Ben Sherman is a British clothing brand selling shirts, sweaters, suits, outerwear, shoes and accessories predominantly for men. Ben Sherman designs sometimes feature the Royal Air Force roundel which is often called the mod target. In its beginnings in the 1960s, the company made its mark with fashionable short sleeved, button-down collared shirts. The Ben Sherman brand was owned by Atlanta-based apparel company Oxford Industries from 2004 to 2015. In 2015 Ben Sherman was sold to Marquee Brands, controlled by the American private equity firm Neuberger Berman.
The company was founded in 1963 by Arthur Benjamin Sugarman (1925-1987). He was Jewish, the son of a salesman, born in Brighton. He emigrated to the United States in 1946, via Canada, and changed his nationality to American. He married the daughter of a Californian clothes producer and later returned to Brighton, where he established a shirt factory at 21 Bedford Square in 1963.
Sugarman had realised that early 1960s London-based modern jazz fans were eagerly buying the Oxford-cloth American button-down shirt brands such as Brooks Brothers, Arrow, and Hathaway, that were worn by visiting American jazz artists like Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Canadian jazz artist Oscar Peterson. At the time, these were only available from official importers who had, in effect, cornered this market. He decided to produce a version of these shirts, along with a collection of the colourful, resort-wear vacation clothes that were growing in popularity, in both the U.S. and Mediterranean Europe. Mods responded, especially as Sugarman was using higher-quality materials and stitching detail than the imported shirts. The Ben Sherman Originals label was created, and by 1965, the company had opened a small office on the upper floors of an office-block in a London backstreet. This acted as the showroom for their shirt and beachwear collections. The first Ben Sherman store was opened in Brighton in 1967.
Sugarman sold his business in 1975 and moved to Australia. The company passed through a number of hands in the following years. In 1993, British investor 3i backed a management buyout of Ben Sherman Limited from Northern Ireland-based Dunkeld fashion group, then in receivership, for £4 million which resulted in the creation of the Sherman Cooper Group. In 2000, 3i financed a second management-buyout that created Ben Sherman PLC. In mid-2004, Oxford Industries Inc. of Atlanta purchased the Ben Sherman brand for 80 million British pounds (then $146 million) from 3i and Irish venture capital company Enterprise Equity.
The Ben Sherman womenswear and childrenswear collections that existed in the 2000s were discontinued by Oxford Industries in 2010. On 11 October 2010, the Ben Sherman opened a store at №39 Savile Row.