Bringing colour to a T

Kirk & Kirk partners with John Smedley to launch handmade clothing collection

Jason Kirk and Karen Kirk

Eyewear company Kirk & Kirk has partnered with historic British knitwear company John Smedley to launch a capsule collection of handmade Sea Island Cotton t-shirts.

John Smedley was established in 1784 and is one of the oldest manufacturing factories in the world, creating high quality clothing, completely handmade in Britain.

After a long-standing relationship with John Smedley, eyewear brand Kirk & Kirk has designed four t-shirts alongside the knitwear maestro, representing their shared affiliation for colour and quality. 

Ophthalmic frames and sunglasses company Kirk & Kirk was founded in 2014 by husband and wife team, Jason and Karen Kirk, who have more than 25 years of experience in optics. 

Explaining the new partnership, Kirk & Kirk managing director, Jason Kirk, said: “We love to collaborate with like-minded companies, whether it is in eyewear, fashion or some other medium.

“There is such a natural synergy between Kirk & Kirk and John Smedley on so many levels – aesthetic, quality, attention to detail – that it seemed like a project that both of our audiences would appreciate.”

Kirk & Kirk is known for its colourful eyewear and has added its inspiration to the four colours chosen for the t-shirts – Bevin red, charcoal, indigo and Bauhaus purple.

The vibrancy of the colour combinations is seen subtly across the neckline of the t-shirts and has only been made possible through John Smedley’s specialist fabrics and dyes, according to the company.


Kirk & Kirk creative director, Karen Kirk, said: “We have been friends and fans of John Smedley for many years, and have long been inspired by its work.

“As brands, we are both British, with long and proud histories where quality and integrity are watchwords.” 

She concluded: “John Smedley’s use of colour and unique materials completely resonated with us and it’s been truly inspiring having the opportunity to collaborate.”

John Smedley’s marketing and design director, Jess Mcguire Dudley, said: “Kirk & Kirk’s ethos, dedication to craftsmanship, colour and design are qualities we hold dear to ourselves and we were delighted to invite the team into our design process to create these bespoke garments.”

She added: “We look forward to working more closely with the team on our new eyewear capsule collection in spring 2018 too.”

The classic unisex crew neck t-shirts are made from high quality John Smedley’s Sea Island Cotton, a unique grade of cotton that is breathable, hypoallergenic and soft.

The t-shirts cost £110 and are available to buy on the Kirk & Kirk website.