OUR 125-YEAR HERITAGE Where Craftsmanship Meets Innovation
The story of Sferra is not just a history of fine linen-making, but one of family, of determination, and of the American Dream. From the storied journeys of our founder to the first-of-its-kind reimagining of linen itself, Sferra has woven its own place in history.
The company was founded in 1891 Italy, when Gennaro Sferra first set foot on a cross-Atlantic steamer that would carry him to America. Aspiration led him to join the waves of immigrants seeking a new life, but it was a family history of craftsmanship that enabled him to sell the exquisite, meticulously handmade lace that would become his future. Initiating the business with his two brothers, the company was formed as Sferra Brothers Limited.
Capturing the fashion of the day, he sold the delicate bobbin lace his mother made in his native Isernia—along with exquisite Venetian lace collars and cuffs—to society’s tastemakers as they vacationed at seaside resorts up and down the East Coast. It sowed the seeds of the business, but more importantly, established Sferra’s reputation for offering only the finest and most exclusive fine linens.
Over the next decades, Sferra thrived, thanks to Gennaro’s visionary thinking. He had the vision to establish his own lace-making factory and school, ensuring a consistent supply of the finest lace. He had the foresight, in the early 1930s, to evolve his focus to table linens as fashion tastes began to change. And looking to the future, he instilled in both his sons Enrico and Albert a mastery of the textile craftsmanship, technical know-how, and a taste for exploration.
Carrying the Visionary Torch
The insight and foresight shared by Gennaro’s sons, Enrico and Albert, helped redefine standards for the entire linen industry, and made the Sferra Brothers name synonymous with luxury. After Enrico became the first to import double-damask linens from Ireland—among the finest in the world—he was granted an introduction to Princess (later Queen) Elizabeth. It was a significant shift for the fine linens industry in both countries, and just one of the many milestones that established Sferra’s place in history.
Albert, in turn, envisioned the potential in long-staple cotton to create a quantifiably softer, smoother percale bed linen—known as C71 and woven in Belgium, it started a revolution in bedding that would change sleep forever. And when Albert Sferra sold the Sferra Brothers business to Paul Hooker and his brother-in-law, George Matouk in 1977, a gentlemanly sense of obligation and a reverence for craft pledged the new owners to carry on the Sferra legacy of innovation.
That promise has driven decades of development since. A natural pioneering instinct—along with intensive study into the technology and craft of textile fabrication and construction techniques—propelled Hooker to conceive of ever-more-luxurious advancements, prized enough to become the in-flight bedding for Pope John Paul II, the table linen of state dinners in the Reagan White House, and the staple bedding in celebrity linen closets around the globe. In 1996, Paul introduced an Italian-made version of Albert’s long-staple cotton percale with Celeste; the company is proud to celebrate it as its #1 best-seller for each of the past 20 years. In 2001, after two years of development and refinement, SFERRA introduce the first-ever 1,020-thread-count linens, which were heralded for having “turned the linen industry on its head,” and set the stage for the evolution to something more sophisticated, even, than thread count could quantify. In 2008, the company debuted a world-exclusive Egyptian cotton bedding with its suite of SFERRA Giza 45 collections, woven from a special genus of extra-long-staple cotton fibers and revered as the rarest of all fine cottons, and known as the ‘Queen of Egyptian Cotton’. The percales, sateens, and jacquards woven from this fiber have taken up residence in the company’s pantheon of best-sellers, developing a devoted and loyal fan base of fine linen connoisseurs throughout the world.
A watershed moment for Sferra: the fated crossing of the ocean liner Andrea Doria in 1956. While fate claimed the liner—and the trunks of fine linen it carried—Enrico survived to carry on the company legacy.
A New Century of Luxury
From the beginning, Sferra’s linens were not merely crafted, but dreamt, owing as much to imagination and inspiration as to the looms and hands that wove and embroidered them.
In 2004, the company evolved the brand name to the singular and more easily recognizable, SFERRA. And under new leadership in the 21st century, SFERRA melds the technology of the times with that tradition of inspiration—on the one hand introducing an award-winning iPhone and iPad app; on the other, bringing Brahms Mount into the fold, a rustic Maine textile mill weaving on vintage shuttle looms. From a humble Italian immigrant pursuing the American Dream to the new Made-in-America dream, SFERRA will always live at the forefront of craftsmanship and luxury.