In 1947 John Hill returned to England from America with an exciting new discovery: the Boxer Short.
Ever the innovator, Hill, the great-grandson of Sunspel’s founder, set about refining the design and selecting the perfect fabric to create something that would offer the utmost comfort. The result was a short with a unique back panel, removing the uncomfortable middle seam, crafted from Sea Island cotton – the world’s rarest and most luxurious cotton.
Almost overnight, men who would once have seen Boxer Shorts as stuffily old-fashioned were clamouring to look like Nick Kamen and buying Boxers in their droves. And ever since, a pair of white cotton Sunspels has been the Boxer choice of those in the know. Robert Elms
While underwear may have moved on since the 1940s, the boxer has stood the test of time. We may have innovated in fabrics, prints, and patterns, but our design needs no tinkering with; it is still an exceptionally comfortable, endlessly popular style.
It was in 1985, when Levis launched the ad to beat all ads, that the Boxer Short achieved its iconic status and the good old white Boxer sealed its position as a much younger, more attractive underwear choice than the traditional brief. That one advert changed underwear history forever. The pristine white Boxers worn by Nick Kamen in the ad were Sunspel Boxers, and an icon was born.
Robert Elms, style journalist, author and broadcaster, looks back at that trendsetting launderette moment:
Before the boy in the launderette, nobody wore Boxers. Back in the Eighties, baggy Y-fronts and skimpy briefs, probably in inflammable man made fibres, were the male underwear order of the day.
The model was Nick Kamen, a hip face of the time, and white cotton Sunspel Boxers were the inspired choice of underpants, appearing both timelessly cool, and crisply modern. Almost overnight, men who would once have seen Boxer Shorts as stuffily old-fashioned were clamouring to look like Nick Kamen and buying Boxers in their droves. And ever since, a pair of white cotton Sunspels has been the Boxer choice of those in the know.
70 years on from its arrival on British shores, and 32 years after changing underwear history, we are celebrating John Hill’s feat of underwear engineering, and his gift to the Englishman’s underwear drawer, by releasing a very special Boxer Short in his honour.
This new Boxer Short style is inspired by a pair of button fly boxers found in the Sunspel archive, with mother of pearl buttons and a classic cut. Crafted in a Sea Island cotton poplin, a cotton famed for its incredibly soft feel and silky lustre, this unique offering promises to be the very finest pair you’ll ever wear. The final flourish is the packaging: a pouch cut from the same Sea Island cotton, printed with a special edition Sea Island logo.
The Sea Island Cotton Original British Boxer Short is made in England, and is available exclusively in Sunspel stores and online at Sunspel.com.