Unfortunately I chose to write a book about formal shirts the year everyone went into wearing pyjamas to work. But can’t win them all.

Jonathan Sothcott.

The Jermyn Street Shirt

I spoke to British Film Producer, author and friend of the show Jonathan Sothcott about his new book – The Jermyn Street Shirt, available on Amazon. Below are some moments transcribed from my chat with Jonathan. The podcast will be available to listen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify  or in the player below. You can also catch our chat on YouTube.

ME

How much fun was it to write the book?

JONATHAN

It was a pleasure. They say you should write the book that you always wanted to read that no one has written and that was kind of it. I couldn’t believe that no one has jumped in and I’m sure someone could have done it better, but I thought I would have a go.

Jermyn Street Shirt book by Jonathan Sotchcott

ME

Were you surprised that no one had written this book before?

JONATHAN

There’s plenty of Savile Row ones but there wasn’t one about Jermyn Street and its always been my favourite London street for 25 years. Unfortunately I chose to write a book about formal shirts the year everyone went into wearing pyjamas to work. But can’t win them all.

ME

And there’s lots of James Bond stuff in there. Were you tempted to write a book entirely on Bond?

JONATHAN

Every single shirt maker on Jermyn Street said to me that the biggest retail hook they have is James Bond. Everyone is looking for Sea Island or turn back cuffs and that’s what gets people in. Bond is the best barometer for smart clothing there is and people are still looking for that after all this time.

Emma Willis Jermyn Street

ME

How much did you learn during the process on writing this book?

JONATHAN

I knew very little about it to be honest. I knew the shirts I liked and the style I liked. One of the things I found interesting there was a lot of competitiveness on Jermyn Street a lot of the makers stake claims on various originations as we know. It was fascinating. One of the things that intrigued me was how Jermyn Street survived the transition from casual clothes in the 60s. Carnaby Street revolution, and they embraced it by bold stripes and big collars. And I think if they hadn’t done that, with people like Mr Fish, they wouldn’t have survived.

Mr Fish Shirts featured in The Italian Job 1969

ME

I love how the book covers practical things such as ironing shirts and caring for your shirts as well as the history of Jermyn Street.

JONATHAN

Yeah I used to take my shirts to the dry cleaners they’d come back destroyed, specially the Frank Foster ones because there is so much material in the collars. There is a new place now called Savile Row Valet opposite the Huntsman they’re all ex-tailors, pressers and spongers. I put a couple in last week so we’ll see how they turn out.

Jermyn Street Shirt author Jonathan Sothcott and his wife Jeanine Nerissa Sothcott

Jonathan Sothcott and his wife Jeanine Nerissa Sothcott (who unbelievably irons his shirts)

ME

I love the book, I’m not sure how I got the book before you. I felt like I unwrapped your Christmas present.

JONATHAN

I know I only saw it on your fucking instagram story. I immediately called the publisher, shouted at them and they sent two here so it’s alright.

Credits

Special thanks to Jonathan for his time, for Cynthia at The History Press for forwarding me a copy of the book. The Press Release can be found here. And to Paul Heath for recording the video and to the Washington Mayfair Hotel for allowing us to record the interview there. This episode is sponsored by MyPostcard. Be sure to enter TAILORS25 at checkout to get your 25% discount of any postcard you send.