The best way to understand fashion is to talk with those who make it possible, so I bring you an interview with Ignatious Joseph, creator of unique and top quality shirts.
“Still the question is always, ¿what does the man want when he buy a shirt?” by Ignatious Joseph
Ignatious Joseph is the founder of IGN Joseph Shirts, an essential brand in every gentleman’s closet that boasts of being one and if you are a regular reader of articles on men’s fashion you will have heard it. Besides that he has participated in events as important as Pitti Uomo in Florence. An unmissable interview!
Adrián Guzmán – Why did you dedicate yourself to men’s fashion?
Ignatious Joseph – You know the saying, if you want anything done right you have to do it yourself.
AG – What is your interest in men’s fashion and how do you think it has evolved?
IJ – My interest has always been high-quality, tasteful garments for men who care about what they wear and not about what other people think they should wear.
I have seen the obvious fashion cycles. One once said that the economy could be measured on the ladies’ hemline. In the men’s fashion sector I would say that the economy might be measured on men’s hose– or in everyday language, their socks. I will leave you to draw your own conclusions what the relationship is.
Handmade shirts with respect to those you can buy in any store are more expensive, what would you tell readers to turn to these types of garments?
I appreciate workmanship. I also have a great deal of knowledge and experience from the historically low wage textile producing countries. I have great respect for those who have to earn their living with their hands, especially those who exercise skill in doing so. Still the question is always what does the man want when he buys a shirt? A shirt is historically an undergarment and as such it is really a second skin. So the reader who is looking for shirts really to ask himself what does he or she want for a “skin”? How should it feel? You know people sometimes complain in other circunstances when they do not feel right, that it is felt in or under their skin. So that is what the garments should address, how to feel in your own skin.
AG – What kind of customers usually buy your shirts? Have you been able to reach young people with your proposal?
IJ – I would say that my customers are mature men who have acquired their own taste and style and do not need ostentatiousness or fads. My shirts have all the classical qualities but reject the “Henry Ford” or “Big Blue” idea that real men just wear white. Today even Ford builds cars in colours other than black and one will surely see some career managers with more colour than just their neckties. However the man who has to appear in a serious business environment or prefers business casual, finds all those features in my shirts.
The question of young people is sensitive. In the last decade, not too long ago, when start-ups in IT seemed to assure young people of solid and progressive incomes there was no difficulty selling high end shirts with special qualities. However we can not longer deny that the dot com bubble and the 2008 slump have hurt especially young entrepreneurs and entry level careerists. They have taken a hit in starting salaries and the market has just been tight for everyone. Young people have to budget differently than those who have everything settled.
In short, my shirts are attractive to the younger segment, especially because they are light-hearted and colorful. But the overall market for shirts in my segment has become very competitive and I fear if the economy does not improve it will stay that way leaving many style-conscious young people waiting for the moment when they can finally spend a little more for a fine shirt.
AG – How many countries have your shirts arrived?
IJ – That is a hard question to answer precisely. I can only say that people wear my shirts on every continent.
AG – Seeing your instagram I see that you dedicate yourself to the making of shirts. How would you summarize the evolution of this garment? What other type of clothing do you make?
IJ – Well, I offer shirts, blouses, and occasionally neckwear. Sometimes I am inspired to produce some assessory or clothing item to complement my selection. I prefer to concentrate on what I understand best. One thing I did do however was to commission Shirt Shampoo. The traveler for pleasure as for business often enough have to ask, what to do with the soy sauce or curry that splattered on my freshly pressed shirt. So I developed a liquid soap which is really ideal for handwashing underway. I admit it was more a marketing at first– but the fact is I have clients who tell me how often it saved them when there was hotel laundry or no time to send the shirt out for cleaning.
AG – Also in your instagram I have seen that you have met representatives of other brands, how is the feedback with them?
IJ – I have a friendly relationship with colleagues all over the world in my market. We have our own preferences and everyone has to sell their own wares. We take each other’s products seriously. I think it is fair to say that the shirts I offer command respect
AG – Men’s fashion has its essence in Italy. Is German fashion very influenced by the patterns imposed by the Italians in menswear or leave their mark on this very competitive sector?
IJ – Well Italy recreated its textile heritage after the Second World War. Germany depended on that since it had only made uniforms for most of that period. The Italians inspired Boss to reorient its production to clothing less martial. I think it is safe to say that Germans have their own form of fashion consciousness, but they still are heavily influenced by the triangle Italy – Britain – USA.
AG – Why make shirts with italians? What differences are there with a German shirtmaker?
IJ – I make shirts with Italians because they have the tradition and the people who know and understand the craft for generations. Germans make great cars and they are amazing engineers.
AG – Pitti Uomo is the most important men’s fashion event. What has left you every event in which you participated?
IJ – I have to say that style for me has always been a very personal matter. When I am in Florence I meet other people who share this passion for style, even if it may be different from my own. I always see something new and share perspectives and developments with those other “stylists”. But probably what I feel most after each season is the pleasure of meeting again someone, whether at the Pitti or in Gilli, who shares my passion and who I haven’t seen for a long time. Refreshment with friends is what I always take with me when I return home.
With everything said in this great article, you just have to invite them to visit his page where you can learn more about his shirts and his creator Ignatious Joseph.
Fotos por Orion Dahlmann