How would you describe your style?
Effortless elegance and flair
Do you design your shirts with a personal style reflection?
Of course, every season I think about the shirt as if I were wearing it for the first time. Sometimes I have seen something in the course of the year or had an experience which focuses my attention on a particular aspect. It might be something banal like a button. Imagine the concentration that sometimes occurs when you see that you have spilled something on a freshly washed and ironed shirt. You get transfixed by the spot and in that moment a feature of the shirt acquires an almost exaggerated importance. Naturally I don’t spill soup on my shirt just to get an inspiration but it might be an accident that leads me to highlight a feature like the stitching of the buttons or a change in the cuff. In any case the style always comes from a very personal experience.
How do you look upon style today in contrast to honest sprezzatura?
I prefer to contrast style and fashion. We all know the fashion fairs where the bulk of the “new” is imitation of some leading company or market maker. I have acquired my style over several decades and do not have to flatter anyone else’s fleeting tastes. Men with style do not really vary their apparel. They adjust to changes in their age, figure, and experience. That experience culminates in refinement. I am always learning more about the clothes and accessories the world has to offer but, my choices never depart from the sincere person I have become and whose identity I express in my choice of attire.
If you could return to a certain era which would it be, and in what country?
Either England in the 1930s or Italy in the 1950s.
We think the sources major outlets use for inspiration and style lack talent and credibility, where do you look for inspiration?
You see, I was born in Sri Lanka. Before 1800, India and Ceylon but essentially the entire region surrounding the Bay of Bengal was the centre of the world textile industry. It was a craft tradition and rich with colour from the unimaginable wealth of dyes used. I would say that wealth of colour is in my blood. Naturally the shirtmaking traditions of England and Italy inspire me in aspects like cutting and form— but the most intense inspiration is the love of colour which is essential in the lives of those like me who come from that part of the world. That is what makes my shirts so exciting for those who buy them. Colour is the fruit of passion.
The above exclusive interview with Ignatious Joseph 2011 © Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed. All rights reserved. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without written permission.