Skip to main content

Restock: The Meridien Moderne Breton Shirt by Saint-James

Nepenthes New York restocks the iconic Breton Shirt: the Saint-James Meridien Moderne.

Saint James produces each Meridian Moderne at their French factory, using a heavyweight yet breathable cotton material. The shirt's simple design and naturally straight shape provide its enduring appeal and versatility.

A staple of nautical style and French workwear history, these unique items are now available in-store and online at

About Saint James
In 1850, Leon Legallais established a spinning mill called "Moulin du Prieur" in Saint-James, a village in Normandy, France. This family-owned business started processing and dyeing wool from sheep grazing on the salt meadows along the Couesnon River near the renowned Mont Saint-Michel Bay. In 1889, the "Moulin du Prieur" atelier became the official workshop for Saint-James Mills Ltd., marking the beginning of Breton Shirt production.

During this period, the Breton fisherman sweater was the official uniform for French Navy sailors, quartermasters, and the Terre-Nuevas, who ventured to the North Atlantic to fish for cod. In addition to the distinctive white and navy stripes that made it easier to spot crew members who had fallen overboard, the sweater shielded the fishermen from the cold while allowing freedom of movement.

Soon after its introduction to the French Navy, the Breton Shirt became popular among the French public, especially among holiday-goers and sailing enthusiasts. Coco Chanel played a significant role in popularizing the shirt. Over the years, the shirt has been worn by famous figures such as Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Brigitte Bardot, and Curt Kobain.

With its rich history and timeless design, the Saint-James Meridien Moderne Breton Shirt continues to be a cherished piece in the fashion world.