Faithful to its origins, Saint Gregory recreates the history of the Neapolitan tailoring in a contemporary way to preserve the legacy of its tailoring tradition. The brand started in Casalnuovo, the small town in the outskirts of Naples where many textile companies are born and their tailors work hard to pass on the decades of experience and the innate devotion to the new generations who are still fascinated by their talent and manual skills.
Saint Gregory is not a family business but a group of tailors with different backgrounds, many of them previously working at the more famous tailoring houses. They have recently started to make frequent visits around the world, offering hand-sewn suits that follow every step of the world-renowned tradition. In addition to bespoke tailoring, they also offer made-to-measure and ready-to-wear.
We were keen to know more about their approach and the inspiration behind it, as well as the business direction of Saint Gregory brand and decided to ask the founder and the CEO, Mr Ennio Collaro...
Tell us about who you are and what is the story behind the Saint Gregory brand?
I would define myself as a young, "proudly Neapolitan" entrepreneur. I spent many years in the world of men's elegance, working for great names from whom I learnt the "job" and from whom, above all, I inherited my passion for high-end tailoring garments. Long working experience at Luigi Borrelli Napoli, formed me in the field of luxury shirts and trained me about the best fabrics for shirts up to my personal contribution in implementing the production of trousers and jackets.
During the following years, I exported bespoke Made in Italy garments to the United Arab Emirates, setting up the project of BESPOKE per distance, opening some flagship stores in the region and following the artisanal production of the garments in Napoli. My aim was to export the real Neapolitan tailoring, culture, lifestyle and that's why I decided to found Saint Gregory (whose name recall the famous alley of the cribs in the old town in Naples – one of the most iconic crafts of our beloved city).
Today I'm the CEO of Saint Gregory Tailors in Naples, a project, as well as a company, reflecting my experience and my values that translates in a real mission: To produce handmade tailoring garments of a very high level and only according to the oldest Neapolitan tradition and then export them through a well-established MTM system per distance, providing the best customer service, thus allowing the real handmade product, the one you can find in the little workshop of a Neapolitan tailor, to reach the customers in every corner of the world in an easy and trustable way.
Today, many tailors travel around the world delivering their suits to customers who desire to have a real tailored suit but have no chance to travel two or three times to Naples to have this kind of product. Many times, it also happens that they are not able to communicate efficiently, thereby making this kind of product virtually inaccessible. Considering that we asked ourselves: "Is it possible to make the real Neapolitan tailoring available to the world, acting as a bridge between the best modern boutiques and the tailors, who have the skills, but not a business structure? That's the idea behind Saint Gregory project.
It is important to say that we are not a "family business". I mean there is not one family of tailors behind Saint Gregory. A lot of workshops here claim to have one, two or even more generations of tailors behind them and sometimes this is not true at all. We are a group of tailors with different backgrounds: I built a team of tailors with many years of experience working for the best tailoring houses in Naples and at the same time hired young tailors who are learning the mestiere from the master tailors, in order to keep alive the real Neapolitan tailoring, which is the old craft of the little workshop.
What is important when you create a new collection or make clothes for a client?
Quality, first of all. I really believe one's should understand the difference between price and value. I would never compromise about the quality of raw materials, from the fabric up to the last details: lining, undercollars, buttons... we only use the best available (inside and outside). At the same time, as much as regards the kind of manufacture, I really believe a highly specialized workforce and the know-how makes the difference when wearing tailoring garments. It's not uncommon to hear 100% handmade for garments that are only refined by hand, I would never compromise on that too, the inner details, the processes that are not visible from the outside, are the most important: they guarantee the correct wearability of the garment.
Moreover, when creating a new collection I always consider all the necessary pieces a gentleman's wardrobe should have and always aim to a "smart" collection: classic does not mean boring, you can match different pieces creating your own style. Recently I have started a collaboration with Mr Tito Allegretto, who is helping us giving an additional touch of style to what we do.
How can Saint Gregory keep the Neapolitan tradition alive and stay competitive at the same time?
For my part, I'm convinced that quality costs. When talking about very high manufacturing like the one we propose and sustain, somehow we cannot be "competitive" if this means compromising the quality, and, above all, we don't want to. There are many "tailors" offering a medium-high product compromising on some passages of the process, while there are really only a few still doing the things according to the classic tailoring process, and that's why we have very few "competitors".
What are the 5 cornerstones in the men's wardrobe?
A blue blazer, a navy double-breasted jacket, an elegant chalk stripe suit, a tuxedo and a linen suit for the hot season.
Name someone who has a genuine sense of style.
Fabio Borrelli and Mariano Rubinacci. The first for his contemporary elegance and his eye for the future. The second one, because he is the embodiment of timeless elegance.
Which markets are you looking into now and where can we expect to find Saint Gregory in the future?
During the past years, we have consolidated a series of business collaboration with several partners in Europe. Currently, we're looking into the US market but we have to see what happens in the market in general. Whatever happens, I'm sure about one thing: we will never compromise the quality of our product. The mission has always been to preserve the real Neapolitan tailoring and always will be. We prefer to maintain a small capacity in order to have the same high-quality product, and this means also that we will be a little selective when choosing the partners to collaborate with.