Easily identifiable thanks to his signature red shoes, omnipresent headwear and dapper floral boutonnière, Ignatious Joseph is one of the great characters of the European menswear industry.
Purveying handsome Italian-made, soft-collared shirts — the core of his business — for more than 15 years, and recently expanding into suiting and gentlemen’s accessories, the Dusseldorf-based entrepreneur began his career in hospitality, working at high-end properties across Europe. This experience, Joseph says, bred in him a distinctly service-oriented approach, a dedication to ensuring customers’ comfort and satisfaction.
His upbringing in the former British colony of Sri Lanka, meanwhile, instilled a respect for the English knack of maintaining sartorial propriety even while faced with a blazing tropical climate and physical exertions. Joseph cites as a prime example the long, hot, yet crisply-attired game of cricket — a sport he played enthusiastically at school and, like most of his countrymen, continues to follow passionately.
Inspired by this sense of smart practicality, IGN. JOSEPH’s garments are designed and crafted to provide — regardless of the environs — a sense of “effortless elegance”. This is how Ignatious Joseph himself achieves that very state of being.
10. “Style is like a sacrament, the outward sign of an inward and spiritual grace. There is no style without a soul. Aside from temporarily soothing the mourners it makes little sense to dress the dead.”
9. “My father taught me that anyone can buy mere fashion. It takes sincerity and integrity to create real style.”
8. “At least in my case, my shoes speak for themselves.”
7. “A watch is a timepiece — that is to say, it should tell time. Although I appreciate the watchmaker’s craft, as I do the skills of other artisans, I find it absurd when I see people wearing imperious timepieces but then checking the time on their cellphones.”
6. “Icons have a religious tradition. Although I have said ‘style is like a sacrament,’ I do not want to imply that it should be worshipped — especially vicariously in the adoration of other people’s clothes.”
5. “In fact I respect many people because they are not famous. They just live and work sincerely without fanfare. Style is ultimately a human quality and I prefer it to be as natural and sociable as greeting people on the street in the morning or sharing a meal at a long table in a communal dining establishment.”
4. “Whenever I travel I take a bottle of my Shirt Shampoo. I like to be self-sufficient when I am under way. Good shoes are important and for a long trip, at least a second pair is highly recommended. Intelligent luggage is essential today since the ‘self-service’ (or better said, ‘no service’) culture has penetrated into even the more exclusive modes of transport. I am not nostalgic for the days when every transit point was full of baggage bearers working for a pittance. However, I find the stripping of trolleys and other carriage aids from airports and railway stations and the understaffing of hotels to be a genuine loss. When I took my motto ‘effortless elegance’ I chose it as an argument not for less service but for better service.”
3. “Leather goods, aside from shoes and some accessories, pose a problem for the traveller today. Only those with unlimited baggage allowances or who travel using only ground transportation can afford to carry more than the skimpiest leather bags. Even a proper briefcase is likely to exceed the ever-shrinking cabin baggage quota. Since I prefer to drive to my destinations I can continue to enjoy the full range of leather-goods that lend a natural touch to often otherwise artificial environments. Good leather products are increasingly difficult to find and hence tend to be costly. Still, I prefer a leather bag wherever possible — or canvas as the traditional lightweight alternative. In my J-Travel collection I have tried to combine the virtues of both.”
2. “Dressing for work or success: In the first place it is obvious that one should dress in a way suitable to the tasks or labour one has to perform. Dinner jackets are simply not very practical on an offshore oil rig. Models on the runway may be said to dress for success, but a gentleman does not dress to be successful. Rather, if he is successful then that might be expressed in his manner of dress.”
1. “Two quotes have impressed me in the course of my business: ‘You can make more money, but you cannot make more time.’ I don’t know who said it first but it fits with another from my father’s generation: ‘It’s easy to make money, if that is all you want to do.’ There is a nice corollary to those mottos: ‘The best way to save money, is to do nothing at all.’”
IGN. JOSEPH clothing and accessories are sold at select gentlemen’s outfitters across the globe. Visit the website for further information on the collections and retailers: ign-joseph.com