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Essential Journal

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Classics Redefined: John Smedley’s Modern Icons

Quintessentially English, innately innovative and beautifully classic, John Smedley’s modern icons drive home the brand’s status as an undisputed arbiter of classic style

What do Audrey Hepburn, The Beatles, Marilyn Monroe and each and every James Bond to have ever graced the silver screen all have in common? Each has called upon the unrivalled sophistication of the John Smedley knit. Which comes as little surprise, when you think about it. For the last 235 years, John Smedley has been synonymous with unequalled heritage and quality. 

From design to first stitch, each and every John Smedley piece is brought to life in its Derbyshire factory. More than 50 British craftsmen work on each John Smedley piece. Cotton, silk and wool of the highest quality are carefully selected before each garment is created with more than 20 bespoke design processes, 1.5 kilometres of the finest yarns, 1.2 million perfect stitches, and the skilled hands of 50 British craftsmen.

John Smedley’s Modern Icons offer a solid testament to both its heritage and the skill of its craftspeople. The pieces that make up the collection are as timeless as the legends who wear them. The garments that make up the collection are undeniably modern, yet find themselves imbued with an irresistibly classic edge. In many ways, they offer the perfect visual metaphor for John Smedley’s centuries-long knack for modern, timeless style.

All of which makes picking out our favourite pieces a pretty difficult task. But we do love a challenge here at EJ towers, so here goes.

Essential Favourites

The Olwen Shirt in Anglo Indian Gauze, together with the Maelstrom Tailored Trouser, makes for a solid dose of understated sophistication. A timeless silhouette with rich textures and bold colours to boot? What’s not to love?

Likewise, the Maclean Bomber Jacket in John Smedley’s Merino Extrafine provides perfect proof of exactly what the brand does best; create timeless, heritage-forward pieces with an undeniably modern edge.

The Crestwood Jacket and Belden T-Shirt (in John Smedley Sea Island Cotton). What can we say? The oft-imitated but seldom-successful collegiate cool of yesteryear is a tough nut to crack, but here John Smedley makes it look like a walk in the park (or, you know, the library). We also have a long-standing soft spot for the shawl collar.

Boasting vibrancy and versatility in equal measure, the Jolie Sweater is a luxury blend of merino and cashmere. The result is a fine knit with a perfect fit that also happens to combine elegant design and ethical construction.

Check out the rest of the collection over at