Ermenegildo Zegna’s master tailor and director, Avugusto Cantone, is dressed upright and knows how to tailor a perfectly fitting suit to the customer’s standards. Despite the huge number of ready-made men's clothing lines offered today in numerous boutiques and department stores, real gentlemen prefer to flaunt in custom-made suits. And since there are more and more such gentlemen from year to year, the “made to measure” service (literally from the English “Made to Measure”) is gaining more and more popularity in the world. We talked with Augusto Cantone about what is needed for the “suit to sit”.
Augustus, please tell me, when did Ermenegildo Zegna, known for its high-quality men's clothing, start offering “Su Misura” custom clothing services?
We first offered this type of service to our customers in 1972. In fact, this coincided with the beginning of the production of ready-made clothing collections under the label Ermenegildo Zegna, since initially the company was engaged only in the production of high-quality fabrics.
At the end of the 1960s, the company decided to start producing men's suits, and in 1972 our first creations were presented to the audience, as well as services for custom-tailoring men's clothing. Today we offer custom tailoring services in our flagship stores around to the world.
How does this system work?
We provide customers with a wide selection of costume fabrics, from classic gray, blue and black to seasonal collections that are updated every six months. Thus, we show customers new trends, fashionable colors and textures, so that they can determine the style and look of their costume.
For example, in our catalog of the 2011 spring-summer collection, we demonstrate ready-made combinations of the most fashionable and trendy fabrics for jackets, shirts, ties and trousers. It is important to show the customer how the full suit will look, since many cannot decide on their own or imagine what the final result will be. This is what Ermenegildo Zegna offers only, because we not only sew costumes to order from the proposed fabrics, but, in fact, give customers advice on a fashionable style and creating an individual look. We tell them: “Do not be conservative, try to follow fashion even in a business suit. After all, this is your image!”
Why do you think tailored tailoring services are becoming more and more popular with men around the world?
I think there are two main reasons for this. The first is non-standard sizes - too short or tall, thinness or fullness. In fact, most people on the planet need to “customize” ready-made suits that fit their standard sizes. Sometimes men buy a jacket of one size, and trousers to him in a pair - another. That is why it is much easier for many to order a suit by their standards and be 100% sure that he will sit on the figure as needed.
The second reason is the need for exclusivity and emphasized personality. Even if a person is ready-made clothes is ideal, he may not like the model or color, he wants to jacket fastened with one button instead of two, or the length of the sleeves will not suit him. In addition, wealthy people like to personify their suits and shirts when the name of the owner is applied on the inner label on the lining or cuffs, in addition to the brand name. Thus, you can be sure that your jacket will be the only one in the world.
Yes, and if he suddenly gets lost, he can be found by the name of the owner ...
In the event that the finder wants to return it (laughs).
What else can be personified when tailoring a suit?
Anything. Silhouette, number of buttons, trim elements, lining. For example, four buttons on the sleeves of the jacket, of which only one is unfastened, are a standard option. At the request of the customer, the tailor can make it so that two, and three, and all four buttons will be unfastened. And so on.
How long does it usually take to make one complete set of clothes (jacket, pants, shirt, tie) for the customer?
On average, from the moment of taking measurements to the delivery of the finished order to the customer, it takes about four to five weeks. Usually we spend one meeting in the store, during which measurements are taken, all fabrics are selected and an order is placed. After that, we send the order to the factory in Italy, after which he arrives here again, and the second fitting is carried out. Her goal is to eliminate minor inaccuracies and finally “put” the suit on the figure: adjust the length of the trousers, sleeves and so on. Then we enter all updated data into our database, where they are constantly stored. Thus, when placing the next order, this customer will no longer need to go through the entire procedure of taking measurements again.
And if a person lose weight or recover?
The first option is preferable; suturing is always easier (laughs). In these cases, we enter the updated data into the database.
Who is involved in taking measurements and taking orders in different countries?
We have a team of professionals who fly out to meet with customers and train local employees of our flagship stores on how to take measurements correctly and how to place orders. I personally fly to the UAE for six years. It is very important for us to build not only trusting relationships with each client, but also the system as a whole, so that it works clearly and without failures even when I personally or my deputies cannot control what is happening in one or another of our stores. And if a person in the UAE, for example, urgently needs a new business suit, he can easily contact the store’s employees and they will do everything that is necessary to fulfill this order.
Do you have many customers in the UAE and the Middle East?
We usually do not talk about specific numbers and do not disclose information about the customer base. Perhaps I will answer in this way - the segment of individual tailoring of men's clothing from Ermenegildo Zegna has been successfully developing in the Middle East region in recent years. Our flagship boutique in Dubai Mall is only two years old, but we already see a great interest in it and in the services we offer, which are used not only by residents of the region, but also by numerous tourists from different countries.
How are things with Russian customers?
I have to say that the custom-tailoring service is highly demanded in Russia, where I also go for many years. Ermenegildo Zegna's Russian clients are mainly traveling businessmen, and we have very good relations with them. They often fly to us in Milan, New York and Dubai, that is, we can say that we have formed a certain Zegna community, which is very important.
At the very beginning of my trips to Russia 10 years ago, I remember very well how we had to explain to many customers from Russia that the sleeves of jackets should not be covered by half-sleeves, but for some reason it was considered fashionable to wear long-sleeved jackets in your country. Now times have changed, and those men who order clothes from our tailors are well versed in fashion and oriented in seasonal trends. Probably, they nevertheless listened to our advice. Anyway, I hope so. After all, the service that we offer is very personal, so it’s necessary to listen to all the wishes of the client and try to make the final result perfectly match his tastes and not cause irritation among others, since it’s still customary to “meet by clothes. "
What are the main advantages of the Ermenegildo Zegna “Su Misura” custom patch services?
Firstly, our company is, first of all, a manufacturer of high-quality fabrics, and only then clothes. Secondly, by the fact that we do not set as our task just to beautifully dress a modern man, but also to teach him to combine things correctly so that his suit always matches the place and occasion. Thirdly, our advantages are that Ermenegildo Zegna boutiques are now located in different countries of the world, therefore, wherever our customers are at a given time, they can always contact our company store with any request. Another plus is that the brand, thanks to the expansion of its store network, is becoming closer to customers. Fourth, Ermenegildo Zegna is always modern, because, along with the classics, every season we offer new options for fabrics, colors and combinations that can satisfy the tastes and demands of men of all ages and looks. I hope I answered your question?
Thank you, Augusto, and see you soon. We wish you success and as many new customers as possible.