“We think of ourselves as two things. Number one: The British jersey experts. We have developed, over the last 150 years, a number of fabrics that are unique. We are innovators in fabric development. Number two: We are manufacturers - cut and sew manufacturers in England. That is pretty rare. We're probably the last brand that manufactures cut and sew products in the UK from our own factory. There are other brands that dabble with making in the UK but they don't own the factories. The factory is not the core of the business.
When we grow the range we focus on those two things - is it a jersey and is it a cut and sew product? We do make certain items abroad, our boxer shorts for instance, but we have maintained the core here. I think a lot of other brands made a mistake in shifting all of their production abroad.”
The Creative Director
“He (J.W Anderson) loves our product. He is fundamentally a product guy at heart. He knows that what he does is about fashion but he knows that when he comes here and works with us we keep it simple. A lot of the stuff that he produces for menswear is made in the UK so there is a good synergy.”
Sunspel Mens and Sunspel Boxer
"When Peter Hill came back to run the business after the war, his elder brother was still living in Europe and he was a journalist. He then came back 5/6 years later. Then they fell out. So they decided to split the business between Sunspel Menswear and Sunspel Boxer. Peter, the guy we bought from, kept menswear and John had boxer.
Then, in the 80s, when the Levi's ad came out Boxer did really well. Because everybody started doing boxers; Marks & Spencer and so forth, the boxer side of the business effectively closed down.
When John, the brother, died, Peter bought the remaining business off of John's son. But he never really liked the boxers. I remember when we came up to speak to Peter, he said to me "what kind of underwear do you wear?" And I replied, "well boxers...briefs, a bit of both." And he responded, "Boxers. Nasty things!"
Photos of our visit are here. The informative Sunspel blog is here.