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Behind the Brand: Velva Sheen

One of our favorite brands at the shop, Velva Sheen has become a go-to for t-shirts, sweatshirts and other knit garments designed with a thoughtful eye towards vintage style while still maintaining a modern silhouette, using the nicest cotton fabrics available. Each season, Velva Sheen's eye for fit, fabric, color and detail wows us at Freeman, as the brand continues to redefine what a simple knit t-shirt can be. The way they keep one eye on the vintage sportswear-inspired past while keeping the other looking toward the future never fails to impress.

Founded in Cincinnatti, Ohio, in 1932, Velva Sheen began as a "manufacturer of sweats, t-shirts, jackets, and gym shorts for colleges, camps, schools, and [the] United States Armed Forces," according to a company history provided by the brand. Over the years, the Velva Sheen brand changed hands many times before nearly going out of business. 

However, Topwin, a Japanese company, purchased the brand with the intent to resurrect it and stay true to Velva Sheen's heritage. Today, they craft their knits in Southern California using the method for which Velva Sheen has become legendary to vintage clothing hounds: tubular-knit construction, a costly knitting process that results in a shirt with no side seams, resulting in a comfort level and clean visual look that's unparralleled. We love that Velva Sheen's tags, packaging and production style all stay true to the Cincinnatti original. "We hope to do justice to the namesake of Velva Sheen Mfg. Co.," reads the company history, "and bring back the fun and nostalgia of t-shirts past."

Here, our friend Hide Murase of Velva Sheen has answered a few questions about Velva Sheen's history, inspiration and his favorite Velva Sheen item. Thanks, Hide!

How did you get involved in resurrecting Velva Sheen? What made you want to bring it back?

We wanted to bring back the American Heritage line and Velva Sheen was a line we all remembered favorably.

Who designs the Velva Sheen line? What is the process behind the design of Velva Sheen? Is it all archival designs or some new designs as well?

We have a designer in Japan that takes archival design and breathes new life into it. I also help with some of the designs as well.

What is the biggest challenge in producing and designing Velva Sheen? What is the most rewarding or enjoyable part?

I think the biggest challenge is in combining the best of the old with the new and bringing it to market. And the most rewarding would be seeing people enjoy our products.

What is your personal favorite Velva Sheen item?

My personal favorite is Pac T. Basic is the best always.

All photos courtesy of Velva Sheen.