Parma, Italy–“Young people are rediscovering bespoke, along with suspenders and bowties. We shall see if it lasts,” said master tailor Franco Gigliotti of Aimi & Gigliotti in Parma.
More and more of his patrons are young professionals in their mid thirties — lawyers and bankers that work for international firms, all more than willing to take the daytrip to the Northern Italian city (famous for its eponymous prosciutto) for his bespoke suits.
“They find out about me through word of mouth,” Gigliotti said, adding that he is often surprised at how well the new generation of Italian gentlemen know exactly what they are looking for.
Gigliotti’s bespoke technique is the main attraction — meaning that patterns are made individually for the client, versus made-to-measure garments, for example, which are crafted with standardized patterns that are modified to fit.
While other bigger, more mass-marketed Italian tailors expedite made-to-order services, Gigliotti is one of those old school master tailors who sews everything by hand. Aimi & Gigliotti uses only the best authentic textiles (no synthetic fibers): Irish, Scottish and English Shetland wool, and at times offers vintage fabrics, and even vintage buttons, he said, showing off a pair of aged ones from the 1970’s he salvaged from an old warehouse.
Journalist Valentina Accardo sits down with Franco Gigliotti at his atelier in the heart of Parma on Via Farini:
How does the younger set (30 to 40 year olds) approach bespoke?
They are looking for bespoke to distinguish themselves from the masses, without being snobby about it. Very often they are very classic in their choice of textiles but more trendy when choosing a style. For example, sometimes they ask for jackets that are more defined in the waist, shorter than normal and in general, a jacket that is more form-fitting.
Do they let you give them advice or do they have clear ideas?
The younger clients are curious and want to learn more about fabrics. Sometimes they ask for vintage fabrics for a jacket or overcoat. Sometimes these fabrics are really hard to find and are only for real aficionados.
What are the trends in terms of colors and in terms of details?
There is a request for tweeds and flannels, as well as glen plaids in dual colors with a blue, red or beige background. Blue is very popular among Glen plaids, while clients are very open to lighter shades. Five years ago, for example we only sold grey glen plaids.