You + tailor + cloth. This is the essence of bespoke - a one-to-one-to-one correspondence of those key elements. You initiate the interest and desire for a bespoke garment. A highly skilled tailor creates a unique pattern and finished garment based on your figure and measurements. The cloth provides the critical, essential material for the tailor to realize the commission.
Sicilian Reserve is about unbundling and delivering the minimal, essential components of bespoke. It means reclaiming the critical role you play in this unique adventure. We enable you to experience bespoke without the rigidities of traditional bespoke and the inherent limitations of made-to-measure programs (MTM).
Bespoke can and should be a peak sartorial experience. But traditional bespoke has long been limited to the few who could afford it. What if you could enjoy the virtues of bespoke in a much more personal, active and accessible way?
Conventional wisdom says the bespoke landscape has already been mapped out - London occupies one axis for classic structured jackets, Naples for unstructured jackets. There is nothing new under the bespoke sun. Or is there?
Something has emerged, something hidden away for years. In 2011, I researched and wrote Sleevehead’s Guide to Sicilian Tailors, the first English language book on Sicilian bespoke tailors. I wrote the guide because Sicily is the last undiscovered enclave of bespoke tailoring in the Western Hemisphere.
Nowhere else can you find a hand-cut and hand-made bespoke garment accessibly priced and on par with the craftsmanship of top tier bespoke. Nowhere else can you find a critical mass of soft tailoring done so simply, skillfully and with incredible humility.
This is bespoke practiced as a matter of everyday living, hidden away and mostly undiscovered. This is a quieter luxury with craft and relationships rooted in a specific place. If you don’t know the place, you will never know its tailoring tradition.
This is why very few are aware of Sicilian tailoring. These tailors truly embody the idea of local authenticity. They make clothes largely for other Sicilians; they rarely travel outside of Italy or even Sicily; and their workshops produce limited quantities of suits, jackets and trousers year after year. They are tailors who know only one thing - practicing their craft in their hometown.
With your help, we can extend the rich bespoke traditions and expertise of these remaining Sicilian artisans to benefit both their communities and a larger audience outside of Sicily.
Based on my extensive travels and research, I have decided to collaborate with a highly skilled tailor and his small workshop on the Ionian Coast in eastern Sicily. Like a few others, Sartoria Macchia can produce a first jacket (or suit) for a new client based on just one fitting.
Above all, Macchia is a highly experienced practitioner of his craft and has worked in the trade for decades. He has won national awards in competition with other leading tailors across Italy. Unlike most tailors, he is fluent in several different cutting systems (including one dating back to 1928) and has learned over the years to apply the optimal system and techniques depending on the specific application.
His workshop is capable of creating softly tailored and more classic, structured garments for both men and women. In a good sign for the future, his workshop includes a younger generation learning, cutting and designing for clients. Unlike many of his compatriots, this tailor has the desire and capacity to continue the business after he retires.
Even so, his workshop has extremely limited production - about 100 suits per year. But he has agreed to reserve a portion of his limited bespoke production to clients outside of Italy for the very first time. By definition and circumstance, this collaboration is intrinsically special, limited and unique, as will be your participation.
What we create for you flows from this philosophy. We combine your creative input in the selection and sourcing of the cloth with highly localized craftsmanship. Perhaps paradoxically, the result is a new way of experiencing bespoke that is both rarer and more accessible at the same time.
With Sicilian Reserve, you have the option to provide your own cloth with the Simply Bespoke line. For the sartorial enthusiast, personally sourcing high quality cloth is often the preferred way to find the right cloth fit for his purpose and design. Moreover, buying cloth from a previous year’s production minimizes waste and avoids the additional overhead cost of buying in-season cloth.
Assuming basic knowledge of jacketing and suiting cloths, you will be able to source top-notch, high quality cloth in distinctive weaves, weights and finishes, especially if you live in or near a major metropolitan area like NYC or San Francisco.
If you are time-pressed or do not have easy access to quality cloth, we are able to include cloth as part of our more traditional Essential and 360 Bespoke lines as well as offer a limited range of classic cloth for your Simply Bespoke order.
How We Work
We offer three lines of bespoke:
- Simply Bespoke (customer supplied cloth)
- Essential Bespoke (limited selection of cloth sourced by us)
- 360 Bespoke (widest range of cloth sourced by us with the highest level of customization and service)
Our lean bespoke model means just two “drops” (or releases) per year - every summer and winter. Batching orders together helps us maintain exceptional bespoke pricing. Throughout the year you focus on researching, selecting and reserving your best cloth with Sicilian Reserve. We then reserve a spot for you on our tailor’s limited production schedule to realize your commission. Bespoke commissions are shipped to you in July/August or January.
For new customers, your first drop requires two face-to-face meetings. The first meeting involves taking your measurements and dropping off your cloth in NYC, the Bay Area or by appointment (see our schedule below). After you place your order online, we will schedule this initial consultation which takes place before the cutoff date for the upcoming drop. The second meeting is when our tailor conducts your forward fitting in the US (either NYC or the Bay Area).
For returning customers, you can participate in the spring/summer or fall/winter drops by placing an order online and sending us your cloth or meeting with us before the cutoff dates in April and October each year (about three to four months before each drop).
For a more detailed look, check out our 2018 delivery calendar which maps out the different order/delivery options for new and returning customers.
Discover and learn
"Very impressive, well written and balanced advice. All in all, this is the definitive guide to the subject, all the information any man will need." - Bruce Boyer
"An extremely serious and thorough guide, the first of its kind to report on bespoke Sicilian tailors, offering not only well-documented descriptions of each house, but also all you need to know to plan your trip." - Hugo Jacomet, Parisian Gentleman
"Extremely valuable...well written, informative... In my opinion it is an absolute must for anybody who contemplates having bespoke garments made in Italy." - Gentleman's Gazette
Published originally in 2011, #SGST is the first and only comprehensive guide exploring the largely undiscovered world of Sicilian bespoke tailoring. The new 2017 expanded edition contains twice the content of the first edition. It remains the definitive reference on Sicilian tailoring whose signature is a softly structured jacket and whose heritage rivals Savile Row and Naples.
The author covers an expanded list of more than 20 tailors across Sicily including the four largest cities (Palermo, Catania, Messina and Syracuse) and two smaller towns (Ragusa and Modica) as well as other artisanal makers of shirts, ties and accessories.
Logistical and travel details have also been updated to plan your own sartorial trip.
New to the second edition is a useful framework comparing Sicilian tailoring to other modern tailoring strategies, showing how it differs from Savile Row and Naples and why this Mediterranean sensibility deserves to be known as the third major school of Western tailoring.
- 108 pages
- 140+ photos
- 3 videos (web access)
This e-book version is delivered in Adobe PDF format suitable for viewing on any PC, tablet or smartphone.
The paperback and hardcover versions are available now.
Meet and connect
Available for Initial consultations (New York city tri-state area)
- What: Take your measurements and receive your cloth for summer 2018 delivery
- When: From now until Friday, March 16, 2018 by appointment for summer delivery
- Where: Your home or office within a 60 minute travel radius of NYC or our client meeting spaces in Manhattan
- How: Email us below to schedule an appointment at your home, office or one of our Manhattan meeting spaces
Spring 2018 (San Francisco) - April 26, 2018
- What: Initial consultations for measurements/cloth or forward fittings
- When: Thursday, April 26 from 9am-6pm (tentative)
- Where: Downtown San Francisco
- How: Email us below to schedule an appointment
Spring 2018 (New York city) - April 28-29, 2018
- What: Forward fittings
- When: Saturday, April 28 from 9am to 5:30pm (tentative); Sunday, April 29 from 10am-12pm (tentative)
- Where: Manhattan (most likely lower or mid-town Manhattan)
- How: Email us below to schedule an appointment
Check our 2018 delivery schedule with more guidance for new and returning customers.