Category Archives: Sunspel

HOW TO MAKE A SUNSPEL TEE: WE VISIT SUNSPEL'S FACTORY

HOW TO MAKE A SUNSPEL TEE: WE VISIT SUNSPEL’S FACTORY

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HOW TO MAKE A SUNSPEL TEE: WE VISIT SUNSPEL'S FACTORY

We’ve long been aware of the quality of Sunspel’s made in England tees. Just getting your hands on one immediately reveals a lustrous finish and soft handle that puts them head and shoulders above the competition.

We’d also heard about the long staple cotton yarns used in construction, the fastidious attention to detail and the unrivalled craftsmanship. But these terms are abstract concepts, hard to gauge and difficult to fully grasp without a detailed knowledge of clothing production.

So when we were invited to Sunspel’s factory and design studio in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, we immediately booked our train tickets and revelled in the chance in the learn more about the creation of our favourite t-shirts.

 


 

It’s easy to lose sight of our manufacturing heritage down here in Brighton. Our main industries seem to be tourism and digital marketing, the result of which is more coffee shops and vegan brunch spots than seem necessary. So a trip up to Long Eaton was a great reminder that a world beyond cortados and chia seeds exists, a place where businesses and factories still produce tangible products.

HOW TO MAKE A SUNSPEL TEE: WE VISIT SUNSPEL'S FACTORY HOW TO MAKE A SUNSPEL TEE: WE VISIT SUNSPEL'S FACTORY HOW TO MAKE A SUNSPEL TEE: WE VISIT SUNSPEL'S FACTORY

We were met at Nottingham station by Universal Works’ founder David Keyte who kindly dropped us at the Sunspel headquarters on his way to another local factory where he was getting knitwear samples produced. Down a road of terraced houses, 200 metres from the banks of the River Erewash was the saw tooth roof of the Sunspel factory, still standing in the same place it has been for over 100 years.

We were met by John Mart, production/sourcing manager, a man who knows everything there is to know about the creation of finely crafted English t-shirts. A veteran of Sunspel for 18 years, he was the perfect person to show us around, explaining the multitude of processes, vast history and product development at Sunspel. After listening to his wise words for even a few minutes, his and Sunspel’s unwavering dedication to quality quickly became apparent.

HOW TO MAKE A SUNSPEL TEE: WE VISIT SUNSPEL'S FACTORYHOW TO MAKE A SUNSPEL TEE: WE VISIT SUNSPEL'S FACTORY

For instance, Sunspel used to source all of their long staple cotton from Egypt, a country widely regarded as producing some of the finest cotton in the world. But around five years ago, at the height of the political crisis in the country, the Sunspel factory began noticing a reduction in quality. Slight white flecking was appearing, affecting the uptake of dye. The factory ran tests and discovered that the result of this flecking was down to immature cotton being picked before it was ready. Unable to tolerate this dip in quality, they scoured the globe before finally being satisfied with the quality of cotton from California.

 


 

Making a t-shirt is a very long, very involved procedure. As well as negotiating complicated geo-political issues when sourcing, what you do with the raw materials once you’ve acquired them impacts on the finished product.

Only long staple cotton, those with individual strands typically around two inches, is used. Everything else is rejected to be used by other clothing manufacturers with less discerning taste. This yarn, smooth and lustrous, is then twisted with another to create a strong, dense weave that takes on dye exceptionally well. Once dyed, the finished cloth is then shipped to the Long Eaton factory ready to be turned into the iconic tees that are beloved by everyone from Bond to Batman.

HOW TO MAKE A SUNSPEL TEE: WE VISIT SUNSPEL'S FACTORY HOW TO MAKE A SUNSPEL TEE: WE VISIT SUNSPEL'S FACTORY HOW TO MAKE A SUNSPEL TEE: WE VISIT SUNSPEL'S FACTORY

After an initial inspection (the first of many, many quality control checks), it is handed to a pattern cutter for marking and cutting. Using an extra sharp saw that wouldn’t look out of place in a joiner’s workshop, she cuts each panel, creating the building blocks that will eventually become the finished product.

This stage is crucial as any errors here will throw off production further down the line. These cloth panels are then distributed to several seamstresses, all with a highly specialised set of skills and tools who go to work overlocking, marking and stitching. One particularly fiddly part is the creation and attaching of the collar. First a seamstress cuts cotton into a precise width that is rolled onto a spindle. This roll of two-inch-wide cotton is then taken from one machine and placed onto another that feeds it through a device that folds it neatly before a needle stitches it around the unfinished collar of the front and back t-shirt panels.

The process is quick, intricate and miraculous. An innocuous strip of fabric is turned, as if my magic, into a perfectly formed, beautifully stitched collar. A t-shirt is beginning to form.

HOW TO MAKE A SUNSPEL TEE: WE VISIT SUNSPEL'S FACTORY HOW TO MAKE A SUNSPEL TEE: WE VISIT SUNSPEL'S FACTORY

After a quick fire rally of stitching, hemming, trimming, steaming and ironing, all that is left is to fold each tee and slip it into its packaging. All along the way quality control checks have been taking place. Fabric is weighed, off cuts are checked for extraneous wastage, time sheets are checked and forms filled out. The finished tees, batched up into boxes, pass through a metal detector to check for any broken sewing needles before a single tee is plucked at random from every dozen or so boxes to be sent to quality control for inspection. A last check in a long line of compliance procedures.

 


 

Watching anything get made this intricately is always a pleasure. The cumulative experience and skill of the women who operate the factory floor is remarkable and this translates into a product that really is something very special.

HOW TO MAKE A SUNSPEL TEE: WE VISIT SUNSPEL'S FACTORY HOW TO MAKE A SUNSPEL TEE: WE VISIT SUNSPEL'S FACTORYHOW TO MAKE A SUNSPEL TEE: WE VISIT SUNSPEL'S FACTORY

The fact that this type of production has been in rapid decline is even more reason to cherish it. We seem to be proud of our manufacturing past here in Britain, yet we have idly watched it disappear. Rising costs, cheaper international alternatives and an economy more focused on providing the world with financial services than physical products have all been to blame.

But when something is made as good here as anywhere else on the planet, we should all sit up and take notice.

HOW TO MAKE A SUNSPEL TEE: WE VISIT SUNSPEL'S FACTORY

Many thanks to John and Michael for taking the time to show us around the factory floor. Photography: James Hole

SPRING STYLE: STRIPES

SPRING STYLE: STRIPES

SPRING STYLE: STRIPES

It could be the change in seasons or the effects of the sun’s rays, but there’s something about the first signs of spring weather that makes us want to crack out the bold patterned tees and striped shirts from our wardrobe. With thoughts of long summer days on the horizon, you really can’t beat a classic Breton or simple pinstripe.

One nation synonymous with the stripe is France, and Lyon based label Arpenteur have come through with the goods this season. Although French brands are typically associated with the iconic Breton pattern, a style initially developed to commemorate Napoleon’s military victories, Arpenteur have switched it up, flipping the stripes through 90 degrees to create a vertical lined extravaganza in the form of their Pyjama Shirt.

Not ones to be left out, English label Sunspel have also muscled in on the stripe action with their S/S Striped Crew Tee. A luxe take on a wardrobe staple, it has been crafted using the finest long staple Egyptian cotton to give an incredibly soft handle. This is a spring standard, pair it with washed jeans, smart chinos and, if the weather is on your side, a pair of shorts for an effortless and relaxed look.

The great Danes, Norse Projects, are also partial to a stripe or two and this season they have produced the James Logo Tee, a long sleeve tee that comes in a variety of colourways. Minimalism, a core concept at the centre of all Norse Projects’ designs, can be seen in the restrained use of detailing, subtle branding and use of premium materials.

Below we have featured some of our top spring stripe picks, but you can shop more styles over on our website now.

SPRING STYLE: STRIPESSPRING STYLE: STRIPESSPRING STYLE: STRIPESSPRING STYLE: STRIPES

SPRING LAYERS WITH JAKE FROM OVERDILUTED

SPRING LAYERS WITH JAKE FROM OVERDILUTED

SPRING LAYERS WITH JAKE FROM OVERDILUTED

We teamed up with our good friend and local menswear blogger Jake Story from Overdiluted to run through some of his favourite spring styles we have here in store. Taking to the streets of Brighton’s Seven Dials area, he chose an array of outfits all with the ever changing weather conditions in mind. Take a look below at his picks and see what he had to say about them:

 

“Initially, there might not seem much difference between my spring style and what I might wear in the winter – apart from the shorts, of course – but a lot of it comes down to the weight of materials. Spring is about as unpredictable as it comes, so it’s important that pieces are lightweight and layered. It’s all about adding up and taking away to keep yourself comfortable, which in my eyes is the art to perfecting your spring wardrobe.

You’ll need weatherproof jackets one day and shorts the next, which is why the Universal Works Bakers Jacket is a great piece: thin enough for a jumper or hoodie underneath and thick enough to do you some favours when things get a little chilly. Equally, both the YMC Deja Vu Trousers and visvim High Water Chinos aren’t as heavy as you might need for the colder months, which means you can comfortably get away with them on warmer days, despite the fact they’re full length. My favourite piece we shot has to be the Engineered Garments Parka in a nice and light poplin cotton that’s ace for the ever-changing conditions.”

SPRING LAYERS WITH JAKE FROM OVERDILUTED SPRING LAYERS WITH JAKE FROM OVERDILUTED SPRING LAYERS WITH JAKE FROM OVERDILUTED SPRING LAYERS WITH JAKE FROM OVERDILUTED SPRING LAYERS WITH JAKE FROM OVERDILUTED SPRING LAYERS WITH JAKE FROM OVERDILUTED SPRING LAYERS WITH JAKE FROM OVERDILUTED SPRING LAYERS WITH JAKE FROM OVERDILUTED

 

And there you have it, spring layers courtesy of Overdiluted.  Many thanks to Jake Story for the words, modelling and styling and Jordan Wright for the images. You can see more of Jake’s work by clicking here.

What-to-pack

SUMMER HOLIDAY: ARTIST RESIDENCE HOTEL

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There’s no summer holiday quite like a British holiday. With the grey skies and cold months all but a distant memory, it’s finally that time of year to crack out the shorts and sandals, drink copious amounts of cold beer and burn some food on the barbecue. Fear not, here in store we have all the clothing you need to accompany these activities.

Over on our Inspirations page we’ve created our holiday planning guides, where you will find our curated selection of packing essentials for all types of vacations. Whether you’re planning a short city break, a heavy festival weekend or a family trip to the beach, we have it all covered. You will find a fine selection of essentials, from the luxury luggage of Globe-Trotter to the quality sunglasses from Sun Buddies.

We always think that to make the most of your holiday, you want the clothing you bring to be both comfortable and versatile. Our featured selection includes tried and tested pieces from Norse Projects, A.P.C., Our Legacy, Sunspel, Officine Generale and Universal Works. Keeping it simple with grooming products, we’ve delved into our range from the likes of Baxter of California, Marvis, Laboratory Perfume and Barbasol.

To get us in the mood, we headed over to the Artist Residence, a small, boutique hotel located just off the seafront in the historic Regency Square. With sea views and an eclectic aesthetic, it is the perfect place to stay for a weekend away here in Brighton. See below for our experience when we headed there earlier this month.

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Shop the full selection of our holiday planning guide over on our website now…

BLACK OUT

If there is one colour we’re ‘feeling’ more than any other at Peggs & son this Autumn, it has to be black.

Black may be synonymous with death but more importantly it marches to the beat of classic elegance, rock’n’roll rebellion and an understated sophistication that other colours simply can’t compete with. What other colour could be so readily associated with both Parisian chic and British punk? Black isn’t afraid of anything or anyone and therefore no matter your sartorial preferences it is a must for your new wardrobe.

This season we have some great brands all producing amazing ranges in black:

Matthew Miller and Swedish brand Common are two new names we are proud to present this season. Creating cutting edge logo / vinyl sweats, tapered trousers and bombers jackets, these are two of our favourite new brands to arrive in store for the forthcoming season.

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Grenson, Bass Weejuns and Dr Martens have been producing exceptional footwear since the days of our grandfather’s youth. This season sees little reason to break with tradition and they all continue with classic footwear that can be worn in the modern age. Whether you’re looking for brogues or tassle loafers, a night at the restaurant or out on the tiles, we have a great range of shoes from some of the worlds most prestigious cobblers. And if you do want to play it more contemporary, it doesn’t get any better than the Gourmet X Black Scale collab sneaks.

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If you’re looking for a good pair of black trousers or jeans we know we can sort you out. From the wonderfully tapered trousers from Belgium outfitters Bellerose or our new favourites, Common, through to Edwin or Nudie jeans, we have some of the sharpest cuts in town.

This season there is little doubt, black is most certainly back. Bomber jackets or sweats, trousers or Sunspel tees and polo shirts, loafers, brogues or boots, black really is the perfect colour to compliment your Autumnal wardrobe.

IT’S ALL NAVY

 

Come on gent’s let’s face it, sometimes when we get up in the morning the last thing on our minds is “what shall I wear to today” (normally we’re too busy thinking “coco-pops or marmite on toast”)

We may have become more inclined to think about our wardrobe wears in recent years but if we are brutally honest, comfort usually outguns fashion in the shootout stakes.

And that’s where navy stands with smoking gun in hand looking down on the effervescent prints and exuberant colours. Navy is your wing-man, your go-to-guy when the world of clothing appears all a bit too much.

The great thing about navy is you can wear it with anything, and we mean anything: a plain white Sunspel tee, the Norse botanical shirt or the tye-dye pink Jung Maven tee. Navy really is the colour that goes with everything.

 

 

 

HOLIDAY SEASON

RIVIERA

Ah, the summer months: lying by turquoise blue seas, sunning yourself under cloudless skies, sipping on some exotic beverage that looks like it was concocted in some far off land. It all sounds so idyllic… until it’s ruined by some beast of a fella’ yelling at his kids while marauding about – like the Full Metal Jacket drill sergeant – in some obscene, ill-fitting attire splayed with (un)witty slogans, shorts that only a surfer should wear and cumbersome shoes that look like hand-me-downs from a distant relative.

It never fails to amaze us here at Peggs & son just how wrong some men get their holiday attire when really it’s all about keeping it clean and simple. A good Sunspel, Oliver Spencer or Armor Lux t-shirt, a pair of Levis Made & Crafted, or Woolrich tailored shorts and a comfortable pair of Mr. Hare loafers, Eastland Deck Shoes or Our Legacy pumps and you’re set to at least look like you could be mixing with the Rat Pack on the French Riviera.

 

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Don’t forget your Tee

While you are busy rushing around looking for a new jumper, a new coat, a new hat and scarf combo, it is easy to forget that underneath it all, you still need a decent t-shirt. Yes, we know it doesn’t garner the same attention under all those layers but the humble tee still needs to be a respected part of your wardrobe.

We here at Peggs & son are only too aware of the importance of a great t-shirt and that’s why we have such a fine array; from the stylish Sunspel number, to the HUF, Obey and PAM logo tees and the Norse and Folk classics, it doesn’t matter what you are looking for, we stock it.

Get yourself in store or online now because for all its humble origins, the t-shirt is a pre- requisite come rain or shine.

Sunspel

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“We make our clothes for independent thinkers. Men and women who are fashion savvy but never slaves to tendencies. Always with an understated style, our collections are defined by sleek silhouettes, meticulous detailing and a patented mix of engineered fabrics that maintain their form no matter how often they’re worn.”

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Sunspel are one of the UK’s oldest labels in luxury underwear and casual basics. They have been in producing quality garments in their factory in Long Eaton, Derbyshire since their inception in 1860. They have are tight-knit production team of long standing workers who cut, measure and sew each garment individually, they one of a small amount of labels that have retained these essential craftsmanship skills which have been passed down through generations, allowing them to retain the heritage touch that each of their products showcase.

We have been stocking Sunspel for a number of years now, and are one of a select group of stockists in the UK. Only recently Sunspel opened their own flagship store in Shoreditch, London worth a visit if you find yourself in that part of the world.

“We describe Sunspel as a three way love affair between laid back luxury, edited simplicity and a desire to keep breaking new ground in garment and textile production. We make clothes that are engineered to fit. We do this by eliminating the unnecessary and perfecting the essentials. Some might call this a design philosophy. We call it having meticulously high standards….more than anything, we love the idea of transforming basic wardrobe staples into clothes that don’t just look good, but feel good.”

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To see the items we have chosen from Sunspel’s Spring/Summer 2012 Collection, head over to www.peggsandson.com now!