Phillumeny may sound like an obscure Disney character but it actually refers to the age-old tradition of collecting matchboxes. It’s a hobby which in this digital age may seem outdated, but a century ago, such items were prized and sought after, not only for what they represented but for their intricate artwork. These timeless designs resonate just as much today as they did back then, albeit in a slightly different context.

People also commonly collected stamps (philately) and even butterflies (lepidoptery), taking pride and perhaps comfort in the ownership of such items. That instinctive predilection for collecting things has been linked with stress relief by psychologists, which is perhaps why the hobby was taken up by many soldiers in the early 20th century. Travelling so extensively as they did was uncommon, and unlike the much-vaunted early explorers who returned with weird and wonderful spoils from their excursions to exotic lands, soldiers had to make do with small items almost incidentally collected while conducting their duties. This is probably why matchboxes became so prized.

Like matchbox collecting, Admiral has its roots in the military. Founded in 1914, the brand began at a time when so much of manufacturing was geared towards military use. The county of Leicestershire has always been the spiritual home of the brand, and in much of its 108 year history, also a literal one. Manufacturing in the Wigston area just outside Leicester, the story everyone knows about Admiral is through its pioneering exploits in football kit design. Separate to that, there’s a wealth of heritage and history to the brand. Admiral Sporting Goods is a celebration of those early years of the story, forging a reputation as the go-to guys for military and sportswear, reliable and robust.

Each season influences are collected from the key elements of the Admiral Sporting Goods DNA and infused into every fibre of the garments created. Initially, the largely unbranded style of ASGco. served to re-establish the heritage of the brand, but as that lineage has become more widely known, graphics have started to find their way into seasonal ranges. While researching the Royal Leicestershire regiment and its history, the Green Tiger Journal came to light, and through this the passion for the aforementioned Phillumeny became clear. Each of these regiment magazines would feature matchboxes and it became clear their brilliant designs deserved a wider and more contemporary audience.

This season we have taken the intricate and eye catching designs of matchboxes of yesteryear and applied them tastefully to garments with similar heritage. These designs are influenced by The Green Tiger Journal logo and 1950-60s matchbox graphics to produce a collection of four graphic t-shirts.