New Brand: Armor-Lux
A Breton shirt is forever
Text: Sebastian Nicu
As I write these lines, I sit on the TGV back home from Paris wistfully. I dream of macarons and striped T-shirts as the family a few rows behind me loudly complains about their son being a fan of the 102 Boys. “I thought we’d taught you a certain taste in music, Moritz,” Kirsten sighs and I can clearly feel that I’ve arrived in Germany. I have just spent a few days in the French capital – solely for the purpose of doing a a proper research, of course. Where else would you get the right information about striped T-shirts? Well, 200 metres from my parents’ house, there has been a little store selling nothing else but maritime shirts for as long as I can remember. But anyway, Paris is always worth a visit.
Since 1938, the Armor-Lux brand has been part of the Bonneterie D’Armor company in Brittany. Sacrebleu! That really is a long time. Isn’t the worldwide demand for striped T-shirts slowly being satisfied after 82 years? Au contraire, mon frère! In short, no, it is not. The longer answer: The pieces are as beloved as croissants and baguettes. People can never have enough of them. So it’s no wonder that celebrities like Pablo Picasso and James Dean became fans of la marinière, tricot rayé, or pull marin, as the shirts are often called. And let’s face it, no matter how many times you copy the style, Armor-Lux remains unmatched. Magnifique.
But no less exciting as the list of Armor-Lux’ customers (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Andy Warhol, Cary Grant among many others…) is the history of the brand. Back in the day, the 31-year-old Swiss Walter Hubacher, who is of German origin, bet that he would succeed in selling high-quality underwear under the Armor Lux brand name on his own. When his dream finally came true after a bumpy start, Hubacher began to expand his range to include maritime sweaters. In doing so, he always dutifully adhered to the strict specifications that make a striped shirt a Breton shirt: The white stripes must be twice as wide as the blue ones. The round neckline and the ⅞ sleeves are also essential.
Today, numerous myths are entwined around Breton shirts. Do the 21 stripes stand for the 21 victories of Napoleon? Maybe. Does the design help finding sailors who have disembarked? Possibly. But one thing is certain: Armor-Lux shirts are always on point. Not only are they trés chic, their quality is also top notch. Why else would the French railway company SNCF and GeoPost have their uniforms produced by the brand?For the most part they are – how could it be otherwise – made in France. The smaller part is produced in their own factory in Madagascar, which again suits the maritime theme pretty well, if you ask me. You can really feel the love of detail with which the shirts are crafted in the production facilities. The high-quality cotton fabrics are dyed by Armor Lux before they are cut and sewn together manually
No matter whether you’re going to spend your summer on the coast of Southern France or on the bench in front of the Späti in Friedrichshain, with these ace Armor-Lux shirts, you’ll always look formidable. That’s probably the only thing the family in my train compartment agrees on. So if all that rambling didn’t convince you, we’ve also done some doodles of famous people in Breton shirts for you….
Discover Armor-Lux now at HHV: www.hhv.de/shop/en/armor-lux-clothing-men/
Visual content: V.Raeter