Monday, 12 December 2016

Robert Owen Undershirts: Made in England

I've been using Robert Owen undershirts for a while now and find them warm, soft and comfortable, but useful in warmer weather too. I thought it was time to introduce them in more detail and asked their founder, Robert Kay, to tell me more about the business.

1. Please introduce Robert Owen Undershirts.

We’re a small online business, and all we do is undershirts (or, you could say, modern vests). We started up because I couldn’t find what I wanted in the UK. I was looking for something lightweight and easy to wear under a formal shirt. I couldn't find it so I designed it myself and set up shop online. That was about three years ago. Since then we’ve had a steady stream of sales and great feedback (it seems I was not the only one looking for this solution). Six months ago Yvonne and I decided to take the plunge and work on Robert Owen Co full time. 

We think our undershirts are the most comfortable you can buy. The secret is the natural fabric which is smoother than cotton, and the cut which is designed to give you a gentle embrace. That fine layer next to the skin keeps you snug in winter and sweat-free in summer. We only sell online at , you can’t buy our undershirts anywhere else, the designs are exclusive to Robert Owen. We like it that way so we can maintain quality and customer service.

2. Where do you make your products?

We currently manufacture in the UK. All the garments are made by East End Manufacturing, in Mile End, London E1

3. What do the products offer in the way of their design and construction?

We offer slim and regular fits, with V or crew neck, long or short sleeve, long length to stay tucked in. There is an enhanced 'sweat protect' which has a double underarm layer which can hold sweat pads if needed. They are made of a silky soft bamboo viscose fabric

4. The undershirts are largely made from bamboo. Why is this? Please tell us more about this fabric and its advantages.

We spent a long time researching fabrics and decided to use bamboo viscose for a number of reasons. We use 95% Bamboo Viscose, a fibre derived from bamboo, mixed with 5% Spandex (for stretch and durability). 

It’s comfortable and moves when you move. Bamboo viscose has a smooth filament, just like silk. The process for making viscose fabrics was invented over 100 years ago as a method for making ‘affordable sulks’; that’s what gives it that unmistakable feel and makes it ideal for wearing next to your skin.

It’s durable and technical, which means it keeps the body at a more even temperature (it breathes). It’s a sweat absorbing material meaning sweat is absorbed and then evaporates to cool (as opposed to moisture wicking where sweat is taken away from the body and onto an outer layer). We believe that sweet absorbing is best for avoiding unsightly armpit stains.

There’s also a debate on it’s environmental impact. Bamboo doesn't need much irrigation - cotton does. Unfortunately chemicals are still required during processing. We won't claim its green but, because it grows fast, with less water impact, we think it’s an OK environmental choice.

5. So, to sum up!?

We think the right undershirt can make a big difference in how you look and how you feel. It’s one of the reasons we put so much into the design of our undershirts and why we spent a long time choosing a technical, natural, lightweight and breathable fabric. We believe that as with other little personal changes, like getting a new hair cut or new shiny shoes, the seemingly small change of upgrading your undershirts will give you a new spring in your step and renewed confidence to go out and make the most of the day.

Wearing an undershirt (or modern vest) may seem a little old fashioned. We know that not everyone will be aware of the comfort afforded by wearing a snug, natural, soft layer on the skin (although anyone familiar with winter sports will know the importance of wearing the right base layer). But, we also know from experience that once they give it a try, many love it. To help new customers find out for themselves we offer a guarantee. If anything isn't right with their first undershirt they get to keep it for free. You get a full refund without the hassle of having to post a return (terms and conditions can be found on the website).


Stclaret said...

Great post GF. I've been meaning to ask your opinion about such garments. It's notable in US dramas such as Mad Men and House of Cards most of the men wear white T-shirts under their shirts no matter what the season is - I guess they keep you cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Must confess I like the extra layer and I think it does give your shirts a longer life in the armpit department.

Jonny said...

Great find GF, Thank you very much! For those of us who run hot, high armholes in bespoke can be a problem. Unlike wearing a normal t-shirt, these won't show and can be worn without a tie.

They have 10% off it seems until the 15th.

Martin said...

Key for me is the longer length. I got some from the US and they sit nicely without any rucking up. These will go on my Santa list.

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