We have interviewed Angelo Inglese of the famous tailor’s shop G. Inglese, which is greatly appreciated for the care and passion of its production.
What is your story? How did you start your activity?
My father and his brothers established this workshop in Ginosa ("the land of ravines", just a few kilometres from Matera) in 1955. My grandmother sewed the shirts. When I took over, nearly fifteen years ago, my purpose was to make our traditional handcrafted products known and appreciated by an international clientele. We were not interested in focusing our business only on sales and revenues, nor did we want to transform it into an industrial activity. On the contrary, we wanted to create a product that was made exclusively on traditional sewing machines, and finished and embroidered by hand. There is a famous anecdote about our former Prime Minister - a regular client of ours – who once wore a very tasteless shirt, which had been ascribed to me. First the Japanese press, followed by the British, American and Italian press, pointed the finger at me. I stood up in my defence and, unwittingly and paradoxically, my shirts obtained a greater visibility. Many customers from all over the world started visiting us, to discover and appreciate our art in the making of shirts.
Normally, students approach this world dreaming of becoming fashion designers. This is a cultural issue: fashion is usually associated with a “catwalk”, while what we really need is a greater number of excellent tailors.
When I took over, nearly fifteen years ago, my purpose was to make our traditional handcrafted products known and appreciated by an international clientele.
You said that you took over the Sartoria G. Inglese as a mission. Could you explain in what way?
Our mission is to protect the cultural heritage linked to crafts like tailoring, weaving, embroidery and crochet, which are unfortunately considered minor trades, while in actual fact they are essential to the creation of unique garments.
Which kinds of clients order your clothes?
First of all, our clients appreciate tasteful clothing and look for beauty and details. They value excellence and they wish to enrich themselves also from a cultural point of view. They are not interested just in buying custom-made garments, they enjoy spending time with us in Ginosa, experiencing the magic atmosphere of a tailoring ritual that is performed in perfect harmony with the beauty of this land.
Are your garments more appreciated in Italy or abroad?
They are mostly appreciated abroad, especially in countries where history, tradition and craftsmanship are values that create emotions, making excellence more desirable than luxury.
How can you harmonise your craft with the new trends and needs of the market?
Our offer reflects that of a traditional tailor’s shops in constant evolution. Our style is classical yet revisited and contemporary. We also have two ready-to-wear collections that we supply to very few qualified dealers across the world.
Do you think that young people could find this an interesting activity to undertake?
Normally, students approach this world dreaming of becoming fashion designers. This is a cultural issue: fashion is usually associated with a “catwalk”, while what we really need is a greater number of excellent tailors. It is such a joy to me when eager young people can “breathe the workshop air”, as they did in our atelier a long time ago. An atelier is a magic place that offers a true learning experience, where art and technique give life to a professional figure that masters a rare craft. A rare craft that not only grants a professional career, but also increases the value of quality “Made-in-Italy” products.
What are the critical areas in your sector? And what are the opportunities?
Bureaucracy and the institutions penalise small enterprises, instead of supporting them. But the prospects for the future are potentially very positive. Southern Italy is attracting an international public that, thanks to nearby Matera - the European Capital of Culture in 2019 - is already a favourite destination for a great number of tourists. We hope to share with Matera the project that so far we have not been able to develop in Ginosa: encouraging and enhancing what we call “sartorial tourism”.