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Ben Sherman Shirts

Updated on March 14, 2012

Ben Sherman History

British menswear manufacturer Ben Sherman has had a long association with the Mod movement, with founder, Arthur Bernard Sugarman, having set up his first factory in Brighton, England in 1963. It's a connection that is still going strong, as the Mod revival has kept the spirit of 60s fashion alive. For those original Mods, clothes were a vital part of their philosophy - the look was tailored sophistication but unconventionally and imaginatively put together.

Sugarman's original inspiration for the Mod clothes that would become staples for the hip style revolution of the 60s, came partly from the Ivy League fashions of US college boys. In the 1940s he had emigrated to America and became a US citizen and it was only after he married the daughter of a clothes manufacturer that he returned to England to set up the Brighton factory.

A Classic Mod Brand

Back in England the canny Sugarman noticed that in the ultra-hip London jazz scene, American Brooks Bros style Oxford-cloths shirts were becoming popular so he set about making his own Ben Sherman brand version.

His famous 'Oxford shirt' with a button down collar became an iconic item, gaining a kind of cult status with the Mods. Sugarman made clothes for people who really cared about quality so he didn't skimp on quality material, stitching and attention to detail. The clothes were stylishly packed in a trademark orange and black box - Sherman understood the power of trendy marketing.

The company still trades on it's Mod roots, citing the Ben Sherman brand as a 'way of life' and many of the clothes still retain the Carnaby style cut and fit.

Sherman and Skinheads

Mods weren't the only subculture to be drawn to the Sherman brand - the shirts also became very popular with early British Skinhead groups, who had their own particularly defined, tailored style. Despite being at odds philosophically, sartorially at least, the two groups had Sherman shirts in common.

Some 60s commentators have suggested that both Skinheads and Mods had their roots in the Mod movement but that their was a slit somewhere along the road between the 'peacock' Mods who were more affluent and softer and 'hard Mods' who were tougher and came from a working class culture that was much edgier.

These hard Mods eventually morphed into the Skinhead movement, yet they were in their way, quite polished and even upmarket, as far as the quality of their clothes went.

Style, Fit and Quality

Of course, you don't have to be a Mod or a Skinhead to appreciate a Ben Sherman shirt. The brand is renown for its top cloth and classic styling and its shirts are worn by a diverse range of men who have one thing in common - quality.

Unlike many of the cheaper shirts available, a Ben Sherman shirt will offer a great fit, styling and feel - the buttons wont go walkabout and the stiching wont fall fall apart after a few wash and wears.

Since those early years in 1960s Ben Sherman has gone from strength to strenght and is now the fourth largest manufacturer of men's casual wear in the UK. What emerged from the style aspirations of a revolutionary sub-culture became a brand standard in British fashion.


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