By Sofia Weddle
England is the birthplace of many iconic brands. Burberry, Barbour, Alexander McQueen, Jimmy Choo, and Ben Sherman. The design house, unlike the others, has widened its audience to the everyday man with affordable polos and slacks. Although some fashion moguls may turn an eye from ready-to-wear style, Ben Sherman is quickly instigating its brand as a modern fashion force. One that combines both chic attire and a relaxed attitude. High-fashion and high street.
Ben Sherman began as revolutionary shirt company in the 1960s, created by the mogul himself. According to the Ben Sherman website, Sherman wanted to offer the “new [post-war] generation of youth” an eclectic, professional, and mod style to fit the electrifying British pop culture era. Shirts transformed into a fully-stocked menswear brand, offering shoes, pants, tops, and accessories-- all for the modern youth. Now, Ben Sherman is a darling of British fashion; a company that nevers ceases to innovate.
During the 2018 London Menswear Fashion Week, Ben Sherman took the stage to showcase its Autumn/Winter 2018 line, which the company paired with designer Henry Holland to create. The British brand swiftly traveled back to the time of fur collars, checkered pants, and boldly designed sweaters. Think the National Lampoon’s Vacation movies. If last year harnessed the 90s, then surely 2018 must be the age of the 80s. Glenelg Senior Matthew Lloyd believes that brands are turning towards past eras because “... as a generation we have overdone the modern aesthetic… So naturally, we resorted to older style of clothing. Eras such as the 80s and 90s give our generation a way to express style through bright colors and costumish pieces without becoming insanely revealing”. Ben Sherman’s entire line fits this fashion leaning as it seemingly paid homage to the increasingly popular TV show, Stranger Things (but with an English flair). Each garment, though fit for daily wear, combined throwback grunge with contemporary office style. Classic track pant lines ran down pleated wool, the brand’s name stood plastered in bold colors against bulky sweaters, and sneakers paired with formal blazers and zip-ups.
The color palette consisted of burnt oranges, mulled reds, mustard yellows, navy blues, and striking blacks. Each garment fit its model perfectly-- not only in shape, but in attitude. The diverse array of models featured in the show had both fierce jawlines and a fierce walk; a true representation of Ben Sherman’s goal to give youth the power. According to Women’s Wear Daily journalist Lorelei Marfil, “Holland added his own twist and gave an upbeat touch to the label’s classic knitted polos, button-down shirts, T-shirts, jackets, denim, knitwear, trousers and coats”. The collection’s unique statement pieces represent the change that many brands are taking for the new generation. Glenelg High School Junior Anna Haney thinks that this stylistic change results from designers wanting “to increase their sales and to build brand recognition”. Consequently, basic office wear, and even its luxury counterparts, are being transformed into brilliantly colorful garments to fit the modern youth.
Thus, although the classic British label will always remain known for its affordable collared shirts and twill slacks, 2018 may mark its beginning as an abstract, revolutionized brand. As the world continues to change along with the growing generation, fashion needs to follow Ben Sherman’s lead in representing that clothing can be more than clothing. It is our insight into the future.