History of the Submariner

The Royal Navy's Closest Ally

The incredible comfort of the submariner rollneck is, ironically, born out of the most uncomfortable conditions imaginable. They’re called submariners because the first of such rollnecks were worn by crews of the Royal Navy who served on board submarines during the two world wars.

A British submariner’s life was tough. For months on end, they lived in cramped quarters, men worked for hours at a time in dirty conditions, covered in engine oil, not to mention the need to emerge from said engine oil at a moment's notice to fight in the depths of the cold, dark North Sea or the Atlantic. And so, the submariner earned a reputation during the world wars for his hardy nature and formidable personality. Such a lifestyle required clothing that was just as tough to protect these men against the unforgiving elements of the open sea.

Thus, the iconic, British wool rollnecks with wide ribbed waist bands and cuffs, was born. The original submariner rollneck was standard issue, in navy and white, and was designed with difficult conditions in mind. It was comfortable, very thick and warm, that kept you protected against the wind all the way up to the neck, and because it was lambswool, it was breathable, so the crew was able to stay relatively cool in the heat of the engine room, yet warm when having to fight in the cold. It dried quickly, so they wouldn't get soaked or become weighed down if they got wet. 

The name "submariner" quickly caught on, this tough-as-nails rollneck jumper being so closely associated with the hardened soldiers of the Royal Navy, who now regarded it as their body armour when out completing missions in the most hostile and inhospitable corners of the world. 

The submariner rollneck became the representation of the wearer's hardy way of life.


Our cashmere ribbed submariner is a modern version of the traditional submariners worn by the Royal Navy. Just like its naval forebears, our submariner is a hefty, durable rollneck sweater designed to keep the wearer warm in the most forbidding of wintry weather. Except that we have added a good dose of luxury into the garment. Made with 100% 4-ply cashmere at a weight of c. 550 grams no less, it is knitted densely by heritage makers in Hawick, Scotland, in an all-over rib stitch for extra warmth, using the world's highest quality cashmere yarn from renowned Scottish mill Todd & Duncan. It is an indulgently thick and soft garment that you will never want to take off once worn. It has a slightly slimmer fit through the body and arms, making it yet more contemporary.  

Thankfully, owning one of our cashmere submariners won’t require a few months’ service on board her Majesty’s fleet anymore, but it should help you brave the winter all the same.

Shop our cashmere ribbed submariner rollneck here