Interview of G. Inglese: Prince William’s Shirts Made in Ginosa.
A FONDAZIONE COLOGNI INTERVIEW
We have interviewed G. Inglese, a famous shirt maker, greatly appreciated for his care and passion for realising bespoke tailored clothing.
1. What is your story? How did you start your activity?
Our activity started in 1955, in Ginosa, « the land of Gravine », a few kilometres from Matera¸ with an atelier founded by my father with his brothers and my grandmother, a shirt manufacturer. When I took over, nearly fifteen years ago, my only purpose was to make our traditional hand-crafted products known and appreciated by an international clientele. We did not aim at establishing an industrial management devoted to sales and revenue, or an ordinary warehouse with industrial machinery. Conversely, we wanted to create a product based on traditional sewing machines or thread and needles for finishing and embroidery work. There is a famous anecdote about our former Prime Minister – a regular client of ours – who, on one occasion, wore a very tasteless folklore shirt, which had been ascribed to me. The Japanese press, followed by the British, American and Italian press, attacked me. I stood up in my defence and, unwittingly and paradoxically, I gained greater visibility for my shirts. We started being visited by many customers from all over the world, coming and browsing around our atelier to enjoy our shirt-making art.
2. You are talking about the beginnings of Sartoria G. Inglese as a mission. Could you explain in what way?
G. Inglese’s mission is to protect cultural heritage linked to crafts like tailoring, weaving, embroidery and crochet, which are unfortunately considered as minor trades, while they are actually essential common denominators of unique garments.
3. What kind of clientele contacts you?
First of all, a male client who can appreciate tasteful clothing, a lover of beauty and details. A client who values excellence and cultural enrichment above anything else, and is not interested in merely buying custom-made garments, but also feels happy about spending time with us in Ginosa, experiencing the magic atmosphere of a tailoring ritual, and becoming an active spectator of an art in perfect harmony with the beauty of this land.
4. Are your garments more appreciated in Italy or abroad?
They are mostly appreciated abroad, especially in countries educated in the appreciation of history, tradition and craftsmanship, namely values that can create emotions and make excellence more desirable than luxury.
5.How can you combine an activity like yours with the new market trends and requirements?
Our offer is basically the same as in traditional tailor shops, featuring a constant evolution and a classical yet revisited and contemporary style, also expressed in two prêt-à–porter collections that we offer to very few qualified dealers across the world.
6.Do you think young people may feel attracted to and interested in engaging in this activity?
Any student approaching this world is generally dreaming about becoming a fashion designer. This is a cultural issue: fashion is usually seen as leading to “catwalk”, while what we really need is a greater number of excellent tailors. It is such a joy when we can help willing young people to “breathe the workshop air”, as they did in our atelier long time ago. An atelier is a magic place offering training for life, where art and technique give life to a professional figure able to confer special dignity to an almost rare trade. A trade not only granting a professional status, but also enhancing the Made in Italy excellence.
7.What are the critical issues in this area? And its prospects?
Bureaucracy and a system punishing small undertakings instead of supporting them: those are the real issues. Future prospects are overwhelmingly good, rich in contents potentially appealing to an international public of curious and connoisseurs interested in a Southern area which, thanks to the nearby Matera – the European Capital of Culture in 2019 – is already a favourite destination for a great number of tourists. A town with which we could share part of a project we have not been able to develop in Ginosa: encouraging and enhancing what we call “tailoring tourism”.