October 05, 2016
Embracing the impact of steam power, Thomas Arthur Hill founded Sunspel during the midst of the industrial revolution. This era underlined a growing textile industry, an era which Hill sought to utilise during this industrial surge. It offered Hill the opportunity to produce his visionary every-day garments in a utilitarian 1860’s London. This became the foundations for Sunspel, one of London’s remaining and iconic manufacturer-retailers of fine clothing. By 1920, Sunspel had begun to establish worldwide export to eastern regions as far as Hong Kong. Capital generated from this export enabled further textile and material exploration. During this time Sunspel sourced and developed foreign materials such as their luxurious Sea Island Cotton, produce of the West Indies.
Pioneers of modern articles, Sunspel introduced the UK to some of the earliest designs of the T-shirt, and the boxer short to the UK. These new and revolutionary undergarments were inspired by a visit to America during the Second World War. Both of these items were new and progressive for UK clothing, garments now of which synonymous to the Sunspel name. More detailed than just new permutations of clothing, Sunspel developed a focus for the way in which their fabrics were woven. From their exposure to new material types Sunspel further developed their own signature weaves. These continue to the present day, implemented throughout their ongoing range of clothing. Pique, Loopback and Cellulock are just some of their contemporary weaves that can be found amongst their current collections. These weaves are maintained and applied in their Long Eaton based factory; a crucial relationship between manufacturer and design team.
Seen in the images below is the Riveria crew neck T shirt. The T shirt itself is knitted in England using the highest quality long staple cotton. This piece was originally designed for actor, Daniel Craig during the James Bond film ‘Casino Royale’.
Photo Credits to Sunspel Clothing.
NATIVE is a blog series intended to showcase select brands who implement product manufacture here in the UK. Admittedly, not all aspects of every product can be made here, however we are most interested in those that can.
UK production has changed dramatically over the decades. Like every industry, embracing change is vital, not just to survive but to thrive in conjunction with social, economic and technological advancement.
Recognition of businesses, old and new, that implement outright or even partial local production is something we are genuinely passionate about. As designers, it is our belief that people should know more about how, why and where great products are made in the UK.
NATIVE is our way of sharing this information.
"Every contrivance of man, every tool, every instrument, every utensil, every article designed for use, of each and every kind, evolved from very simple beginnings."
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