of both worlds – a neighbourhood feel, but with the popularity and interest of a major international shopping district.’ Amid SoHo’s cast iron buildings and cobblestone streets, reminiscent of English industrial architecture, the store – which houses men’s and women’s seasonal and core collections – feels right at home.
SUNSPEL 11-15 CHILTERN STREET, LONDON, W1U 7PG +44 (0)20 7009 0650