Sicilian Reserve in the press - “The accidental maven of menswear”

Palermo tailor Claudio Italiano and Sleevehead meeting our client Ethan in San Francisco. Photo credit: Timothy Archibald.

Palermo tailor Claudio Italiano and Sleevehead meeting our client Ethan in San Francisco. Photo credit: Timothy Archibald.

A friend reached out to let me know that this summer’s issue of Stanford Magazine has been published, featuring an article on Sicilian Reserve, Sleevehead and my recent trip to San Francisco with Palermo tailor Claudio Italiano.

My deepest gratitude to the Stanford Magazine team - Kathy Zonana’s unerring editorial nose for stories worth telling, Deni Ellis Bechard’s superb research and storytelling, Timothy Archibald’s photographic prowess, Giorgia Virgili’s impeccable art direction and Lauren Mortimer’s succinct illustrations. It was a genuine pleasure working with all of you!

Sicilian Reserve x Sartoria Davi (spring 2019)

Close-up of shoulder on a jacket by Sartoria Davi. Photo credit: Juhn Maing

Close-up of shoulder on a jacket by Sartoria Davi. Photo credit: Juhn Maing

Last week we hosted Claudio Italiano and had a very productive trip to New York and San Francisco. We're pleased to announce that we will be hosting a new visiting tailor in a couple of weeks: Guido Davi (@sartoriadavi).

Guido will visit New York on May 8-10. Unlike most visiting tailors, Guido and I are experimenting with doing 2 complete fittings in a single visit. We are trying this with one client and hope to offer this to more clients in the future. 

Nearly all visiting bespoke tailors limit themselves to a single fitting with each client (1 fitting per trip). For new clients, this typically necessitates at least 2 separate trips to prepare a jacket for delivery. The entire process can take up to a year. In contrast, our approach will greatly speed up delivery without compromising the bespoke process. 

Guido and his brother run a workshop started by their late father more than half a century ago. The more I learn about how they work, the more impressed I am with their attention to detail and uncompromising approach to tailoring. Guido cuts a clean, soft jacket that he shapes in subtle ways for each individual customer.

His clientele is among the most international of any Sicilian tailor, which is a key advantage in my book. Moreover, his English fluency and tailoring skills make him the obvious choice for the most direct, undiluted experience of Sicilian tailoring available in the US. 

By appointment only. 

Last but not least, we’re also working on offering bespoke shirts in collaboration with a Sicilian shirtmaker.

For more info, feel free to check out my blog entries on Guido.  Additional updates to appear on this newsletter as well as the Sicilian Reserve and Sleevehead websites. 

Sicilian Reserve x Sartoria Italiano (spring 2019)

Photo credit: Sartoria Italiano

Photo credit: Sartoria Italiano

We're excited to announce the latest iteration of Sicilian Reserve as a platform to help connect Sicilian artisans to new customers. Our primary role will be partnering with tailors and artisans on their visits and trunk shows.

To kick things off, I will be working with Sartoria Italiano (@sartoriaitaliano) for a spring 2019 visit to the US. Claudio and his father run one of the leading tailoring houses in Palermo. I really like his trim, modern take on the Palermo-style jacket. Claudio is impressively versatile and can shape jackets with a more classic silhouette.

But he loves creating smart, superbly modern jackets that could easily be worn on the red carpet and eclipse anything I've seen on the award shows. Excellent choice for those who enjoy color and texture realized in an elegantly shaped jacket.

Dates: April 8-9 in New York City. April 10 in San Francisco. By appointment only.

For more info, feel free to check out my Sleevehead blog post on Claudio, or contact us with any questions.

Last but not least, we're planning to bring Sartoria Davi, another superb Palermitan tailor, to the states later this year. Additional updates to appear here and my Sleevehead website.

Gearing up for spring 2019

Beginning in 2019, Sicilian Reserve will become more of a platform to help connect Sicilian artisans to overseas customers. Our primary role will be assisting tailors and artisans to organize their visits and trunk shows.

This has one main advantage - you can express interest in having a Sicilian tailor or artisan visit your city. Artisans will be able to gauge interest in cities around the world and respond by organizing a trunk show/visit if demand warrants. To make your voice known, join the Sleevehead Forum and show your interest on the tailor's dedicated topic page.

Artisans participating with Sicilian Reserve will most likely have been profiled already in my book Sleevehead’s Guide to Sicilian Tailors (SGST) but this is not a requirement. If you know a tailor not covered in SGST or my blog, feel free to start a discussion topic in the Sleevehead Forum.

To kick things off, I have already selected two well-known Palermitan tailors for a spring 2019 visit to the US and am currently finalizing details with them. An official announcement is coming soon.

By appointment only.

Sicilian Reserve 2.0

IMG_5698.jpg

It’s been quite a journey since launching Sicilian Reserve a year and a half ago. I am grateful to the launch customers who decided to join us in that journey.

Based on my learnings, Sicilian Reserve will change as we go into the new year. Instead of working exclusively with one tailor, SR will act as launch service to a limited number of Sicilian tailors ready to enter the US market at higher price points.

Last week I visited Sicily to speak with tailors who are interested in this opportunity. My current plan is to help at least one new Sicilian tailor to launch in the US in 2019 with possibly more to follow.

Looking forward to sharing more in the new year here and on my Sleevehead blog.

October update

We enjoyed seeing old and new customers earlier this month in San Francisco and New York. We managed to meet almost everyone who scheduled an appointment. I’m also meeting individually with a few folks who could not make their times due to last minute conflicts.

For 2019, we’re working on bringing to market another Sicilian tailoring option. This should be even closer to the actual experience of flying to Sicily to get your bespoke commissions done. Stay tuned!

Summer musings and doings

We're in the final stretch of summer. It's been a busy couple of months between delivering the latest batch of orders and also taking a close eye on improving all aspects of how we do bespoke. 

We are always looking to improve and have asked our customers what is working and what we can change. While they are enjoying our Sicilian heritage and high degree of flexibility, we've also learned there has been confusion around the fitting process and what could be adjusted post-delivery. Moreover, we missed a few things by loading everything in one fitting. 

To that end, we are now requiring two fittings for all new customers. This is a change from our initial model of delivering a finished garment after just one fitting for new customers.

A single fitting is possible if everything falls into place. But since we cannot guarantee a single fitting will cover all possible variables over the course of several months, we no longer offer this. 

We're also improving our process behind the scenes to ensure we capture all of our customer requests, no matter how small, in time for delivery. 

In the meantime, we'll be back in San Francisco (October 11) and New York (October 13-14) for client appointments and look forward to seeing you there. A la prossima!

Spring 2018 fittings

In launching Sicilian Reserve, we definitely pushed the envelope by setting a goal of a single fitting followed by delivery. 

Anyone experienced in bespoke knows this is rare, especially for new customers ordering for the first time. The normal order of business is two or three fittings. 

But I am glad that we pushed the boundaries and am happy to report that single fittings followed by delivery are possible under the right conditions as seen below. 

For some customers, weight and dimensions can change materially in the months following the initial measurement taking. The key to success is being flexible and observe what has changed and adjust accordingly.

This means likely adding a second fitting, especially with new customers, if we continue to use the traditional fitting process. We are also actively looking at improving the process to allow for greater precision. More news to come soon!