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Ben Sherman A British Success Story

4th February 2014 | Posted in Mens
If there was ever an over looked symbol of Britain- it would be Ben Sherman. A brand forged from the mind of an innovator, then adopted, loved and cherished by the masses- Ben Sherman is a truly British success story. Starting with one man, Arthur Benjamin Sugarman was born in Brighton in 1925. At the age of 20 he left the UK and headed for America, taking his drive, ambition and dedication with him. He raised a family in the San Fernando valley and started working in his father in laws clothing factory. It was whilst applying for citizenship in America that Ben decided to change his name to Ben Sherman- his family had always called him Ben, and he felt that Sherman was a good strong American name to help him get along in the states. Sadly, Ben's mother, who still lived in Brighton, fell ill. He relocated his whole family, and rented a small factory in the town, using the manafacturing skills he had learnt from his time in America. Ben started out using his factory to make shirts for other people. The rigor of being told what to make got to Ben, who couldn't use his creative flair to create what he wanted. In 1963 he broke off, and used his own idea's to create the first Ben Sherman shirt. Brighton in the 60's Ben took his influence from a typical American Ivy League shirt, but added a few features that nobody had seen before. He added the fabricated hook at the back shoulder section, as well as an extra button at the rear of the collar. However, Ben had always been different, and always challenged the norms. At that time, the colour palette for clothing was very bland. Ben had no intention of making his shirts dull enough to blend into the crowd. He used his love of colours to create shirts with an Oxford fabric in light pinks, blues and yellows. He even introduced candy stripes to create real effect. Safe to say, the initial reaction to such a radical change was not positive. However, Ben persevered, believing that change was necessary to succeed. He used only the best quality Oxford fabric from America, and boxed each shirt individually. Ben Sherman striped oxford shirt at masdings.comBen Sherman Red oxford shirt at masdings.comBen Sherman Gingham shirt at masdings.comBen Sherman Oxyford Shirt blue at masdings.com Slowly but surely, the reputation of Ben Sherman shirts grew and grew, and they became a huge success. People loved the change in direction that a Ben Sherman shirt offered, as well as its quality and design. Just when Ben released his shirts, times were changing the UK. Youth culture had began to sweep the country, with the introduction of the Teddy Boys. The idea of wearing clothing to identify yourself to a group or movement proved a huge temptation to young men who suddenly found themselves with more and more disposable income. Taking note of the Teddy Boys, the next wave hit. The Modernists, or Mods, instantly adopted the Ben Sherman shirt to portray their groups identity. They loved the slim fit, the choice of colours and designs and the shirts immense quality. The Mod's and Ben Sherman shook up the country together. Soon England and London were cool again, following years of post war depression. The swinging sxties had arrived, and Ben Sherman was riding high. Quadrophenia Ben Sherman Shirts The success continued, and Ben Sherman opened his first shops. One in Brighton, and two in London, including a show room. It was famously quoted that Ben Sherman shirts were in such high demand, that Ben once ordered a million yards of Oxford cloth, a quarter of a million of gingham fabric and a quarter of a million yards of colourful striped fabric in order to keep up with his orders. Ben Sherman died in Australia in 1987, but his brand and legacy still live on. His innovative shirts have been adopted by almost every movement in modern culture- standing testament to the fact that the shirt is more than just a product- it is a British icon.

Ryan J Gray

 

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