Master Tailor Sebastiano Montella talking about his Traditional Neapolitan custom tailoring classes
Almost two years ago, we've presented you Italian master tailor Sebastiano Montella and his studio in Bellport, NY, USA, offering custom bespoke men's and women's suits and clothing.
Now we are glad to talk again with Mr Montella and to present you his latest project, which he has started in collaboration with the Center for Italian Studies at Stony Brook University (Stony Brook, NY). Its aim is 'to teach any and all students interested in learning traditional Neapolitan custom tailoring'. All classes are conducted in a traditional apprenticeship manner and reflect the same learning environment that was presented to Sebastiano Montella and other Italian master tailors of the past. A class of this nature and style is not found anywhere else in the United States.
- Dear Sebastiano, it's a pleasure for us to talk with you again and to present your latest initiative to our readers. First, please tell us more about the traditional Neapolitan custom tailoring - what defines it and makes it world renowned?
- Neapolitan custom tailoring is defined by three main characteristics: cut, quality, and comfortability. Most individuals are not aware of the many steps involved in constructing these suits, and how many of these steps are performed by hand work. The process of constructing these suits by hand is essential in ensuring that the aforementioned three characteristics are successfully obtained. As far as what makes Neapolitan custom suits world renowned, these suits have been fashioned and adored for centuries. Connoisseurs of men's fashion have praised Neapolitan custom suits as being the pinnacle of their wardrobes, and have merited this honor upon the Neapolitan craft based on their vast knowledge of custom tailoring.
- In our previous conversation, you said that you still believe in the apprenticeship system and the courses, which you lead now are based on it. How do the young people accept this manner?
- They gladly and willingly accept this manner. Many of my students have researched where and how they could learn this "art", as they so frequently put it. Many have inquired within universities and various schools but would ultimately end up feeling discontent that their desires were left unfulfilled. They adamantly state that they wish to learn traditional Neapolitan tailoring for its renowned reputation. Personally, I feel a great sense of pride knowing that the apprenticeship manner is not only sought after, but demanded.
- You have just completed your first semester of instruction. What are your impressions? What do you plan for the next one?
- My impressions are that of surprise and delight. I was surprised to see the extent of their dedication and patience, and I was delighted to know that these students fully understand their ability to stand out in the vast world of fashion. Our first semester was a basic overview of Neapolitan custom tailoring which provided a thorough description of what they should expect moving forward. Our next semester will begin a series of progressive steps - much like I was taught during my apprenticeship - which will slowly and steadily provide them with the finer teachings of Neapolitan custom tailoring.
- From which countries did you have students?
- My students are mostly from the United States, though I do have several from other nations. China, Italy, England, and even Haiti to name a few.
- What are the ideas of young fashion designers about men's fashion? Do they appreciate the advantages of bespoke and made-to-measure over ready-to-wear?
- I can't speak for many of the young fashion designers today, because I don't converse with them. However, I do converse with many of my younger clientele. From what I have gathered, there seems to be a profound shift from ready-to-wear to custom made. I feel as though much of today's younger generation - the Google generation - has become better educated in fashion. Websites such as yours has enabled this generation to become aware of alternatives to ready-to-wear and therefore they better understand and appreciate the quality and characteristics of custom made clothing.
- Is there something else, that you would like to share with the audience about the future of the men's suit?
- I believe a large portion of the future will mimic the past. Men's suits have seen many decades of changes, but the custom made suit has remained the emblem of sophistication. The increasing desire to wear these suits, coupled with the now growing desire by many individuals to learn how to construct these suits, will make the future more akin to the glory days of custom made.
Photos: © Sebastiano Montella personal archive
For more information about the tailor and his services: MontellaCustomTailor.com
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