Ginosa is a small town in Basilicata, at the bottom of the Italian peninsula. The sea is close, yet the oldest part of the town is nestled in the rocks. Here Angelo Inglese spends most of his time, when he is not traveling around the world to present his creations.
The impeccable 40-something Southern Italian is, in fact, a tailor. Yet not a common one: Prince William chose one of his shirts for his Royal Wedding in 2011; the US director Francis Ford Coppola – who has Italian origins and owns a resort nearby– wore an Inglese tuxedo at a recent film festival, and the former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama is a loyal customer.
Hatoyama probably was mainly responsible for the media storm which helped Inglese’s craft to be appreciated worldwide: “I had been sewing shirts and suits for him for a while and the press knew it”, Inglese told hiEurope. “So, when in 2010 he wore a controversial, flashy shirt during a public occasion, it was attributed to me. I had to defend myself and my work, and people noticed it.” Being the center of attention was not Inglese’s wish, but it also was an opportunity, and he started sending images of his creations to Japanese importers.
After working in the textile field as a sales manager, Inglese decided to go back to Ginosa 15 years ago, to the family atelier which had been opened in 1955 by his father and uncles, and where his grandmother sewed shirts, embroidered and crocheted. “I have always loved tailoring. As a baby, I used to crawl on the workshop’s benches, breathing in the fabrics’ smell. Mothballs and ironing steam are part of my childhood memories.”
The world famous tailor firmly believes that craftsmanship is a strong asset for tourism, especially in Southern Italy. This is why a few years ago he tried to renovate an ancient building in the old town to create a new workshop, learning centre and a showroom. Unfortunately, a flood hit Ginosa in 2012 and the area became unusable, but Inglese has not given up on his project. “Our mission is to continue our traditions and hand them down to future generations. I wish to give dignity to this job as it used to be, when artisans were second parents to apprentices. This is also why I decided to come back here: I love the atelier’s discipline and I wanted to breathe its atmosphere once again.”
Nowadays, Inglese takes care of the new creations as well as sales, helped by his mother, sister and wife. He often travels abroad, but he prefers to be in Ginosa to welcome guests, who come from all over to meet him. “It would be so unkind not to be here for them.”