50 Years of British Style


We premiere exclusive images from Josh Sims’ homage to Ben Sherman and British style icons

Classic menswear brand Ben Sherman has teamed up with style writer Josh Sims to celebrate five decades of British fashion and its own incarnation. Since Ben Sherman is based on subculture, the book fittingly looks closer at the relationship between music-based youth movements and the development of fashion on these isles. Music and fashion has long gone hand in hand, and few brands showcase that as well as Ben Sherman. Ahead of the launch we spoke to Sims about defining Brit style and what decade was best for fashion…

David Hellqvist: What did you look for when putting together the book?

Josh Sims: We wanted to celebrate Ben Sherman’s role in several of the key British men’s style cults, which amounts to a remarkable run really – but beyond that we also wanted to get under the skin of tribes that still have resonance in the way British men dress today. And, forgetting clothes altogether, they are a very real part of British 20th century history of course.

David: How do you define British style?

Josh: If these style cultures are anything to go by, you’d have to call it masculine, graphic, simple and inventive. Like any true style, it’s not a reflection of how deep one’s pockets are either. The British are very tolerant of eccentricity in self expression. In fact, I think they love it.

“The British are very tolerant of eccentricity in self expression. In fact, I think they love it”

David: What decade was the most prolific in terms of style icons?

Josh: The UK really produced one dominant men’s style culture per decade, and of those I’d say mods in the 60s has been the most enduringly influential.

David: How do see the relationship between music and fashion manifested in British style?

Josh: Music has been crucial to the foundation of nearly all British men’s style cultures, with the exception of casual, which was forged around football. The dress was a reflection of a shared taste in music – what was, at the time, a largely underground music too. That gave a sense of shared identity that was expressed in dress.

50 Years of British Style is available from Ben Sherman’s Commercial Street store this February 108 Commercial Street London E1 6LZ