SIRPLUS is founded by Henry Hales. While plotting to take over the men’s underwear market, Henry leads to a chance discovery: that shirt-makers often end up with a surplus of fabric, not enough to make a shirt but plenty for a few pairs of boxers. Said fabric is snapped up, boxer shorts are made, and a pun-tastic name is given.
SIRPLUS meets the world! Henry moves to London armed with suitcases of boxers, and heads straight for east London’s Spitalfields market sure of success. On day one, his takings total £0. Day one is a fluke as it turns out, Henry soon makes the pilgrimage west to Portobello, and word of mouth begins to spread.
The SIRPLUS website launches, complete with questionable cabbage logo. Years later and we're still asked about the reasoning behind this – the simple answer is that cabbage is industry-speak for surplus. As for the top hat – we’ll get back to you.
From boxer shorts, the logical next step is, of course, formal waistcoats. Made from surplus and fitted in Henry's front room (a spacious east London studio is still a few years away at this point), they quickly grow in popularity. Nehru waistcoats come next, kick-starting a collarless complex still evident today.
An upgrade, from trestle table to custom-built market cart. By now SIRPLUS is a regular fixture on Portobello Market, with a regular spot outside of No. 306A.
Our first magazine cover. A lesser-known tennis player is drafted in to wear our Nehru jacket, but of course, the focus is firmly on SIRPLUS.
The shop on wheels arrives: a custom-built, state-of-the-art rolling store, made possible due to the massive generosity of friends and family. Over £19,000 is raised via a Kickstarter, which remains humbling to this day. A huge thank you continues to go out to each and every one of the 166 who contributed.
Our distribution centre opens, allowing us to pick, pack and post orders faster than ever before. Never again will Henry get stuck on a lawn while hand-delivering a package, disturbing a rather grand Christmas party in the process. Orders are now expertly shipped anywhere in the world within four days, with next working day delivery available throughout the UK.
We're handed the keys to 306A Portobello Road, after years of pitching on the market directly in front. It's a small, unassuming place, but one with more than enough room for our full collection which by now includes jackets, trousers, coats, knitwear and more.
The team behind Brooklyn Flea Market, New York's answer to Portobello, invite SIRPLUS to join them for a one-off weekend. While there, we also run a special trunk show with our friends Turnbull & Asser. The special relationship is forged as we introduce our American cousins to the Nehru collar and grandad shirt.
49 Camden Passage opens its doors. Five miles east and ever so slightly north of Portobello, it's a bright and spacious store which counts among its neighbours a delectable Austrian cafe, an uproarious comedy club, and on Wednesdays and Saturdays a brilliant antiques market.