by Karen Alberg Grossman
Ignatious Joseph
Ignatious Joseph

He might well deserve the title of World’s Most Interesting Man but if nothing else, he’ll settle for World’s Most Beautiful Shirts. Ignatious Joseph was born in Sri Lanka, studied economics in Switzerland, worked for 20 years in the hotel/travel industry, now makes beautiful hand-crafted shirts in Italy and lives in Dusseldorf Germany.

“I grew up Catholic in a traditional British family in Sri Lanka: my grandfather was in the tea business, my father was a civil servant and my mother, an English teacher, would wake me at the crack of dawn each morning to pray. My passion was always fashion: as a kid, I’d polish my shoes while sitting through an 8:00 am mass. In high school, I’d take my white tennis shoes and paint them red. In college in Switzerland, I’d wear suits and ties with shorts instead of trousers. People would ask why and I’d tell them because I come from a poor country.”

Among his industry friends and mentors is Kiton’s Ciro Paone. “When I first started going to Pitti Uomo, I was always a bit uncomfortable since I was virtually the only person of color at the entire show. But Ciro, holding court at the Kiton booth, reached out to me. He was always eager to talk: about fashion and about life.”

These days, Ignatious is renowned for his old-school style of dressing that is, ironically, increasingly popular with younger men. His shirts are unique for their unfused handmade collars, fine fabrics, and beautiful gift boxes with oval cutout to showcase the pattern. He sells to the top stores in London, Paris, Oslo, Brussells, and Hanover and is building a business in Korea, Japan and the U.S. (where Taylor Richards was among the first stores to give him a try.) The shirts wholesale in the States for about $100 for a $250 suggested retail. For more info: www.ign-joseph.com.