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Golden Deer / Lee Kung Man (Hong Kong) Cotton Kung Fu Shirts (Long Sleeve)

Golden Deer / Lee Kung Man (Hong Kong) Cotton Kung Fu Shirts (Long Sleeve)

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July 15th, 2021

I've been asked to offer these shirts for sale several times over the years, and I finally bought one today. These are the last kung fu shirts still made in Hong Kong, a few miles from my warehouse, and they've been made here continuously since the 1930s. These are made with Swiss cotton, which is mercerized with caustic soda to tighten up the fabric and make it more durable and smooth with a silk-like luster. The shirts are stitched on loopwheel/tubular knitting machines from the 1950s. There definitely aren't many of these machines still in use around the world, let alone in Hong Kong, and old machines have to be cannibalized for spare parts for the machines still in use today. These shirts are of course on a completely different level of quality from the Guangdong-made Cicada kung fu shirts.

These shirts are soft and lightweight, and very, very comfortable. While similar to the 555 shirts, these shirts are unique in their own right, and feature genuine mother-of-pearl buttons (the 555 shirts have been out of production for several years now). The vertical streaks on these Golden Deer shirts seem specific to the tubular machines used, however, and these vertical lines weren't found on the last of the 555 shirts.

These Lee Kung Man shirts have a reputation for being both absorbent and quick drying, and some people swear they perform better than modern quick-dry polyester sportswear as far as wicking sweat away and keeping you cool, even in our hot and humid climate here in Hong Kong.

Bruce Lee was known to wear these shirts in both the short and long-sleeved lengths. This is the long-sleeved version. I prefer the long-sleeved kung fu shirts since the sleeves look good rolled up in summer and layer more comfortably in winter. 

I would size up two sizes from UK or US sizing (in men's sizing). I wear a L in UK and US shirts, and an XL in Hong Kong sizing, but XXL (40-42" chest size) in these Golden Deer shirts fits me perfectly (see the pictures). You can of course size up and down if you want a looser or tighter fit. Please note XXL is the largest size made.

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