Even the most “anti-dress-up” denim enthusiast who would never consider wearing suit and tie as his everyday outfit will probably eventually find himself in need of a traditional dress shirt; like for walking down the aisle or attending that high profile job interview. Whatever the situation, you’ll need a shirt that will make you feel like you do when wearing your favourite denim, flannel or chambray shirt. A shirt you will be proud to wear because sewn into it is a unique historic reference just like it’s the case with every pair of jeans.
That shirt could very well be from Arrow – the Levi’s a shirts. The company behind the Arrow brand was founded in 1851 in Troy, New York and it was the first organised manufacturer in the world to produced detachable collars for shirts. In 1820, Mrs. Hannah Montague created the first detachable shirt collar in her home as a way of cleaning her husband’s collar without laundering the entire shirt. It was then in 1851 that Ebenezer Brown recognized the possibilities in the detachable collar industry and began manufacturing collars in the back of his general store in Troy, and thereby took the first step towards creating the shirt as we know it today. The Arrow brand was introduced in 1885.
Like so many companies of the 1800s it was named after its owners and as the ownership changed hands so did the name of the company. But in 1899 the name was changed to Cluett, Peabody & Co., which is what it’s still known as today and what we shall call it throughout this article. In response to consumer demand by the early 1920s Cluett, Peabody & Co. began manufacturing their shirts with attached collars and became the most successful company in the America of that time. After WWI, detachable collars were abandoned in favour of soft attached collars like those soldiers had become accustomed to on their uniforms.
The Arrow shirts sold in the Europe are adapted to the European customers. A fine example of glocalisation, where a globalised product is modified to meet the expectations of the customers locally. Therefore, most contemporary Arrow shirt from the European size pack are rather slim fitted so you won’t end up looking like a Yuppie from the 80s. The dress shirts in these pictures are two ply only.
Also, and this may be rather interesting to denim heads, Arrow was the first shirt brand to use Sanforization, the process of pre-shrinking fabric invented by Sanford L. Cluett, nephew of George Cluett of Cluett, Peabody & Co.
Arrow has been pioneers in other areas than shirting, also the company’s marketing has been characterised by trendsetting innovation. The Arrow Collar Man was a fictional character introduced in 1905 and illustrated by J.C. Leyendecker. The campaign ran until 1931. The contemporary Arrow Collar Man is Hollywood actor Josh Duhamel.
Arrow will be sold by selected retailers in Denmark including Brund and Støy Munkholm from the fall/winter season 2012. Oh, and did we mention one of the best parts of it all, the shirt are modestly priced around 700-800 Danish Kroner (approx. €100).
NB: Unfortunately this European Arrow shirting programme will not be delivered anyway.