Ben Sherman stepped back in time — and one step beyond – to celebrate its 40th anniversary at the Canvas Club in North London on September 17.

Former members of late ’70s/early ’80s UK ska acts The Specials – Neville Staples, Madness – Chas Smash, The Beat and The Selector took to the stage to play anthems such as “A Message to You Rudy,” “Gangsters” and “Rat Race.”

Ben Sherman’s CEO, Miles Gray, commented: "The party reflected everything that's best about our brand and our long association with popular music."

The night, which was fueled by real ale and fish ‘n’ chips in a sweaty environment, was as authentic as one of Sherman’s famed button-down shirts.

Ex-The Specials legend Jerry Damners played an hour-long set of his favorite ska tunes, Lee Scratch Perry made a guest appearance, and DJ supremo Norman Jay played Northern Soul classics to a 1,800 strong crowd of industry friends and purists.

Original Lambrettas and Vespas – from scooter-club members – paved the entrance in a fitting tribute to Sherman, who arrived back in Blighty from the US in 1963 armed with a fabric pattern book. The eponymous business he established later that year quickly brought the “Ivy League” look to Brighton and beyond. Soon thereafter, the Ben Sherman look became a staple of mods and skinheads.

A look-alike Queen Elizabeth jumped out of a giant birthday cake on the stroke of midnight as Sherman’s widow, Daphne, and other surviving members of the Sherman family clan shared drinks with the likes of former Olympic gold medallist Linford Christie and Chelsea Football Club hotshot(and current top scorer) Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. Pop sensations Liberty X also turned up to add a bit of glamour to the proceedings.

A book celebrating 40 years of the brand will be released next year.

–Tom Bottomley, special correspondent, Sportswear International