From Father to Son: The Story of the Sunspel Vest

Every once in a while we receive messages from customers that never fail to remind us of the personal histories connected with some of our simplest designs. One of these messages came from Mr. Daniel Sum who wrote in from Shanghai about his Q14 cellular t-shirt that he had inherited from his father and held on to for over fifteen years.

Daniel was kind enough to send us his much loved t-shirt and tell us a little more about the unlikely origins of one his favourite pieces of clothing.

On first receiving the T-shirt.

“I have had the T shirt from around 14-15 years of age. I remember very clearly, going into my father’s bedroom and complaining of the cold in the morning. He smiled at me and said that he had this T-Shirt/vest that was super warm and he opened the storage drawer underneath the bed and pulled this vest. I remember the appearance of this vest, because it was the only one with this pattern. All his others were the fish net kind or just plain.”

“He said “try this on – it is really great quality and super warm!” I didn’t look at what make it was, I was at the age where I wasn’t interested in this kind of thing. After I put it on he continued to say “You will see, it’s super warm!”. He has always been long winded with the things that he admires.”

On Mr. Sum snr’s first purchase of the T-shirt.

“Recently, I asked him where he bought the t-shirt… he said he bought it after Christmas in Swindon – I am surprised he still remembers  as it is around 20 years old now, which means he must have bought it about 3-4 years before he gave it to me. He said he bought it because he could instantly feel the quality.”


On continuing to wear Sunspel.

“At the time I paid little attention to Sunspel but it was my go to vest during the colder months. It was many years later in my search for quality clothing that I realised what a special item my father had given me.”

“My father came to England in his 30s from Hong Kong looking for a better life and found work in the food and beverage industry, serving fish and chips. Eventually he set up his own business and it has grown from strength to strength.”

“Our family has now moved to Shanghai and back to our origins, but I still am stubbornly British within! I rarely wear this vest anymore, as I am worried about damaging it further but I still take it with me wherever I travel.”

Daniel’s story and many others encapsulates what we strive for here at Sunspel – a lasting belief that something well made should go on for generations.

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