In the Beginning
The history of the Breton Shirt is synonymous with seafarers and sailors across the north of France with the distinctive stripes making the wearer easier to spot in the sea. The original design featured 21 stripes, one for each of Napolean’s victories but variations of the style have been adopted by coastal communities across the globe. Whether its Parisian chic or Hollywood glamour, nautical stripes play a key theme with celebrities and cinematography alike.
Our family have always enjoyed our trips to France. Our fondest memories were of the long trips south in our father’s Bedford van, crossing to Calais in the amazing hi-tech hovercraft, whilst not forgetting to put the yellow headlight stickers on and ensuring our GB sticker was proudly positioned.
On our return, the van was usually filled to the gunnels with interesting food from our trip, wine of course and always a striped top or two. So the shirts stuck in our memories whilst returning to France with the next generation many years later. We genuinely liked them so much, we year on year just slowly built up a collection.
Initially we started selling them through national newspaper adverts and in selective magazines. We carried on this tradition for many years until recently when we felt that we could reach out via the internet. Rest assured the shirts are the real article and have changed very little in the 25 years we have been selling them.
We are also still as passionate about them now as we were back then.
Our favourite? Honestly? The 10 year old faded original shirt in my bottom drawer that has seen many a summer. We hope you like them too. If you don’t – its no big problem. Simply return them and we will refund you.
We have become frustrated and increasingly disillusioned by brands making clothing in anonymous factories in far away countries. Mass produced and shipped around the world in bulk. Our brand Club de Mer is not only based on sustainability but we also help sustain the local community involved in manufacturing the brand.
We always wanted The Breton Shirt Company to represent something different. Something fresh but with a history and strong foundations. At The Breton Shirt Company we respect the heritage of these iconic striped shirts and our clothing represents tradition with a modern twist bringing colour, vitality mixed with genuine authenticity.
All our garments are made by the Atlantic coast by a small family business. Created, manufactured and hand finished to the highest possible standards using only locally sourced materials and skilled craftspeople. A rare blend of traditional manufacturing, nautical flair and unmatched quality.
We hope you love our illustrations drawn by our niece Libby Walker who graduated from Edinburgh College of Arts in 2009. Now based in Glasgow she works as a commercial illustrator with clients ranging from the Jo Malone, Ibis Hotels and the RSPB. Libby’s personal work is primarily inspired by the Urban Landscapes of Edinburgh and Glasgow which she captures in her own linear style. She works from her Glasgow based studio and shop.