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1966 1967 1968 1970 1972 1974 1978 1980 2000 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
1966

Brutus began when, a then seventeen-year-old Keith Freedman, joined his father's general wholesaling business in the East End of London. One of the many things they sold was a knitted roll neck sweater in dark colours for the working man.

Keith suggested they try it in white for the new style-conscious man, he took out a full page ad in Menswear Magazine, and soon orders started coming in from fashionable London boutiques such as Vince of Carnaby Street.

At the time, ‘Brut’ was a popular men’s aftershave and it provided Keith and his younger brother Alan with the inspiration for a brand name. In a matter of months, Brutus was born, and their white knitwear was in hot demand.

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Brutus founded by brothers Keith and Alan Freedman

1967

At nineteen years of age Keith decided that the next step would be to visit Hong Kong to develop and extend the knitwear range. In those days travelling to The Far East was an arduous task, but a determined young Keith managed to contact several factories and with his father's blessing, he embarked on a journey that would change the course of British fashion.

As the war in Vietnam escalated, Hong Kong became a city where American soldiers would go for rest and relaxation during their leave. One day on Hong Kong’s Nathan Road, Keith discovered a shop selling shirts for off duty American soldiers. “The shirts they were selling were half sleeve button-down, shirts that you couldn’t get in the UK,” Keith recalls. “I thought to myself maybe this would be a good line to sell in addition to the knitwear. I found a few factories and the next thing we were importing was button-down shirts”

The first shirts Keith brought in were very American, but with the help and advice of several UK retailers, Keith set about creating a shirt that would appeal to his home market by being both stylish and affordable. The result was a shirt that carried a top pocket with stitching, a generous button down collar, a button placed at the back of that collar, a box pleat running down the shirt’s back, with two darts either side and the famous two buttons placed on the cuff of the shirt’s half sleeve. A British shirt had suddenly become very interesting.

Keith started visiting flea markets in European cities, looking for ideas to expand the shirting range. It was in Paris that he spotted a tartan shirt, which provided the template for the company’s famous tartan Trimfit.

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Birth of the Trimfit Shirt

1968

Post-war Britain saw the birth of it’s first youth cultures. It began with the Teddy Boys and was shortly followed by the Mods. By the late 1960’s and early 1970’s two significant sub cultures followed: Skinhead and its offshoot Suedehead were extremely popular working class fashions and made the Brutus Trimfit shirt a staple to their look.

Skinhead and Suedehead Style

1970

In 1970 Brutus switched their attention to the jeans market. They started with a four-patch pocket brushed denim jean with twenty-eight inch bottoms, before pioneering pre-washed jeans and denim embroidery.

Brutus Jeans

1972

Brutus Jeans First TV advert, shot in the South of France by the legendary fashion and portrait photographer David Bailey

Brutus Jeans First Television Advert

1974

'Jeans On' Television Advert

The award winning television commercial for Brutus Jeans by Saatchi & Saatchi, including the Jingle ‘Jeans On’ written by David Dundas which went on to reach Number 1 in the singles charts.

David Dundas, Brutus ‘Jeans On’ Television Advert

1978

Brutus Gold Jeans

Brutus Gold was a more premium denim offering made from 14 ounce Japanese denim, with a gold bar logo on the back pocket and were a huge success during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. This advert features a young STING in 1978.

Brutus Gold Jeans

1970's

Brutus Jeans "Won't cost you an arm and a leg"

1980

New California Style Heavy Denim, Brutus Gold Advert

New California Style Heavy Denim, Brutus Gold Advert

1981

Brutus Jeans Television Advert 1981

1980's

"Brutus From Texas" Television Advert

1980's

Brutus Jeans Television Advert - Research Centre

2000

The fashion market started to turn away from the classic jeans and shirt look, either towards sportswear or a designer led look. As the clothing industry changed so did Keith's interests so in 2000 he put the brand on ice and decided to diversify.

Brutus Closes

2009

In 2009 Keith’s son Jonathan Freedman relaunched the brand in a low key and stylish manner by putting the now iconic Trimfit shirt back into production.

“I was brought up with the brand and always fascinated by the cultural significance of the Trimfit shirt”, explains Jonathan. “Bringing it back was just about waiting for the right time.”

By maintaining the same stylistic details developed by his father, Jonathan introduced the brand to a whole new generation who are interested in pin sharp dressing, whilst also appealing to the loyal fans for which the brand will always remain a beautiful memory.

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Jonathan Freedman relaunch of the Trimfit Shirt

2010

Modernists, teddy boys, skinheads, suedeheads, boxing champions and soul boys, gathered in East London, the birthplace of Brutus for a photoshoot to celebrate the return of the legendary Trimfit shirt.

Old Friends and new Blood

2011

Jack Royle, photographed in Brighton by Marcus Munnelly

Brutus hires LAW Magazine to shoot the first full Trimfit Collection in Brighton.

Brighton by the sea

2012

In 2012 Brutus announced their first collaborative shirt with Dr. Martens.

Since the 1960’s both brands have enjoyed cult followings from a variety of image obsessed youth movements. This collaboration was a natural progression, as Trimfit shirts have been paired with Dr. Martens boots throughout generations.

An original Brutus Trimfit shirt was reworked utilising the ox blood leather and yellow stitching synonymous with the classic Dr. Martens boot, and the strictly limited edition Trimfit proved to be hugely popular with both the vanguard that wore these two iconic pieces the first time around and to a new generation who are embracing the button-down uniformed aesthetic once again.

The exclusive shirts were stocked in 24 flagship Dr. Martens stores across the world from Tokyo to New York and went on to become an ongoing collaboration over 5 years.

Brutus x Dr. Martens

2013

Trimfit Illustration Project

Exhibition Launch Film

British fashion has always been about youth movements adopting classic looks to make them their own and Brutus has been at the forefront of that mentality from the outset. The Trimfit shirt has been worn proudly since 1966 as part of a dedicated look, the following of specific sounds and an obsession with fit and detail.

For the Trimfit Illustration Project Brutus commissioned a select group of young British artists and illustrators to express what Brutus means to them by using the iconic Trimfit shirt as their canvas. The result was an enthralling collection of hand-made pieces reflecting the bold individuality of each artist and the diversity existing in Britain today.

The illustrations were intricately drawn directly onto the fabric bringing a fresh approach to the decades of heritage that are imbued in a button down shirt, while transforming a heritage piece of clothing into a modern day work of art.

The one off pieces were exhibited at an exhibition in Soho, London.

Trimfit Illustration Project

2014

For SS14 Brutus worked with the legendary Buffalo stylist and visionary Barry Kamen and photographer Jamie Morgan to capture eight pristine Suedehead looks, featuring the Trimfit Collection and brand new Brutus Gold Denim.

Classic without Cliche

2014

Ruder than you

Going back to the roots and the reggae, an AW14 shoot with influences from mid 70’s Jamaican Rudeboy culture. Shot again by Jamie Morgan with killer looks by Barry ‘Buffalo’ Kamen.

Ruder than You

2014

Backstreet all-nighter

A film about a Northern Soul club hosted by Wigan Young Souls and supported by Brutus at Klub Polonia in Bolton.

Backstreet all-nighter

2015

David Rosen

David Rosen has been wearing Brutus since the year Arsenal won their first double in 1971. He works in the heart of Mayfair Village on Savile Row as one of London's most sought after property agents. He is a true creative, with an eye for style and honest design. A meticulous dresser, David is rarely seen without good shoes, a button down Brutus and a spring in his step.

Having first seen Brutus when it hit the market in the sixties, for David, the brand brings back memories of 'the spirit of Jazz on a summer's day.’

Greg Farmer

Greg Farmer is a traditional skin and scooterist originally from Maidstone, who currently lives and works in London. Greg works as the manager of Islington's Jigsaw Menswear and surrounds himself with well-made, well considered garments every day. He lives for traditional style and always keeps his boots shined, his trousers pressed and wears his Brutus Trimfit with pride.

Having spent much of his youth trying to track down a Trimfit, to Greg, wearing a Brutus today means owning a piece of strong British heritage and not settling for second best. 'I have my Sta-prest, I have my Solovairs, my Baracuta and now I have my Brutus. I nearly took the guy's arm off in Jump The Gun in Brighton for the shirt he was putting in the window on their rerelease.'

Sid Ryan

17-year-old Sid lives on the Isle of Wight and is the singer and bassist in the Oi/Punk band, Grade 2.

When he's not touring through Europe or working in London with Brutus, Sid spends his spare time catching up with his friends back home. Sid's love for style and music comes from the second wave of skinhead subculture in the 80's and the bands and fashion that originated at that time.

To Sid, Brutus is a classic British brand that has been part of different subcultures for years, 'when you're wearing a Trimfit you're guaranteed to look smart.'

Rachael & Josh

Rachael and Josh are a young couple from Brighton who share a love for city life by the sea, Northern Soul dancing and sharp tailoring.

Jake Wigham

Jake Wigham is a young tailor from Carlisle who is currently studying Bespoke Tailoring at London College of Fashion. Three years ago Jake left his bricklaying job to try his hand at tailoring, now he spends his days working in the studio and his nights dancing at reggae or soul nights in the city.

To Jake, Brutus means keeping things classic, 'where other skinhead brands have lost their way, Brutus have stayed true to their original ethos and that's why they rule the market.' His favourite way to wear a Trimfit is with a pair of freshly pressed trousers and braces, or a tie and a bespoke waistcoat for more formal occasions.

Missy

Brutus Ambassador Missy recently moved to the UK from her hometown of Sydney, Australia. Missy spends her time travelling, going to Oi! and reggae gigs, and DJing an eclectic mix of glam-rock, 60's garage, soul and punk.

Missy first took notice of Brutus when her mother-in-law lent her a Trimfit to wear, and since then Missy has been working on a strong collection of her own. Her favourite way to wear a Brutus is with shined shoes and a dark denim jacket.

To Missy, Brutus means 'good quality, reasonable price and a brand that cares about the people who wear it.'

Brutus Ambassadors

2015

Lewes Howes, shot in a Photobooth at London Bridge on Valentines day.

SS15 Photobooth Shoot

2015

Brutus goes back to school with best friends Brody, Jody and Katie on the Isle of Wight. A story of fresh white shirts and farewell messages.

Back to School Project

2016

2016 is a special year for Brutus, which marks the 50th anniversary of the brand.

To celebrate this milestone we present a collection that draws on our rich heritage to present classic, timeless pieces fit for the modern man.

A nod to the past, looking to the future. With this collection we have chosen key Brutus features and developed them to form a fresh, bold and distinctive range that appeals to our loyal existing customer whilst also introducing Brutus to a new younger market.

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SS16 50-Year Collection