Master Tailor Joe Centofanti — In Memoriam

In the wake of the Thanksgiving holiday, I feel incredibly thankful to have known the great master tailor Joseph Centofanti, who died recently at the age of 93. I started filming Joe for MEN OF THE CLOTH in 2004.

Joe was a past president of the Custom Tailors and Designers Association of America where he received numerous design awards over the last 60 years. In 1997 Joe was named the International Master Tailor of the year at the Congreso Mundial de Maestros Sastres (the World Congress of Master Tailors) in Valencia, Spain. He was named one of the Top 10 Custom Tailors in the USA by the magazine Robb Report.

May he rest in peace.

 

A Revival in Custom Tailoring

My pile of clippings unearthed yet another encouraging article in The Wall Street Journal that custom-made clothes are making a big comeback in Europe. Oddly enough, it was under a heading title “corporate news.”

Correspondent Nathania Zevi reported from Rome last February, quoting Rome-based tailor Luigi Gallo, who said “People have come to realize that the expensive designer suit they are used to buying is made to fit a thousand other people. In addition, they’re paying a huge price for that logo sewed into the jacket.” Gallo has been swamped with business, and this is something I hear anecdotally from other tailors that I’m acquainted with.

The Henry Poole shop (above) is located on Savile Row (photo from The Wall Street Journal)

London’s Savile Row has also seen a “steady increase in business.” Mark Henderson, founder and chairman of Savile Row Bespoke, a group of 14 companies formed to protect and promote the art of hand-crafted tailoring on Savile Row, said that orders increased 10% in 2010 over the previous year.

And here’s the kicker: Henderson is convinced the recession has made people question the true value of things. “People have started to look for real quality,” he said.

Amen to that!


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