In 1963, a man by the name of Alfred Benjamin Sugarman decided to make a change, and change he did. He changed his name to Ben Sherman, then took his innovative ideas for shirts and created the Ben Sherman shirt, which is commonly called the Oxford button down shirt. The Ben Sherman clothes company began in Brighton, England, but within six years had to move to North Ireland because of the incredible success of the Ben Sherman button down shirt. The Ben Sherman shirt has become an icon of the decades from the 1960’s until now, evolving with the times while staying true to their roots.
The young men of England wanted to have a look far from their parents, and thus created the Mod fad of the 1960’s. The Ben Sherman shirt was picked up by this trend setting group, but the Ben Sherman shirt was also associated with other subcultures including skinheads, and of course the music business. The suits with Ben Sherman shirts and torn jeans and boots with the Ben Sherman shirt started the association of Ben Sherman with rebellious youth, but it was the Beatles, the Who and the Rolling Stones that helped Ben Sherman break into the music business.
Ben Sherman expanded again in the 1970’s to incorporate all forms of clothing. The Ben Sherman line began manufacturing casual men’s wear and became one of the biggest manufacturers of casual men’s where in the United Kingdom and the United States. It was during this decade that the punk generation grabbed hold of the Ben Sherman clothing line and remade it to be their own. The look continued into the music and through it all became a staple for young musicians and youth of the day. The expansion of Ben Sherman in the 1970’s also included the creation of a boy’s clothing line that was an immediate smash.
When punk died and Ska took over in the 1980’s Ben Sherman became the clothing of the new rebels and the new bands of the time. Ben Sherman continued to evolve and integrated the looks of the 80’s with the Mod fashions that started it all. The one thing that set the Ben Sherman Company apart was that they never lost sight of the roots that had started it all, and continued to offer the classic Ben Sherman button down shirt.
In washes the 1990’s and indie bands are flooding the market, some even making it to the big time, but all sporting the classic Ben Sherman shirt and clothing. The one thing that all of the rock music generation agrees on is that Ben Sherman is perfect for their look.
Even today, Ben Sherman is evolving, and now includes women’s clothing as well as fragrances, underwear, sun glasses, and other such items. However, they have never lost their roots and their association with music. The Ben Sherman rebel image lives on and will grow as they expand into more lines and more Ben Sherman clothing. The one thing they will never stop doing though is the Ben Sherman Shirt that started it all.
Author: Cynthia AcerraThis author has published 2 articles so far.