The French horizonal striped shirt, the top that was much-loved by Picasso and Hemingway.
The horizonal striped shirt is an established part of the wardrobe in Japan, where it is know as a Basque shirt, even though it appears that this name makes no sense in France, where the top is commonly called a marinière or Breton marine.
The Japanese name for the top is said to have its origins in the Hemingway novel Islands in the Stream, where “Basque shirt” was used in the Japanese translation.
Basque Country is the name of the region that spans France and Spain, and it is here that this top first came into being, worn as clothing by hunters. With its knit fabric that protects the body from strong ocean winds, its boat-neck neckline that allow the top to be easily put on or taken off even when wet, its three-quarter-length sleeves that will not catch onto equipment while one is working, and its stripes that make it easier to spot men who had fallen overboard, the Breton marine was a truly functionally designed work garment.
This functionally designed sailor’s work gear came to be adopted as part of the French navy uniform from the 1850s.
THE Breton Marine was created in collaboration with the company Fileuse d’Arvor, which stared business in Quimper, Brittany, in 1927 and manufactured uniforms for the French navy.
In Brittany, wives used to spin yarn while they waited for their fishermen husbands to come back from their work at sea. The knitting of sweaters using this yarn was part of the lifestyle of the region.
Based on its inheritance of this culture, Fileuse d’Arvor creates its fabrics in a production method that is slightly different to that of other companies.
While most Breton marine these days and created from knit fabric that is cut and stitched together, those manufactured by Fileuse d’Anvor are weft knit, meaning that the fabric is constructed by knitting horizontally.
Composition is complicated with weft knitting, and it is impossible to manufacture a thin fabric. The fabric uses a lot of thread and has bulk to it. It is highly stretchy width-wise, across the garment. Weft knitting simply transfers the technique of hand-knitting to a machine. Even now, Fileuse d’Arvor only produces weft-knit fabrics in France.
In this collaboration with THE, meaning has also been incorporated into the number of lines running across the body section of the top. There is a theory in France that officially, the stripes must number 21, which is the number of victories that were made by Napoleon. Based on this, we committed to visuals of the good old days, and fixed the number of lines across the body section of the top at 21.
We had also exploited the special features of knit production methods in different parts of the garment while maintaining its basic shape. These include techniques to avoid the hem becoming too thick and for increasing the number of stitches in a row in consideration of the amount of movement to which the sleeves will be subject.