Old fashioned style: The Philosopher’s Jumper

Daniel Wren

Featured image of Audrey Hepburn by Comet Photo AG (Zürich) (http://doi.org/10.3932/ethz-a-000222187) [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

The School of Life (TSOL) has announced an interesting new fashion collaboration with Bella Freud, inspired by the great thinkers of the world. This new garment, based upon a staple of the intellectual’s wardrobe, is The Philosopher’s Jumper.

In essence The Philosopher’s Jumper draws upon the stereotype of what our great thinkers wear – and, given the talented souls who’ve been seen wearing them, who’s to argue? It may not be scientific, but this is fashion, goddess damn it!

Speaking of the collaboration, TSOL Director Morgwn Rimel says, ‘We approached Bella Freud to help us create the ideal garment for the thinking man or woman. We discussed many ideas about how we could
approach the project but in the end agreed on the creation of a timeless minimal piece that has lived through countless evolutions, never losing its essence: the black jumper.’

Morgwn continues, ‘The black jumper has taken pride of place in the wardrobes of intellectual heroes as diverse as Herbert Marcuse, Iris Murdoch, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre. We see “The Philosopher’s Jumper” as an invitation for us to share in the philosophical life.’

Bella Freud says, ‘The black jumper is the ideal suit of armour to contain you while allowing you to free your thoughts. This is what I had in mind when I was approached by The School of Life to create “The Philosopher’s Jumper”. For all its simplicity there is nothing more alluring than a perfect jumper in black merino wool. It is a sheath that keeps you feeling under the radar while attracting the attention of interesting people. The words which normally adorn the front of my jumpers appear in a subtler form on a small label on the side which reads “know yourself”.’

To celebrate the collaboration TSOL have commissioned renowned photographer James Mountford to take a series of portraits of modern-day thinkers.


These include Hannah Dawson (above), who has a double first in History, an MPhil and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. She was elected to a Junior Research Fellowship at Queens’ College, Cambridge and is now Senior Lectures in the history of ideas at New College of the Humanities. Hannah’s favourite thinker is Mary Wollstonecraft, and her favourite work is Leviathan by Hobbes.


The second model (above), Charlie Gent, works with businesses to help them communicate better and think more creatively. He uses ideas from culture and science to inform his work. His favourite thinker is Daniel Kahneman and his favourite work is Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely.

The Philosopher’s Jumper is on sale now from The School of Life, and is available in a range of sizes for men and women, priced at £150.

If that price tag doesn’t seem too wise to you, however, you can opt for something a little glitzier from Primark instead.

Feel free to tweet us your intellectual selfies – with your favourite black jumpers, of course.

About Daniel Wren

Vada Magazine staff writer. Interested in travel, news, politics and dating.