IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT IS SIRPLUS CLOTHING?
SIRPLUS is a contemporary menswear brand, creating both special and staple pieces from quality fabrics, many of which are surplus. It all began when I discovered that Savile Row shirtmakers often ended up with these incredible surplus fabrics after making their garments. Usually, that fabric was just thrown away, considered no longer sellable or useful. So I started making up-cycled boxer shorts using these amazing offcuts. I began selling them on a market stall and 10 years later here we are. Today, we source fabrics and surplus from some of the finest factories in Europe, creating a full wardrobe focused on longevity, sustainability and modern style. Our aesthetic is forged through minimal and relaxed design principles, underpinned by an irreverent, playful attitude towards life.
DO YOU THINK THAT CONSUMERS TODAY ARE MORE CONSCIOUS OF MAKING SUSTAINABLE CHOICES WHEN IT COMES TO THEIR WARDROBES?
I would say it’s definitely becoming more important, especially among our customers. Many of them are looking to build a wardrobe that’s foundational – filled with quality, staple clothing that minimises impact. There are several ways we do this – through fabric choice, factory selection, crafting pieces with durability and longevity, designing classical silhouettes and, of course, the use of surplus fabrics. Some clients discover us just through our aesthetic, and then are pleased to learn that sustainability is at the core of what we do – whereas others will find us through actively searching for more planet-friendly fashion. Our whole team has certainly seen a growing number of clients that really appreciate products with a sustainable take.
SIRPLUS HAS INTRODUCED A RELAXED TAILORING EDIT. WHAT IS THE PHILOSOPHY BEHIND THIS AND WAS IT A DIRECT RESPONSE TO LOCKDOWN?
Yes, and no. It’s definitely true that menswear is moving away from formality post-lockdowns. But relaxed tailoring has been our direction for a long time; it’s an aesthetic we’ve been honing for years. Partly because it allows for longevity, but also because it speaks to an idea of life that we really subscribe to as a design team. That there’s something fundamental about slowing down, simplifying and luxuriating, whether that’s with refined weekend
DO YOU THINK THAT ATTITUDES TO FORMAL CLOTHING HAVE CHANGED FOLLOWING THE PANDEMIC AND LOCKDOWNS AND THAT THESE CHANGES ARE HERE TO STAY?
I think so. With the advent of working from home and flexible working, the lines between office and out-of-office are becoming more blurred. So adaptable clothing that can speak to both formality and comfort will inevitably be in demand. Whether it’s cycling into the office, commuting to your laptop for a Zoom call or flitting between meetings – modern menswear needs to be fluid to stay relevant in my opinion.
Many companies are becoming more open towards what their employees wear to work, even here in the City
THE CITY IS FAMOUSLY STRICT WHEN IT COMES TO WORK CLOTHES AND ETIQUETTE, BUT DO YOU THINK EVEN HERE IT HAS RELAXED?
One hundred per cent. Our team at The Royal Exchange has seen a big change. As opposed to being “suited and booted” during the week and turning to us for weekend wear, we are now seeing a wave of clients coming to us for their office staples too. Many companies are becoming more open and considerate towards what their employees wear to work, even here in the City. As a result, our clients are embracing more comfortable, practical and stylish materials like linen and organic cotton. They may still keep a set of formal suits in their back pocket, but I think allowing employees to feel more individual and comfortable at work is set to stay.
WHO ARE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE ICONS?
I have quite an eclectic mix of style icons. I’ve always had an appreciation for the classics, like Cary Grant – when he was off set and pairing a relaxed knit polo with tailored trousers. But I’ve also always been inspired by David Bowie. He had a playful, rebellious approach to menswear that I enjoy. He was a genius at adding a twist to formalwear. Iris Apfel is also a legendary fashion icon. There’s a boldness in combining different textures that, though not my personal style, shows her true creativity and adventurous spirit. On reflection, they have all played a part in inspiring the SIRPLUS aesthetic in one way or another.
FOR PEOPLE RETURNING TO THE OFFICE MORE REGULARLY THIS SEPTEMBER, WHAT KEY SIRPLUS PIECES WOULD YOU RECOMMEND?
Firstly, I would invest in a cotton cashmere shirt. A seasonal staple here at SIRPLUS, it will offer a slightly weightier and more luxurious step up from your regular shirt. Ideal for transitional dressing. Secondly, cashmere and lambswool crew neck jumpers are two pieces I reach for daily in the colder months. This season we’ve added some subtle textures and a rich colour palette, which are perfect for refined layering. Lastly, I think every wardrobe can benefit from a wool gilet. Offering a modern, utilitarian silhouette that works as well in the office as out.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT BEING BASED AT THE ROYAL EXCHANGE?
Ever since I began selling on a market stall, SIRPLUS has always been informed by and engaged with the communities it finds itself in. Our team loves not only the sense of warmth and community within the building but also its rich history. Our design process is often informed by the backstory of a garment, whether it be a grandad shirt or a Nehru jacket. This history inspires us in our journey to reinvent it for the modern wardrobe. Similarly, we are always inspired by our visits to the SIRPLUS Royal Exchange store. There’s a deep sense of heritage and a boldness to the architecture that can’t help but leave you in awe.
Discover more about the new-season collection by visiting SIRPLUS at The Royal Exchange