Tricots Saint James: Stripes Club

The Crew of the French Heritage Brand Models its Nautical-Inspired Range

Call it a Breton, call it a marinière—a nautical T-shirt, a stripey top. Fashion's long-standing love affair with the sartorial classic and its popularity as a born-again trend has reached a fever pitch, from rock shows to the racks of J.Crew to the runways of Paris. For the most authentic incarnation of the French staple, look no further than Tricots Saint James. In a small Normandy town of the same name, Saint James has produced the fundamental wardrobe basic since 1889, when the brand first began making wool sweaters for local fishermen using a unique stitch close-knit enough to keep out biting sea winds and icy splashes from renegade waves. Two designs have defined this century-old institution: the traditional wool-knit side button sweaters known as chandails (from marchands d’ail, the term for the French garlic merchants who wore the sweaters to cross the English Channel) and the long-sleeved heavy cotton T-shirt. Both styles, along with more recent additions to the range, are modeled by Saint James employees––as well as Chairman Yannick Duval––in this series of images shot by Italian photographer Jonathan Frantini for NOWNESS. We paid a visit to the company's historic factory—where each garment is produced according to time-honored methods (including measuring the bands against a ruler to ensure parallel perfection)—and spoke with Duval about the label’s success. To read the interview, click here; and to see the many iconic artists and celebrities who have modeled stripes, click here.

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