Imperial Black

Christian Gregson of Imperial Black
Christian Gregson of Imperial Black

The guys behind Imperial Black have one goal – to make damn fine shirts. Mission accomplished. Inspired by their world travels, partners in the up-and-coming luxury brand Christian Gregson, Roger Shreero, and Mac Lackey are ready to take off.
In his former life Christian Gregson was an executive in the packaging industry. He spent most of his days on a plane or at a conference table in some far away place. His travels took him around the globe – Asia, Africa, and South America just to name a few – and his experiences are many. On these trips, once the business was finalized, Gregson made it a priority to take some personal time to experience the many offerings of his destinations. While on a trip to Italy, he set out in search for the perfect shirt.

You see, fine tailored shirts are in his pedigree. According to Gregson, “Both of my parents are British and I just got used to having nice tailored clothing. My Grandad was the type of guy that would mow the lawn in a cardigan and a tie. It’s the way I was brought up – you don’t need a million things, you just need a couple of nice things. I’ve always gone through life with that in my head.” Although Gregson has been in America since 1982, he still holds his green card.  He doesn’t even know why and considers it crazy but a hunch says it’s because he doesn’t want to lose touch with his heritage –  and who would?

Back in Italy, Gregson stumbled upon a true gem, a family of shirtmakers who had been handcrafting for over six generations. Their shirts, with over 200 years of precision and technique stitched into every detail, were different than any he had ever worn. “Its’ all they care about doing and they are proud as hell of it. You want to do business with those kind of people,” said Gregson. Previously partial to English cut, this Italian style of tailoring, fabric, and overall quality made him a believer. On every return trip to Italy he made it a priority to purchase a new shirt from the family. Eventually, after receiving compliments on the shirts from friends and colleagues, as well as inquiries on where they could buy them, Gregson started to ask, “I’m getting ready to order some shirts…who wants one?’ So, we started growing that way and then we got some interest from some investors that thought we had a great product, had a great story, and the rest is history.”

Roger Shreero, an investment banker and sartorial traveler, was one of Gregson’s friends who kept asking about the shirts. The two began to work together on Imperial Black and with the help of Mac Lackey, a successful entrepreneur and founder of Charlotte’s own Mountain Khaki, officially launched the brand last fall. In just six short months, Imperial Black has seen steady growth by selling high quality Italian made shirts to style dilettantes across the country. Their success stems from two important pillars: stories of travel and quality of construction.

Imperial Black’s collections are based on the travels of Gregson, Shreero, and Lackey. The gauchos in Argentina, the rolling hills of Great Britain as seen from the window seat while landing at Heathrow, the eucalyptus and salt air of the headlands around Big Sur, and the Fincas of Spain and Portugal are just some of their journeys that embolden their designs. The travel theme is pervasive throughout their brand. When one goes to order a particular style on their website, he will find, along with the description and specs of the shirt, travel tips to the places where the inspiration was born. Each of their shirts are short runs – limited editions so to speak – and once they run out they are forever retired. This aspect is very popular with the brand’s devotees, allowing them to have exclusivity with both the style and story behind the garment.

Inspired by and striving to match the impeccable quality of renowned brands like Kiton and Brunello Cucinelli, Imperial Black’s shirts are some of the finest you will find, handmade by the most skilled in their craft. The group of Gregson, Shreero, and Lackey is constantly perfecting the fit, the materials, and the design and once you try one on for yourself you’ll be hooked. Gregson does want to remind customers however, that although these shirts aren’t inexpensive, they are made to be worn. “My grandmother was the kind of woman that if you were at her house for breakfast she would serve you bacon and eggs with her good china, crystal and silver. She thought it was ridiculous to put them away and only use them for special occasions. That’s how we view our shirts. We have beautiful shirts and they are so damn well made. Don’t be too precious with them. You can use them. Wear them with a pair of jeans, wear them with a suit, cram them into your travel bag. Just use them. Just wear them.”

For more information on the brand or to purchase your first fine Imperial Black shirt or accessory visit them online at www.imperialblack.com.