The oldest tailors in the world and their contributions to tailoring

24 April 2017

"When a style of dress dominates over centuries, its master craftsmen deserve the recognition".

Tailored suiting is wildly popular now, but it’s a time-honoured tradition that’s been around for hundreds of years. Once the preferred method of dress for men around the world, every neighborhood was home to a talented tailor who outfitted the local men. There have been thousands of notable tailors throughout fashion history. Though only a handful has left their mark on the tailoring industry itself. Here are some of its most notable craftsmen.

Ascot Chang

Bespoke shirting has been around for ages, but we can thank Ascot Chang for making it mainstream. Chang first worked as an apprentice for a Shanghai shirt maker before taking on his own customers in Hong Kong in 1949. Four years later, he opened his own store. Now, he’s the mastermind behind a globally recognised brand that customises everything from pajamas to handkerchiefs.

Gieves & Hawkes

It’s no secret that Savile Row is the premiere destination for bespoke suiting, and Gieves & Hawkes have been there from the beginning. Founded in 1771, the talented British tailors built their foundation by dressing various branches of the British military. They went on to dress Winston Churchill then and even David Beckham now. Gieves & Hawkes brought a militaristic precision to their designs, and their brand has lived on to this day.

Domenico Caraceni

The Caraceni Milan flagship is one of the most respected suiting shops in the world. It all began in 1913 when Domenico Caraceni partnered with his two brothers to open a shop in Rome. The men learnt the fine art of tailoring from their father and they worked together to bring their multi-generational knowledge to the masses,including their signature double-breasted jacket. Caraceni was responsible for dictating the suiting aesthetic of Italy’s most notable men and even many in Hollywood. Domenico and his brothers were responsible for dressing Yves Saint Laurent, Gianni Agnelli and Cary Grant, to name a few.

Gianni Campagna
Tailoring was Gianni Campagna’s destiny and he knew it from an early age. He became an apprentice at the tender age of eight. For 10 years, he honed his craft and began working for Domenico Caraceni at 18 years old. He was labelled Italy’s finest tailor at 22. Throughout his career, he was responsible for dictating the aesthetic of the Hollywood A-list. Pierce Brosnan’s impeccable costumes in The Thomas Crown Affair were designed by Campagna. 

Knowing how to dress well is always important, but it’s equally crucial to look back at the creators who kickstarted the process. When a style of dress dominates over centuries, its master craftsmen deserve the recognition.

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