Carlo Andreacchio is a tailor of world renown and an authority on Italy’s tailoring tradition, which he celebrates in his refined and prestigious creations.

Together with his wife Rita Maria, Carlo Andreacchio manages the famous Sartoria A. Caraceni, which was founded by Agostino Caraceni in 1946, though the family tradition dates back to the 19th century. Agostino’s workshop was taken up by his son Mario, who ran it for 40 years. Among Mario’s thirty-odd tailors was Carlo Andreacchio, who married Mario’s daughter and inherited the business when he retired in 1998. Bespoke tailoring, careful selection of fabrics, dedication to customer relations and meticulous artisanal production: these are the elements that, from the beginning to the present day, have made the success of the tailor’s shop situated in via Fatebenefratelli in Milan.

How were you trained and what passion moves you?

I have always had a passion for clothes. I studied to become an accountant, like my parents wanted me to, but in my spare time I secretly went to a tailor’s shop, where I was taught to hold needle, thread and thimble. I had the good fortune of meeting my wife without knowing that she was the daughter of the great Caraceni, who was my model, my "idol". I was over twenty when I came into this tailor’s shop, but I had already been through the ranks. I worked as a labourer, an assistant pattern cutter and, for the past twenty years, I have owned the business together with my wife. I started from the very bottom of the ladder and I have worked hard, just as my son is doing now. This is the only way to learn the trade: it takes years of apprenticeship and a great deal of sacrifice and patience.

This work takes years of apprenticeship and a great deal of sacrifice and patience.

Do you teach your trade to young apprentices?

I would be very happy to pass on my trade to the new generations, but it is very difficult to find young people who are willing to learn. It proved a difficult task to replace some of my seamstresses when they retired, because nobody teaches this craft anymore and training is normally geared to the needs of mass production. Furthermore, since it takes a long time to train a skilled tailor, it’s a gamble I cannot afford these days.

How do young people approach this craft?

Eight years ago we started a training programme inside our atelier, hiring six young apprentices. They did not know how to work, but they were young and willing to learn. They were entrusted to one of our experienced tailors, who trained them for three years. Out of six, three remained and still work here.

What type of client orders your tailored suits?

We have the rare privilege of choosing our clientele. They are mainly businessmen, both Italian and foreign. We also work for very famous clients: Calvin Klein, Karl Lagerfeld, Eugenio Montale, for whom we made the tailcoat he wore when he was awarded the Nobel prize, or Gianfranco Ferré, who was one of our regular customers.

What challenges is this field facing?

First of all, it is hard to find qualified personnel. Maybe fashion schools have contributed to this situation: young people are not interested in working in the crafts and they do not get enough practice. Then, there is no support whatsoever from the Institutions, including, for example, tax relief. We started a project with the Region of Lombardy to create a school, but we soon ran out of funding. And then again, associations such as the Unione Milanesi Sarti and the Accademia Nazionale Sartori, of which I am a member, are not active enough in promoting initiatives to support this sector.

And what lies ahead?

As far as my atelier is concerned, I believe we will always be successful if we keep our standards high: the way we work, the choice of fabrics, the techniques we use and the way we treat our customers. These are the qualities that make a good tailor. Many tailor’s shops have gone out of business because they tried to imitate the look of fashion brands without having a style of their own. A tailor must create a perfectly made suit in accordance to the standards of the trade, not of fashion.