Originally Posted by David Reeves
Well after that claim which is rather impressive, I'd just be interested to know how you got into the business and where you trained.
First introduction to custom tailoring was my father. He was a fantastic tailor, trained in Greece. He was a master tailor/coatrmaker at age 18. Began working with him at age 17, Learned the ABC’s. He was doing mostly MTM and it wasn’t satisfying to me. Thru a contact I was introduced to Louis Scalise in NYC. Had a 3 day interview with him. He was a tailor/designer and was dean at FIT. Rather than accept me into a program at FIT, he hired me. He had 2 tailor shops in NYC ad he had me working one on one with another tailor/designer Frederich Blum. Scalise was pretty respected in tailoring and a very successful designer. He was the first American designer to have his name placed on the label with the brand name. He had a very exclusive clientele. Celebrities, politicians, sports figures. Blum had started two tailoring schools in Europe and before moving to NY was the designer/pattern maker for Angelo Litrico in Rome. Spent 2 years there, learned pattern making and how to put a jacket together. It was one of those “I don’t like the way you knotted the thread, rip it out and do it again” kind of apprenticeships. Learned to be meticulous there.
Met a tailor who had been a coatmaker for Caraceni in Milan. He was basically a one man shop and he hired me. Spent three years making suits with him. Many tailors start to take short cuts or compromise. He wouldn’t, and that’s why I wanted to work with him. Spent the most time at a sewing machine making the canvass. Almost anything that could be done by hand, we did by hand. This was my PHD work. Refined my skill set. From the beginning to this point in time was 9 years. It is 1981 and I started working on my own but started very slowly. When you are being trained you are shown what to do and have a lot of supervision. I wanted to “own’ my training experience and spent the next 5 years working from home. Made every jacket with my own hands for five years before hiring anyone else to work with. Hired a pantmaker after the first year. Now I have 4 coatmakers and a pantmaker. At present I do a little sewing on the clothes but nothing significant. Do all the patternmaking, fitting and prep every jacket for finishing. Everyone that works with me has a more impressive resume,they have all owned their own business at one time. The newest guy has been with me 15 years and 26 years for one of my coat makers. I am very fortunate with this staff.
To be clear, I didn’t work with Litrico but with a designer/patternmaker that worked 10 or 12 years for him. Here is an interesting link to who Angelo Litrico