Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ben Sherman and his shirts!

I realised today that I have been wearing Ben Sherman shirts for 32 years, I had my first one at the age of 12, a black and white paisley patterned shirt, brilliant for a 12 year old Mod, I now have a wardrobe filled with various plain and patterned designs, so I thought it was time I paid homage to the man and his shirts and a staple part of fashion since 1963.

Mr Ben Sherman

Arthur Benajmain Sugarman was a born in Brighton, East Sussex in 1925, at the age of 20 he emigrated to America and attained American citizenship, he changed his name to Ben as this is what his family called him and  changed his surname to Sherman as he deemed this to be a good strong American name.
Ben married the daughter of a Californian clothes producer and raised a family in San Fernando Valley and started working for his father in law.
When Ben's mother fell ill, he relocated his family back to Brighton in England to care for her.  Having no work when he returned he decided to start up a clothing company with the experience he had gained in the states, he started this in a rented factory in Bedford Square and started work producing the shirts we know and love so well.

Brighton and Hove buses name their buses after famous residents from the town, here is Mr Shermans bus tribute.
The Mods who had a sharp eye for italian designs and styles soon embraced the design and wore the shirts with their tailor made suits and skinny ties.  Orders soon overtook Ben Shermans production capacity, it is famously quoted that in 1970 he ordered a million yards of Oxford fabric, a quater of a million yards of gingham fabric and a quarter of a million yards of striped material from an American fabric mill.

Sherman’s shirts with their button down collars and a button on the rear of the collar were an instant success. Soon he opened a showroom in Carnaby Street, London, and a shop in Duke Street, Brighton. Another two London shops followed. Sherman’s success was too much for the Brighton factory and production was moved to  Northern Ireland in 1969.

Ben Sherman had some great adverts in the 70's.  There is another one with a vicar that is rather amusing  but not embedded, so here is the link; BEN SHERMAN VICAR ADVERT there are several more on youtube to watch too.

Ben sold the company in the early Seventies and moved to Australia to start new ventures. He died aged 62 in 1987 after a heart bypass operation. But the business lives on and is particularly associated with Mods. The stylish and popular shirts are unique in design and high in quality.

The company was sold to Oxford industries in 2004 and it is heartening to see that they have kept some of the humour in their advertising as this advert shows.

Now having existed for nearly 50 years the Ben Sherman shirt and brand have been adopted by almost every youth culture or style movement of the last 5 decades, from the mods, to Two tone and ska, to brit pop and is today still worn by the current bands and style leaders of the current decade, this is surely testament that Ben Sherman gave us one of the most iconic pieces of clothing in modern times and now I have to go and do some ironing!

Cheers Ben!


  1. Yes, great shirts and all that but humiliatingly anti-fatty...I mean I have to go up to a 4XXXLLL or something like that just to be able to do the buttons up!

  2. Sorry mate I don't think that they do a 4XXXLLL in slim fit, but I reckon you'd look pretty good in one of their nice polo shirts!