In celebration of the Royal Academy’s 250th anniversary, Sunspel and the Royal Academy have created a unique collection taking our Classic T-Shirt and dying it in six special shades taken from the Prismatic colour wheel. The colour wheel, said to be the world’s first, can be found in Moses Harris’s book ‘The Natural System of Colours’. This work is one of the treasures of the RA’s collection, and was dedicated to its first President, Sir Joshua Reynolds.
Proceeds from these T-Shirts will go towards supporting the Royal Academy’s internationally acclaimed exhibition programme and RA Schools.
Sunspel played a pivotal role in the birth of this universal wardrobe staple; a part of our heritage that we like to think gives us a certain expertise when it comes to knowing exactly what it takes to make the best T-Shirt possible. Made in England using long-staple cotton for unparalleled softness, lightness and comfort, our crew neck T-Shirt has a classic fit and only the most essential of details, making it the perfect day-to-day wardrobe foundation.
The origins of the T-Shirt can be traced back to as early as 1913 when the US Navy replaced the standard-issue shirt, with a woollen, cropped-sleeve undershirt. As exporters of cotton underwear throughout the British Empire, Sunspel perfected the art of making these undershirts more comfortable than ever before.
The T-Shirt was propelled to iconic status in the 1950s when it was championed by brooding mavericks of the silver screen such as Marlon Brando and James Dean and it was around this time that the Sunspel T-Shirt reached its now iconic simplicity.
Today, our T-Shirts are almost identical to this original design, save for a few minor changes here and there - the most crucial being the fabric. Quality 82 (fondly referred to as Q82) is a luxurious long staple cotton jersey.
The cotton is handpicked to ensure that only the highest quality fibres are selected, before being combed to remove imperfections. The fibres are then twisted together to create a strong, smooth thread that won’t tangle through being worn or washed. This twist makes it a supremely clean yarn, though we still pass it over a flame to remove any overhanging ends. The yarn is then double spun to remove any remaining impurities.
It might be said that this is something of a laborious process, but we think that the resulting jersey, which is not only long lasting, but also the lightest and the softest that we have ever felt, is worth every effort.
The enduring appeal of the T-Shirt can largely be attributed to its versatility. Pair a crisp T-Shirt with jeans, and the resulting look is as cool today, as it was at its inception in the 1950s. That said, a classic T-Shirt worn with good tailoring is almost unbeatable when it comes to achieving effortless style.