It probably isn’t a surprise to most Ben Sherman fans that the sixties is our favourite decade. While we’ve definitely drawn inspiration from the Mods of the sixties on a couple of occasions, for our latest collection Sixties Sharp, we’ve decided to take a slightly different tact.
The thing that really draws us to the decade is the freedom of expression experienced by the youngsters of the day, and the creative ways in which they used their newfound freedom. Sixties Sharp, the first drop from this new collection, is built around the strong, sometimes monochromatic colour schemes spotted in the ska and jazz clubs of the time.
For this week’s Last Word, we set the scene for the collection and highlight just a few of our favourite pieces from the first drop.
For many, the sixties is the decade in which Brits finally learnt how to dance. We don’t mean the traditional styles favoured at ballrooms and functions for some decades before, we mean real dancing. The kind of dancing that brings you out in a sweat you couldn’t care less about. The kind of dancing that you can feel in every muscle and joint the day after. It was free and wild, and everyone growing up at this time had a particular style of music that got them going.
For some, the sound of Motown drifting over from Detroit was exactly the thing to get them going, with the walking basslines and big melodies bringing the kids of the day flocking to clubs playing the likes of Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and the early sounds of Stevie Wonder.
Large scale migration from the Caribbean also brought with it another musical style till then unbeknown to the British public: ska. Alongside the offbeat rhythms and two-step dance moves, early ska trailblazers in this country also brought with them a particular style and panache, matching sharp suits, usually in black with open collar shirts, pork pie hats, and loafers.
After an initial rebellion in the early 60s to smarter attire, brought about as a way to give two fingers to their parents generation who they thought stuffy in their thick, itchy wool suits worn come rain or shine, the ska movement took the first steps towards young British males taking pride in their appearance once more, with suits and smart casualwear coming to the fore.
Taking its cues from this groundbreaking period, Sixties Sharp elevates casual to a luxe level with laminated wools, cotton sateen and polished textured tonics. A colour palette of midnight black, petrol blue, and dark plum is balanced with whites, heathered greys and classic blues. All elements combined help to create a confident sixties spirit that echoes a smart, tailored attitude.