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For a brand founded in 1850, it was only too late that I have learn about it. Saint James is a name synonymous with the famous striped shirt. The Saint James spinning plant was founded around 1850 and carries on a textile tradition in this region that goes back to the Middle Ages, making it the oldest and the most authentic makers of the Breton.

The Breton & More

Call it a Breton, call it a marinière—a nautical T-shirt, a stripey top, all that matters is how the Breton shirt makes you look effortlessly trendy and yet unpretentious. Beginning as a staple outfit for fishermen, this old-school style of shirt from Britanny has now become a fashionable clothing item.

The shirt uses a unique stitch, close-knitted enough to keep out biting sea winds and icy splashes from renegade waves. Each garment is still produced according to time-honored methods, like measuring the bands against a ruler to ensure parallel perfection, which is what gives it the quality that lets some customers return after 20 years for repair, This is also why Saint James remains one of my favourite brands to date.

Artistic geniuses of every era, Coco Chanel and Pablo Picasso among them, were early adopters of the Breton style. Still worn by sailors & fishermen, this symbol of escapism has enjoyed collaborations to the likes of André, J Crew and Opening Ceremony. The Saint James shop in Daikanyama is a must visit everytime I’m in Tokyo. While Surrender stocks the striped classics locally, the range available is far from sufficient for my retail therapy needs.