120003-312OProductShirt 3 Oxford
History Button-down collars
Button-down shirts were first known as ‘polo shirts’, marketed by an American East Coast clothing company from 1900 onwards. The name and style was inspired by an alteration made to shirts used by British polo players. To prevent the collar points from flapping in the rider’s face, buttons had been sewn on to secure them to the shirt.
At the time of the style’s introduction, shirts were generally collarless so that a separate, starched collar could be washed or replaced without unnecessary tear on the rest of the garment. The ready-made ‘polo shirts’ were made from soft Oxford cloth and featured an un-detachable, unlined collar that fastened with buttons at each tip. These more casual shirts became popular with college students and for use in casual sports.
Oxford cloth is made by interlacing pairs of fine warp yarns with a single slightly heavier weft, resulting in an ‘unbalanced’ basket weave. The looser structure of the basket weave (compared to a traditional plain weave) makes Oxford less prone to wrinkling, and it is traditionally used in men’s casual shirting.
Classic Oxford is often woven with dyed warp yarns and a white weft which further enhances the signature checkerboard pattern and creates a subtle two-colour effect with a faint lustre.
Originally woven by Scottish mills in the late 1800s, Oxford was one of four contemporary fabrics named after the world’s most prestigious universities (the others were Cambridge, Harvard and Yale, but only Oxford remain today). Made with coarser cotton qualities, it was an inexpensive and airy material that became popular for athletic wear, such as tennis and polo shirts.
Pinpoint is a more formal variation on the classic Oxford weave. It is more tightly woven with pairs of finer yarns in both warp and weft (such as 2-ply 80s or 2-ply 100s), making it a softer and more luminous fabric with a finer texture.
Esquel is a textile and apparel manufacturer for some of the world’s leading brands, producing more than 100 million pieces per year. Based in Hong Kong, the company and its 57,000 employees work in a way that reduces their environmental impact, and contributes to the communities in which they operate. Their eco-wash process, in particular, reduces resource use and encourages lean production with less manual labour. The 40-year-old company has a complete supply chain that starts with growing its own extra-long staple cotton, and handles all stages of the process through to packaging. For ARKET, Esquel is crafting men’s and women’s shirts.