The sewing machines sit idle. Fabric remnants don’t litter the floor and the gossip around the Rancillo is non existent. It’s August in Italy and it seems the entire country is on holiday including the gents from our northern workshop. There is a lovely quiet to the place as we think back on this year’s work and look forward to cranking things up again in September. Still, it’s bittersweet for us for us as we must say our goodbyes after a perfect Italian summer. From the foppish spectacle of Pitti Uomo back in June to long days spent in the Venetian workshop followed by quiet family dinners with old friends, we have become accustomed to our life here. Lots of hugging at Malpensa and then the airport swallows us. Our little core group has splintered off once again to make their way to favorite islands in the south, to stunning spires in the Dolomites or to spend some well deserved down time at the family casa colonica. We leave clutching three bits of shirting material that we work through our fingers over and over on the return leg. This is exactly how we started the entire ridiculous idea of obsessively creating the best shirts in the world. Yes, there was a family history of shirt making but it had lain fallow for far too long. We just wanted to make shirts for ourselves and a few friends. We’ve said it a million times but we really don’t want to make shirts for that many people and want those that buy our goods to really appreciate and understand the provenance of each article. If you have a tag in the hem of your shirt with a hastily scrawled “Paola” then Paola made your shirt, just outside of Venice. Paola has a husband who races motorbikes on the weekends although she wishes he would have stopped by his 50th birthday. They have two children at home with one off at school studying to be an avocatto. These are real people with real lives who are incredibly proud of what they do for us. We want you to feel that same sense of pride as you unbox your Imperial Black shirt and push those lovely thick mother of pearl buttons through the holes for the first time. Perhaps it’s selfish of us to want to get back to this ideal but this summer had us doing much soul searching and we want to reign things in a bit. We started Imperial Black to have fun and to give “the lads” a forum for their decidedly less than normal experiences and travels. To have spectacular pieces made by true craftsmen and to share these objects with a select few. Those of you that get us really “get us” and we are incredibly grateful for that. Those that don’t…well. we aren’t too concerned about making you see the light. We will be embarking on a much more personal journey with our steadfast friends. We want your input in guiding what we make and will be doing so in ever smaller limited numbers. We know that we don’t make many shirts as it is and we do feel a bit off when a certain size is completely sold out. To remedy this we are now launching our first pre-order program. You’ve been warned. Don’t be left wanting. You wanted our popular Bianco shirt (which we think is the perfect shirt) in a French cuff. Here it is. We are making 28. The Marylebone is a blue herringbone (our first) that you have been going on about. We also found an incredible roll of purple material at the mill. It really is a perfect mid weight shirt for Autumn and the plum colour is stunning. How could we call it anything but Plummy? If you are a human and are seeing this field, please leave it blank. Follow the Journeys of the Orange Thread by having new content delivered straight to your inbox (free of charge, of course) by signing up below. email address: Yes, I also wish to receive exclusive offers and insider discounts from Imperial Black.