The heritage of Thomas Bradley
I literally bumped into him on a flea market on the Corso Garibaldi in Brindisi. Although I got a polite scusi from him, his slight accent gave him away.
"Well, my passsport says I'm Brittish, yes. My father was. But my mother is Italian. So I figure that makes me something in between."
We got talking over a glass of Primitivo di Manduria on the terrace of a small café near the Piazza Cairoli. "My name is Thomas Bradley." He said. "Delighted to make your acquaintance."
"My hometown, if I have to name one, is Cowley: small, unimportant and right in the heart of England. The main and only attraction Cowley has to offer is a big car factory. It's where they used to make the Morris Marina back in the seventies. Actually, my father helped designing the original Morris Marina."
Upon mentioning his father, I sensed a twitch in his otherwise enigmatic composure. Out of politeness, I told him a little about myself, but I was eager to learn more about my companion. A strong, dark beard served as a poor cloak, leaving a mirror to a wandering soul for me to see.
"On my 18th birthday I was given the opportunity to follow in my father's footsteps and take up a job in he factory. I respectfully rejected. I remember watching the news in a pub on a night out in Bristol. Amidst terrifying news from the Balkans, a report on the death of judge Giovanni Falcone in Italy triggered something in my sub consciousness. I knew I had to leave England. I longed to roam the land of my ancestors."
"My mother divided her time between the stove, tending to her men and mending the wardrobe of her friends on a vintage Singer sewing machine. With just my father's modest wage to make ends meet, it was clear there was no money for my plans for global conquest. While in Bristol, I strolled through the dock area. That's when my eye caught a vacancy notice of San Marco Transporti e Spedizioni."
"My mother stms from a hardworking family of Italian immigrants. They cam to Brittain back in between the World Wars to work in the Oxfordshire coalmines. The Morettis never complained about anything. They were happy to be accepted by this foreign country, far away from their beloved homeland. If anything, my mother taught me modesty, respect and the fine taste of hand made pasta."
"Working for an Italian shipping company, I didn't expect it would take me six months to actually set foor on Italian soil. But those six months at sea taught me many things. You could say I became a man on that boat. I learned the value of friendship an trust. But most of all, I learned how I prefer to have solid ground under my feet. It took me two hours, a decent meal and a handsome paycheck to give up my naval career. Though I was all alone in a strange country, it felt like I was finally coming home."
At this point I started wondering. Although his tale sounded like that of a vagabond, this role absolutely did not fit his apparel. Across the table of me sat a man who knew how to dress sharp. His leisure suit was impeccable. The fine cut and exquisite fabrics told me this was a tailor-made piece. I seriously doubted he picked this up at a seaside flea market. This man, this Thomas Bradley definitely seemed like an educated man to me.
"For a couple of months, I travelled across the Ligurian countryside. I helped small farmers, picking olives for nothing but a hot plate of trofie al pesto. I wandered through the streets of the Cinque Terre, learning the language by asking directions from locals. It were amazing times. But as much as I loved ITaly as my second home, I knew I couldn't stay forever. I missed my parents. I sensed they needed me. By the end of the year, I hitched a ride on a lorry heading for Dover."
"It took me a while to settle back in in Vrowley. But eventually I got to accept that both Italian and British blood runs through my veins. Whenever the town madness in Crowley got to me, I fled to the countryside. An uncle of mine ran a small farm just off the road to Little Milton. I spent hours learning to ride horseback from zio Luciano. I learned that the shadow of an English Elm tree can be equally relaxing as that of an Italian cypress tree. I had finally come to peace with my identity when an expected opportunity was offered to me."
"My father gave me the surprise of a lifetime. I realize now that his - and my mother's - main motivation must have been to keep me close to them. He had used his connections at the plant to pull some strings and all of a sudden I found myself at the gates of Oxford University with a scholarship in my pocket. Although my parents would have preferred me taking up a more scientific curriculum, they settled with my first and only choice, philosophy. Imagine that, just months after working as a mate on a freight ship, I was now officially an Oxonian."
"The scholarship I got through my dad's job at the factory paid for the tuition. But my parents still had to work hard to make ends meet. I still remember how, on the eve of my first dat at Oxford University, my mother went beyond herself to sew me a decent suit. And what a suit it turned out to be! Imagine me stepping into the auditorium... Mumbling coming to a sudden halt... Heads turning... I felt like Cinderella walking into the Ascot Racecourse for the Royal Ascot. Nobody knew me, I knew none, but every one admired my apparel."
The history of thomas Bradley dates back to 1955 when the founder of the company started a small workshop for shirts in Belgium. Since the start of the production quality has always been the driving force of the brand. Making a shirt that offers the highest satisfaction level to the customer is settled deep in the DNA of the company. For that reason we have become Belgium’s premium shirt brand.
For that reason Thomas Bradley only uses the best available fabrics on the market. Our design team sources the finest fabrics from the most renown Italian weaver such as Tessitura Monti, Cotonificio Albini, Canclini Tessile.