With more than 700 years of history, Neapolitan tailoring is known and celebrated worldwide—but is it applicable to modern life? Sartorio Napoli has an answer
We reached out to Sartorio Napoli, an exclusive brand made in Naples by Kiton Spa which combines Neapolitan tailoring with the latest innovation, to discuss tradition and modernity.
The shoulders of the Neapolitan suit jacket fit the wearer’s own, and the sleeve is sewn like a shirt sleeve, hence why it’s called spalla a camicia (shirt shoulder).
What does Sartorial mean?
In English, “sartorial” is an adjective used to describe nouns relating to tailoring, clothes, or style of dress. Examples: sartorial elegance, sartorial flair. “His tailor is a sartorial genius!”
Sartorio Napoli carries on the tradition of Neapolitan tailoring, which is rich in its legacy. What makes Neapolitan style special?
There are several technical characteristics that are distinctive to Neapolitan style. The Neapolitan suit jacket, for instance, is completely deconstructed, as opposed to British and Spanish jackets, which feature shoulder pads and heavy lining. Neapolitan tailors took these stiff, rigid, formal jackets, and removed all excess.
The result is a light, snug garment, which maintains freedom of movement. The shoulders fit the wearer’s own, and the sleeve is sewn like a shirt sleeve, hence why it’s called spalla a camicia (shirt shoulder).
And of course, beyond the technicalities, there is a special taste and a nonchalant elegance that characterize Neapolitan style, and complete the picture.
Sartorio Napoli garments are designed for the modern businessman. How do you combine tradition and innovation in your work?
We offer a wide range of classic garments, as well as more youthful models. We want our clients to be able to travel in all comfort, so in some of our dress pants we have replaced the classic double pleats with a drawstring, and used technical, elastic fabrics.
This way, the client can sit on a plane for hours, and the pants will not crease. We also offer colorful T-shirts and polos, ideal for the summer, as well as jeans. So, we are catering to younger men, as well as more mature ones.
Creating Sartorio Napoli Suits
The Kiton Spa headquarter is full of collectibles and works of art. How does that impact your work?
Yes, the Kiton Spa headquarters, in Arzano, Naples, is a very special place. Kiton owns an incredible suit collection that once belonged to Edward VIII, the Duke of Windsor, and several other items. The collection is showcased in a wooden corridor, each piece behind glass. It’s incredibly inspiring – it’s a reminder to always look back to the past as we move forward, and develop new high-tech fabrics and trendy garments.
Another remarkable thing is that, in 2000, Kiton launched a tailoring school. Kiton is investing in the training of a new generation of tailors to protect this tradition. It’s an incredibly interesting initiative.
Tell us about your choice of materials. What makes them unique?
All our fabrics come from the Carlo Barbera woolen mill, in Biella, Italy. Biella is Italy’s “wool capital”: it is renowned worldwide for its excellence in the production of yarn. The Carlo Barbera mill is one of the best in the world, and has been producing premium fabrics since 1949. In 2010, the mill was bought by Kiton.
Therefore, we only use the best materials for our garments. Our wool fibers measure 15 to 16 micron in diameter (micron is the way to grade the finesse of the wool, 1 micron = 0.001 mm). And we also treat vicuña, one of the most precious and expensive yarns in the world.
What does style mean to you? Would you say it’s more about fitting in, or standing out?
First and foremost, I believe everyone should feel comfortable in what they wear. Our garments are certainly not for everybody—you must be passionate about Neapolitan style, know its history. Style should never be forced, otherwise it becomes unnatural, and the result is not what you hope for.
I believe style should come naturally. Fashion can influence people’s taste, but, from my experience, clients already know what they want before they walk into a store. Our clients have a shared taste for classic garments.
The Future of Suiting
With streetwear and fast fashion on the rise, what role do you think traditional Neapolitan tailoring will have in the future?
I am sure traditional tailoring will have a rosy future. More and more people are looking to invest in high-quality, made in Italy garments, rather than T-shirts made… by a machine. The COVID-19 pandemic played a big role in this – I believe it sparked a renewed interest in timeless garments, which will last years and years in a man’s wardrobe, and, above all, will never go out of fashion.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected Sartorio Napoli? Has it changed the way you think about the fashion industry?
The past year was difficult. Fifty percent of our clients come from abroad, and Italians were not looking to buy suits, as there were no social gatherings or events they could wear them at!
We quickly realized that social media is key for a brand, so we invested in it, and we are satisfied with the feedback we received. But of course, physical experience is key for our products, so we are very happy things are slowly improving and clients can again come visit us personally.
Find out more about why Neapolitan style is the best or read interviews with some of the best names in Neapolitan tailoring: Kiton and Eddy Monetti.
Discover the full line of Sartorio Napoli suits, jackets, ties, and shirts for men on italist.
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