Our long history of working with this rare cotton dates back to the 19th century. Today we source our Sea Island cotton from a few small-scale farmers in the Caribbean and work with specialist technicians in Switzerland to spin and knit our unique Sea Island fabrics. Sunspel’s Sea Island cotton remains the last word in luxury for underwear, T-Shirts, shirts, polo shirts and knitted cotton garments.
Sunspel’s ‘Quality 82’ is a unique fine jersey cotton used for our Classic Made in England T-Shirts. It is directly de- scended from the pioneering fabric that Sunspel owner Thomas Hill invented in the late 1800s to make some the world’s earliest luxury T-Shirts. Today’s Q82 is constructed from an extra-long staple Supima cotton. We work with specialist spinners and knitters to make a jersey that is soft and lightweight, yet also durable and able to retain its shape through multiple washes: it is the perfect fabric for luxury, everyday garments that will last you for years.
‘Quality 14’ was developed in the 1930s, when Sunspel owner Peter Hill re-engineered traditional Nottinghamshire lace warp-knitting machines to create a cotton fabric with an open, or ‘cellular’, knit. As well as being breathable and cool, the unique way the yarn locks together means that the fabric is extremely strong and durable.
Sunspel’s iconic Riviera Polo Shirt – famously worn by Daniel Craig as James Bond – is made from ‘Quality 75’, a lightweight, breathable 100% Supima cotton fabric with a unique ability to retain its shape.
Q75 was invented in 1955 by Sunspel owner Peter Hill for his holidays in the French Riviera. Finding traditional piqué polo shirts too warm and heavy, he created something more comfortable for hot weather. Returning home to Long Eaton, he recalibrated Sunspel’s warp knit lacemaking machines to create a lightweight open knit cotton fabric with a soft, breathable mesh structure.
He named the resulting garment the Riviera Polo Shirt, and a Sunspel icon was born.