We invited designers from three contemporary Japanese brands – 45R, BEAMS and N. Hoolywood – to create distinctive new interpretations of the classic Sunspel T-Shirt.
Sunspel has been perfecting the T-Shirt for 100 years. It’s a tradition of British craftsmanship that has given us a longstanding following in Japan, where attention to detail, luxury fabrics and a simple, refined style are all highly prized.
So to mark our 160 year anniversary we invited three contemporary Japanese clothing brands to reimagine our classic cotton T-Shirt, each giving their unique take on a beautifully simple garment. Here’s how each designer approached remaking an English wardrobe icon for 2020.
Cult brand 45R use beautiful natural fabrics and dyes to create expertly crafted, contemporary pieces. They are renowned for their skill with ai-dye (indigo dye) and for their hand-drawn prints inspired by nature.
For our 160th anniversary, 45R have reworked our classic 1930s Sun and Clouds logo and a hand-drawn lace stitch pattern from the Sunspel archives. The prints have been placed on T-Shirts made in Japan from a super soft long staple cotton jersey.
“At 45R we focus on creating durable and long-lasting clothes using comfortable, carefully-crafted materials, just like Sunspel. I think one thing the Japanese can learn from British clothing traditions is elegance. For the collaboration we delved into the Sunspel archives and redesigned the logo to express that long Sunspel history in our own playful way.”
Mr. Masaki Nakashima – Director of Overseas Business, 45R
A leading figure in Tokyo’s vintage clothing scene, Daisuke Obana started N.Hoolywood in 2001. Taking inspiration from vintage manufacturing, N.Hoolywood creates new ideas by shedding light on products from the past.
For our 160th anniversary collaboration, Daisuke has reworked one of our core jerseys in a more relaxed, oversized fit with signature raw cut detailing. Available in both short and long-sleeve versions, the T-Shirt has wide raw seam and pocket details and a twisted neck. It can also be turned inside out for a clean look with external branding.
“The coexistence of both brands’ characters is important. I wanted people to feel a sort of rebellious spirit through this inside-out style. I like the natural rolled edge of an untrimmed jersey like this fabric. The neck is made of the same fabric as the body and slightly twisted owing to a specific stitch.”
Daisuke Obana, N Hoolywood
“These T-shirts are very oversized and floppy, and I assume that it is unusual for Sunspel. They would have been much stiffer and lost that ‘street’ feeling if I had chosen a heavier American cotton, for example. They are actually made of such a smooth fabric and beautifully stitched with the finest thread, which gives a sophisticated impression. I think the Sunspel factory understood well what I wanted to do: the very first sample was already close to the final image, despite being unprecedented in their long history.”
Daisuke Obana, N Hoolywood
BEAMS opened in 1976 in a tiny Tokyo retail space, selling imported American fashion and homeware items. By the mid-1980s it had launched its own products, and today the brand has 150 stores across Japan and beyond.
For our 160th anniversary Sunspel invited the iconic Japanese retail brand to reimagine our classic cotton T-Shirt for 2020. Exploring the concept of the perfect modern T-Shirt, BEAMS have crafted a winter-weight cotton jersey ideal for year-round wear: contemporary and elegantly simple.
“The concept, which we suggested at our very first meeting, was to make Sunspel’s very desirable T-shirt in a weightier fabric, and in an updated fit which evokes contemporary Tokyo. We were much impressed by Sunspel’s flexible, open-minded approach while also being mindful of their tradition and heritage. BEAMS, like Sunspel, has developed with the changing cultures as a mirror which reflects the era, but the essence never changes.”
Mr Shinsuke Nakada – Head of Men’s Department, BEAMS