Ben Sherman epitomises the Modernist movement of the 1960's. Slim fitting shirts, sharp button-down collars, colourful polo shirts. Carnaby Street was awash with Mod shops throughout the 1960's and beyond and the Ben Sherman flagship store is still there today. From the Mods and Skinheads to 2Tone and Ska to Brit Pop and today's Modernists, current style leaders wear Ben Sherman.
Ben Sherman was born in 1925 in Brighton as Arthur Benjamin Sugarman. He moved to the US after the war in 1945, where he married and started a family. He began working with his father-in-law in his clothing factory and changed his name to Ben Sherman when he applied for US citizenship. Unfortunately his mother back in England fell ill so he moved the family back to Brighton, where he rented a clothing factory and began making shirts, at first for others and then, in 1963 he made his own collection.
The first Ben Sherman shirts were designed and influenced by the Ivy League look he had seen in the US, but with added features, patterns and fabrics that made a Ben Sherman Shirt unique. It was the Teddy Boys who originally hooked onto the Ben Sherman shirt but this quickly changed when the Mods came along! This new British youth culture embraced the Ben Sherman shirt, loving it for its quality, slim-fitting style, colours and unique design. London and Britain were cool again, with huge advances in music and style. Ben Sherman opened his Carnaby Street store, plus another two shops in London and one in Brighton and demand often outstripped supply, such was its popularity. The brand was featured in music and film by The Who and the iconic film Quadrophenia, as well as Skinhead film This Is England, Mod band The Jam (and later Paul Weller), 2Tone bands such as The Selecter, The Specials and The Bodysnatchers, who all adopted Ben Sherman as part of their uniform.
After more than 50 years, Ben Sherman has been adopted by almost every fashion subculture right through to present times but still with a nod to the heady days of the Mods and Skinheads of the 1960's. Ben Sherman passed away in 1987 but the brand lives on. Recently purchased by the Baird Group, Ben Sherman is undergoing a revitalisation and is once again a cool and wearable brand, with a nod to the classic styles but with a new direction for the younger Modernist of today.