MAGAZINE May 11th, 2021

Angelo Inglese: the italian excellence famous all over the world

by Valeria Oppenheimer


In Terra delle Gravine, Gravina (South of Italy), there is a tailor - entrepreneur who has dressed princes, celebrities and international prime ministers. Angelo Inglese grew up in the atelier of his family and today exports Made in Italy beauty and tradition all over the world, with grace and elegance.

When and how did fashion enter your life?

Fashion has always been part of my life. My grandmother lost her husband at a young age, with 4 sons to take care of and working as shirt maker . In 1955, thanks to her stubbornness and the support of my uncles and my father, gave birth to our men's tailoring shop, where she sold fabrics too. I am comfortable saying, I grew up there. When I was twenty I lost my father and I decided to take over the business, It was the right thing to do and I am proud of it, it would have been irresponsible to close it.

You took over a traditional tailor's shop and transformed it into a real brand known worldwide. What were the ingredients of this success?

Tenacity, sacrifice and determination. I always knew what I wanted and never thought that I wouldn’t make it. I immediately understood the high potential of my product abroad (at that time the Italian market was moving towards streetwear) and in the early 2000s I decided to focus on Japan. I used to get in contact with buyers at night, sending videos and photos documenting my work, how garments were embroidered by hand in my tailor's shop (when the Internet era started, the line was very slow, so it was easier to work at night). My interlocutors immediately showed great interest and we arranged for a meeting during a fair in Italy. I was very knowledgeable about the product, but not about their models (they are anatomically different from us); Despite this, in a short time my shirts were showcased in the most important department stores in the country and worn by prominent men.

What is the DNA of your product and which garment represents it the best?

The main product, the one I have always been in love with, is the shirt in all its forms. To me, what makes it unique is that it is built in the old, traditional way, but still able to stay up to date and to follow contemporary international trends of the metropolitan scenario.

How long does it take to make one of your shirts?

Usually between twenty and thirty hours. Each shirt is individually cut by hand and sometimes sewn with old-style Singer pedal machines. They are soft in the seams and able to measure speed when inserting the sleeves "with closed chest", improving its uprightness. In addition, the neck, the buttonhole side, the armhole, the shoulder straps, the yoke are hand-stitched too. These delicate operations are performed by expert hands of tailors. Finally, the ironing is done by hand, then the shirt is folded and given a touch of "Acqua di Ginosa" eau de toilette.

Alongside your classic production, you have recently decided to create more modern and experimental lines. Can you tell us about the newness?

I enjoy creating things that are complementary to my world, I have built several collaborative relationships in food, interior design and bicycle sectors (with Piaggio). Since the pandemic period began, I have been dedicating more attention to the “Angelo Inglese” collection. Which is performing well, despite everything. It involves a market piece a little distant from my philosophy up to now. It has a cool, fashion identity, sometimes even a bit dandy. It is the result of continuous search for less conventional fabrics with unique and refined details, innovative washing and garment dyeing treatments on Japanese Kurabo jeans, chambray and jeans weaves.

Angelo Inglese is synonymous with Italian excellence. Your fame has grown all over the world but you have decided to stay in your land, you live and work in Ginosa. What is the philosophy behind this choice?

By staying in Ginosa I try to write the story of a great challenge to face day by day. I live in a land which is wonderful, bewitching and full of  history , but certainly very distant from the scenario of the fashion system. My goal is to create values, geographical distance cannot and must not be an obstacle. Moreover, it must become the key point for the future of fashion, in a market that is increasingly eager for Italian quality and manufacturing.

Some time ago you created a format that you called "tailoring tourism", what is it about?

I will use an anecdote to explain. The former Japanese premier, a regular client of mine, on one occasion wore a rather "folkloric" and tacky shirt. Many have attributed that "fashion disaster" to my brand, which had nothing to do with it. The international press has pointed fingers at me, forcing me to defend myself ... paradoxically, all that buzz has given my clothes incredible fame. Admirers, customers and onlookers from all over the world came to Ginosa. This is when the idea of ​​tailoring tourism came, combining hospitality and good food with the opportunity to visit the tailor's shop and learn about our manufacturing techniques.

Fashion is experiencing a difficult time, especially for those small companies that make Made in Italy great. What is your wish for the future?

I am fascinated by digital evolution, the thrill of living special experiences even from remote. Talking to passionate customers, just curious people and tourists has always been my prerogative. Perhaps the fact of having to do it through a screen is a bit disappointing, but even in these situations happiness must be found and transmitted, generating beauty, quality and history in harmony with the territory, but also with the entire planet. It is now time to change route and mentality, I would love to see the Government highly committed to this. To get out of the tunnel, Italy must aim at exporting top quality products, but producing them requires skilled hands. In other words, a lot of training.




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