We can state for sure that real tailors, meaning the ones that knows how to create a bespoke hand-knitted men suit like in the past, are almost vanished, or rather, they are still there but they are extinguishing, and the most part of them is existing just in high fashion circle.
The Italian artisan suit is synonymous with elegance and quality all over the world. The basis of the statement “Made in Italy” come actually from the tailor-made practice of fashion. Our tradition, the Italian handicraft, has very ancient roots.
The tailor as an ancient artisan, that in the very moment he cuts the fabric creates artworks, is like the architect or the engineer that built buildings or create an interior design. The difference is that the tailor builds garments and clothes like the blazer, the pants, the vest and other accessories.
Once, the tricks of the trade were the tradition, the knowledge to hand down, and this was usually happening through an apprenticeship, with the shop boy. Parents, especially in poor families, used to send their sons - children or teenagers - to serve apprenticeship in the workshops, just to keep them busy and don’t let them play all day long in the middle of the street.
Some of these children ended up to develop a passion for these arts, so much so to prefer them to games, becoming the trusted shop boys of their master artisans, the famous shop boys, the heirs of ancient knowledge and tradition, in this case, also of studios and tailor’s shop.
From the master, the apprentice started to learn how to thread the needle and the slow stitch. To thread the needle one must has been good at, because the thread wouldn’t be neither too long nor too short: too long it would have intertwine, too short would be finished too soon.
The boy who was serving apprenticeship, in the first years was just sewing slow stitch, so to learn to use the thimble an make experience with hand-knitting. Only after many years, he could start to really sew. Today is not easy to find tailors willing to teach the art of bespoke tailoring to young people, especially in men’s fashion, and also for this, in addition to the industrialization of manufacturing, this art runs the risk of extinction.
Today the artisan art of tailoring offers interesting perspectives, especially in men’s fashion: it’s a job with a future, a craft of knowledge, descended from the tradition of artisan masters; unfortunately, young people today don’t understand too much the opportunity of this wonderful craft, which is slowly vanishing like other ancient crafts.
We should keep in mind that in Italy exists an interesting market segment related to artisan tailoring jobs, and the knowledge can’t just be linked to personal unpreparedness, instead the tailor must learn the technique and the ancient skill, both theoretical and practical, by means of a training that should be obtained in a tailoring school, or at a tailor master, then to be improved by practice in the fieldwork.
Only by the learning of technical and manual competence, this craft can offer the opportunity to start a really valued and creative job.
Of the creation and secrets of a tailored suit we will talk in the next articles. Come back to visit us to discover the art of traditional Italian tailoring.