The Ben Sherman book
This photo shows me, my brother Simon and my Aunty Doris (nice slippers, Doris!) in the back garden of our house in Leeds in about 1969-1970. I am wearing Levi 501s and a Ben Sherman shirt.
The influence of Ben Sherman, aka Arthur Benjamin Sugarman (above), on British style is examined in a handsome new book published by the modern company, which is now owned by Oxford Industries of Atlanta, Georgia. They wisely hired my former Emap colleague, Josh Sims, to write a history of a half-century of UK menswear, which is divided into eight “tribes” – Teddy Boy, Rocker, Mod, Northern Soul, Punk, Skinhead, Two Tone and Casual.
Josh’s text, as usual, is easy to read and interesting to read, but most of us buy books like this for the pictures. This volume does not disappoint. The front cover here shows second-generation Mods in 1979, while the back cover has earlier Mods getting ready for a night out in 1964. With such a well-trodden path as British sub-cultures, lots of the pix are familiar, but lots are not. I offer here three that I particularly like.
This pic is captioned: “18-year-old Mod from Kent, England, 1965”. Nearly 50 years later, that parka and knitted tie could have been seen on a young blade this past winter, but the tab-collar shirt would have been harder to find. (Does Ben Sherman make them?)
This pic from the Wigan Casino in 1978 reminds me about how skinny so many of us were in those days. It wasn’t just from dancing to Tainted Love.
I was a bit old to get into the Casual movement of the mid-80s, but I find its clean lines and tidiness very appealing. This is the Old West Stand at Highbury. Note the almost complete absence of replica football shirts here. I like the fact that Ben Sherman is confident enough of the power of its own brand to allow the appearance of other labels like Lacoste in this book. Make a bit of space for it on your style bookshelf. You’ll enjoy it.
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