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Shirtmakers in Napoli

S K M

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Gentlemen,

I'm in the market for a new shirtmaker, and since I have some other tailoring arrangements in Napoli it would be great to add a shirtmaker to the group so I can have most of my wardrobe taken care of in one trip. And as I have only found some sporadic advice on shirtmaker in Napoli, I thought it would be great to gather people's experience in one thread.

I'm planning to go to Napoli this spring and stay for something like five days which should make it possible to perfect my shirt pattern and preferred collars, so I can then order subsequent shirts via email (hence some level of english from the tailor is needed). Price wise I'm hoping to find something not too much north of 200 euro pr. shirt. I do like some handwork (buttonholes, hand attached buttons) but at the same time I prefer to machine wash the shirts myself, so too much hand work is probably not advisable (and I guess not feasible within my budget after all). An important thing for me, however, is that collar and cuffs are non-fused, which I guess might limit my options slightly.

So, any recommendations from you guys? They don't necessarily need to follow my preferences as I guess other members with different preferences would appreciate to hear about some first hands experience :)

Personally I'm considering Luca Avitabile, who I have read good things about, and I guess has a business set up for international clients. Moreover, he assured me that he can do non-fused collars, though his standard is fused. If anyone has first hands experience to share it would be highly appreciated :)

Hoping this can be a useful threat for the members as well!

Cheers,
SKM
 

Fanthom

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Good idea for a thread. Let me contribute with my very limited experiences.

I used Francesco Merolla, several years ago. If my memory doesn't fail me that was when he was together with Gabriella de l'Ero. I followed Gabriella to Satriano Cincque, this was in the beginning when Luca was there.

Both experiences were good. Fit and construction were very good in both cases. Merolla was a bit more slim fit by default. My main challenge, however, is to find a perfect collar for me. I have a long neck and I need a high collar that works both with and without a tie. SC was a bit better for me than Merolla in this regard, but I am still chasing that elusive perfect collar.
 

dfoverdx

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I would avoid Luca, the guy is very nice but his shirts have no special point. From construction, handwork side there's nothing special and you can find easily better work. From fit side, nothing special as well, i requsted some changes like some more freedom underarms, sleeve length etc. but finally i got what he's doing by definition so overall nothing special from fit as well. Overall very mainstream shirts.
If your price point of EUR 200 includes fabric as well then he can be an option but you will be having some mainstream fabric with mainstream making, no joy to go bespoke at the end of the day.
 

WillingToLearn

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Mina at NsM does some nice shirts - obviously NsM outsources to someone else there in Napoli, but the quality is excellent and it is true bespoke in the sense that the collar was customized, not just a choice out of X number of pre-set collar styles (adjustments made to size and shape after an initial "rag" fitting - I don't remember the word for a shirt fitting on a disposable fabric). Price point in the U.S. is higher like $350, but that might not be the case in Napoli, i don't know. The poplin fabric I got from her is excellent. English is not an issue although email responsiveness is not great.
 

S K M

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Good idea for a thread. Let me contribute with my very limited experiences.

I used Francesco Merolla, several years ago. If my memory doesn't fail me that was when he was together with Gabriella de l'Ero. I followed Gabriella to Satriano Cincque, this was in the beginning when Luca was there.

Both experiences were good. Fit and construction were very good in both cases. Merolla was a bit more slim fit by default. My main challenge, however, is to find a perfect collar for me. I have a long neck and I need a high collar that works both with and without a tie. SC was a bit better for me than Merolla in this regard, but I am still chasing that elusive perfect collar.

Thanks for your input! How much handwork did they put in, was it fused or non-fused collars, and what price point if I may ask? I am definitely with you on the need to accommodate a tall neck (which was one of the reasons I contemplated Luca, as I have read his collars should be good).

I would avoid Luca, the guy is very nice but his shirts have no special point. From construction, handwork side there's nothing special and you can find easily better work. From fit side, nothing special as well, i requsted some changes like some more freedom underarms, sleeve length etc. but finally i got what he's doing by definition so overall nothing special from fit as well. Overall very mainstream shirts.
If your price point of EUR 200 includes fabric as well then he can be an option but you will be having some mainstream fabric with mainstream making, no joy to go bespoke at the end of the day.

Thanks for your input, good to know. How much hand work did he put in? Would also be very eager to know if you would recommend other shirtmakers that you consider a better bang for the buck, or at least more accommodating in terms of fit. Thanks in advance :)

Mina at NsM does some nice shirts - obviously NsM outsources to someone else there in Napoli, but the quality is excellent and it is true bespoke in the sense that the collar was customized, not just a choice out of X number of pre-set collar styles (adjustments made to size and shape after an initial "rag" fitting - I don't remember the word for a shirt fitting on a disposable fabric).  Price point in the U.S. is higher  like $350, but that might not be the case in Napoli, i don't know.  The poplin fabric I got from her is excellent.  English is not an issue although email responsiveness is not great.

My issue with NSM is just that they don't do anything in house, and that it is therefore hard to squeeze in fittings when visiting. I tried contacting them once regarding pants, and although I stayed for four days they couldn't even squeeze in one single fitting because I was staying over the weekend :uhoh:
 

dfoverdx

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Thanks for your input! How much handwork did they put in, was it fused or non-fused collars, and what price point if I may ask? I am definitely with you on the need to accommodate a tall neck (which was one of the reasons I contemplated Luca, as I have read his collars should be good).
Thanks for your input, good to know. How much hand work did he put in? Would also be very eager to know if you would recommend other shirtmakers that you consider a better bang for the buck, or at least more accommodating in terms of fit. Thanks in advance

My issue with NSM is just that they don't do anything in house, and that it is therefore hard to squeeze in fittings when visiting. I tried contacting them once regarding pants, and although I stayed for four days they couldn't even squeeze in one single fitting because I was staying over the weekend
Luca makes buttons and buttonholes, as well as shoulder and armholes. It's considered basic/normal in handwork. My shirts are fully handwork, A to Z, collar, sides, bottom edge etc. etc. But i keep the name secret :) Anyway the price is higher than your budget as i paid around EUR 330 including Carlo Riva fabric and shipping (which i consider a fair price)

Anna Matuozzo is making nice shirts as well but if you ask her to make a fully handmade shirt with a Carlo Riva fabric, i think she will ask around 500-600 EUR ! She was asking 5 years ago EUR 400 for basic handwork. I would avoid her for price reasons...but she's making a nice fit.

Francesco Merolla is a good option, quite good fit and they made a fully handwork with just EUR 20 plus...I remember that i paid EUR 270 for a Carlo Riva 5 years ago.

Luca is not making everything in house as well. He's cutting the fabric and sending it to ladies for sewing and finishing etc.
 

S K M

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Luca makes buttons and buttonholes, as well as shoulder and armholes. It's considered basic/normal in handwork. My shirts are fully handwork, A to Z, collar, sides, bottom edge etc. etc. But i keep the name secret :) Anyway the price is higher than your budget as i paid around EUR 330 including Carlo Riva fabric and shipping (which i consider a fair price)

Anna Matuozzo is making nice shirts as well but if you ask her to make a fully handmade shirt with a Carlo Riva fabric, i think she will ask around 500-600 EUR ! She was asking 5 years ago EUR 400 for basic handwork. I would avoid her for price reasons...but she's making a nice fit.

Francesco Merolla is a good option, quite good fit and they made a fully handwork with just EUR 20 plus...I remember that i paid EUR 270 for a Carlo Riva 5 years ago.

Luca is not making everything in house as well. He's cutting the fabric and sending it to ladies for sewing and finishing etc.

Great info, thanks! I think the amount of hand work that Luca offers is actually exactly the level I'm looking for. I appreciate a lot of handwork in suits, but given the limited life span for a shirt I must admit to being a bit cheap. I don't mind too much of the sewing is not done in house as long as the cutting is. What I'm after is of course a great fit as well as consistency in production, and if the sales person doesn't have his/her own hands in the production I fear it will be harder for them to get right, which is why I'm hesitant to give NSM a try for shirts. But it might just be me of course.

The price of 330 for full hand work definitely sounds fair, quite close to d'Avino. Kindly excuse my noob question, but does a fully hand sewn shirt allow for machine wash?
 

dfoverdx

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Great info, thanks! I think the amount of hand work that Luca offers is actually exactly the level I'm looking for. I appreciate a lot of handwork in suits, but given the limited life span for a shirt I must admit to being a bit cheap. I don't mind too much of the sewing is not done in house as long as the cutting is. What I'm after is of course a great fit as well as consistency in production, and if the sales person doesn't have his/her own hands in the production I fear it will be harder for them to get right, which is why I'm hesitant to give NSM a try for shirts. But it might just be me of course.

The price of 330 for full hand work definitely sounds fair, quite close to d'Avino. Kindly excuse my noob question, but does a fully hand sewn shirt allow for machine wash?
Yes of course you can wash them in machine, there's absolutely no issue with this. Use gentle cycle and dry them on a hanger. Especially for linen it's important to press when it's still humid otherwise use spray to humidify. It's good to make this for cotton as well.
 

S K M

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Yes of course you can wash them in machine, there's absolutely no issue with this. Use gentle cycle and dry them on a hanger. Especially for linen it's important to press when it's still humid otherwise use spray to humidify. It's good to make this for cotton as well.

Definitely with you there! But good to know about machine wash, if I should choose to splurge on a couple of shirts from d'Avino :)
 

WillingToLearn

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Mina at NsM does some nice shirts - obviously NsM outsources to someone else there in Napoli, but the quality is excellent and it is true bespoke in the sense that the collar was customized, not just a choice out of X number of pre-set collar styles (adjustments made to size and shape after an initial "rag" fitting - I don't remember the word for a shirt fitting on a disposable fabric). Price point in the U.S. is higher like $350, but that might not be the case in Napoli, i don't know. The poplin fabric I got from her is excellent. English is not an issue although email responsiveness is not great.
My issue with NSM is just that they don't do anything in house, and that it is therefore hard to squeeze in fittings when visiting. I tried contacting them once regarding pants, and although I stayed for four days they couldn't even squeeze in one single fitting because I was staying over the weekend

Yeah, that is kinda bad, but not entirely surprised to hear it. I think Dino and Mina have a good lifestyle with no dependents and i suspect work only as much as they have to.

It's interesting to me the interworkings of the Napoli sceen - the word is out most houses don't do much themselves, except maybe parts or all of jackets. Trousers get farmed out by almost everyone, and in that case, the names of the trouser makers eventually get out (ambrosi, cerrato) and one can just go direct and eliminate the middle man if you are there locally. It seems that there are less options for shirts / the names are more guarded / just behind in the evolution of information getting out, or some combination thereof.
 

aristoi bcn

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This weekend I was in Napoli and I ordered a shirt from Francesco Merolla himself. The fitting was done adjusting a trial shirt because no muslin shirt could be done in one day. My first option was Luciano Lombardi by recommendation of @marcodalondra but his workshop is not in the city and they are closed at the weekend.

Anyway, I will pick up my shirt from Merolla next month and I will let you know. Price was around 150€ with 8 hand passages and a standard fabric. Carlo Riva was 250€. Hopefully I understood properly because my italian is not the best, so take my words cautiously. We'll see if the fit is good (I hope so because the trial shirt was already good in fit not showing those common wrinkles around the chest in those who have sloped shoulders) and decent handwork. I don't expect the level of Kiton but something up to Piccolo. The shop is very centric in Via Calabritto, not far from Formosa, Rubinacci or Cappelli, in a courtyard.

Luca Avitabile was abroad and therefore not a possibility.

Other options not mentioned yet in the thread are Vittoria Fluido, Salvatore Piccolo one and two (there are two that make bespoke shirts and are not related afaik, the cloth merchant and the other who runs the RTW brand), Luisa d'Ambrosio, Ciriello (not in the city)...and there are some other shops offering true bespoke around the city. I have RTW shirts from both Piccolos, both with 8 hand steps (done quite well, except some finish in a couple of the second Piccolo's shirts that are so so).

I'm sure all the mentioned above can do bespoke quite successfully for around 150/180€ (fair price for both parties if you account that once you nail the fit there are much more shirts to come) if you request talking to the cutter, because the sewing work is done by someone else no matter the maker (with the exception of Matuozzo maybe, who is famous for its top finishing).
 

circumspice

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The Salvatore Piccolo boutique does bespoke in their shop, as well as RTW. There was a bit of a language barrier, but I got the impression there is no MTM there. If I had more time when I was there in May, I would have tried their bespoke. I like their RTW a lot, but the buys in the US seem to skew towards casual
 

dng992

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I would avoid Luca, the guy is very nice but his shirts have no special point. From construction, handwork side there's nothing special and you can find easily better work. From fit side, nothing special as well, i requsted some changes like some more freedom underarms, sleeve length etc. but finally i got what he's doing by definition so overall nothing special from fit as well. Overall very mainstream shirts.
If your price point of EUR 200 includes fabric as well then he can be an option but you will be having some mainstream fabric with mainstream making, no joy to go bespoke at the end of the day.
I've recently moved on to luca from an english shirtmaker(who outsourced to italy).

The process is quite sleek as obv he is use to intl customers however its a bit chaotic (order details/specifics messed up)

Whats the benefit of carlo riva fabric over say sictess (which I was told was alreadya step above thomas mason e.t.c). Surely youre picking at miniscule details. Quality fabric is quality fabric at the end of the day?

Anyone care to explain the pro con of fused v unfused collar. I didnt check that with my Luca shirts. I feel the process with him is if you dont personally request for something you just get the average
 

S K M

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This weekend I was in Napoli and I ordered a shirt from Francesco Merolla himself. The fitting was done adjusting a trial shirt because no muslin shirt could be done in one day. My first option was Luciano Lombardi by recommendation of @marcodalondra
 but his workshop is not in the city and they are closed at the weekend.

Anyway, I will pick up my shirt from Merolla next month and I will let you know. Price was around 150€ with 8 hand passages and a standard fabric. Carlo Riva was 250€. Hopefully I understood properly because my italian is not the best, so take my words cautiously. We'll see if the fit is good (I hope so because the trial shirt was already good in fit not showing those common wrinkles around the chest in those who have sloped shoulders) and decent handwork. I don't expect the level of Kiton but something up to Piccolo. The shop is very centric in Via Calabritto, not far from Formosa, Rubinacci or Cappelli, in a courtyard.

Luca Avitabile was abroad and therefore not a possibility.

Other options not mentioned yet in the thread are Vittoria Fluido, Salvatore Piccolo one and two (there are two that make bespoke shirts and are not related afaik, the cloth merchant and the other who runs the RTW brand), Luisa d'Ambrosio, Ciriello (not in the city)...and there are some other shops offering true bespoke around the city. I have RTW shirts from both Piccolos, both with 8 hand steps (done quite well, except some finish in a couple of the second Piccolo's shirts that are so so). 

I'm sure all the mentioned above can do bespoke quite successfully for around 150/180€ (fair price for both parties if you account that once you nail the fit there are much more shirts to come) if you request talking to the cutter, because the sewing work is done by someone else no matter the maker (with the exception of Matuozzo maybe, who is famous for its top finishing).

Great info, thanks! Very eager to see what has come out of your visit to Merolla. Do you have any photos from his workshop or of finished products? It seems like he doesn't have a webpage. And how was the process of ordering?

Thanks in advance!

SKM
 

S K M

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I've recently moved on to luca from an english shirtmaker(who outsourced to italy).


The process is quite sleek as obv he is use to intl customers however its a bit chaotic (order details/specifics  messed up)


Whats the benefit of carlo riva fabric over say sictess (which I was told was alreadya  step above thomas mason e.t.c). Surely youre picking at miniscule details. Quality fabric is quality fabric at the end of the day?


Anyone care to explain the pro con of fused v unfused collar. I didnt check that with my Luca shirts. I feel the process with him is if you dont personally request for something you just get the average

Did you visit in Italy or at one of his trunk shows?

When collars and cuffs are fused the interlining is glued to the fabric, whereas with a non-fused version it is free-floating (just like in a bespoke suit where the interlining/canvas is typically either horsehair or linen). Personally I strongly prefer the non-fused versions because it is much softer, though they are also more complicated to iron because the outer layer can fold over the interlining. I know Luca does fused by default, but can do non-fused if requested.

Cheers,
SKM
 

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