Mauro Canclini interviews Antonio of Camiceria Turri, where true bespoke shirts are made: from the craftsman to you!

Who are you and what do you do? Tell us a bit about yourself….

I am Antonio and I work in the family business, which was founded in 1971 by my mother-in-law, Mrs Agnese. It started out as a clothing workshop for third parties, but in 2000, when I joined the company, we began specializing in made-to-measure shirts, especially for private individuals. Initially born as a personalized and very high-quality service offered to a few friends, this commitment has gradually established itself and expanded, always preserving the care and attention to detail guaranteed by a tailor’s shop that only dresses to measure.

You are in the third generation, like us: what does it mean to have a family business?

First of all, I am very happy that my son also wanted to work in the family business. I must say that he is very good! Even better than me!

Because he is constantly searching; not so much for the raw material, which I’m sure is excellent, but above all for the service that accompanies it: deliveries, supplies, relations with the supplier.

Since he’s been with the company we’ve had constant growth, every year. Apart from this last one, which has been particularly difficult for us… so much so that sometimes I don’t know whether I’m leaving him a Ferrari or a Panda…

How come? The textile industry is actually going through a period of crisis…has it affected you too?

Actually, we have had a difficult time because of several retirements; as many as nine out of 15 workers have retired and this has worried us on several fronts. Certainly, on an economic level we had to face several expenses. But the thing that challenged us most was going in search of specialized personnel as good as those who were leaving.

But we went in search of professionals who could maintain and guarantee the high-quality standards we have, as well as customer care, at fair prices.

It’s true, finding specialized personnel is very difficult; moreover, working as you do in retail is definitely very difficult, you need a special skill.

Definitely. We always try to please the customer and to do that you have to be very flexible. That’s also why we are happy with you at Canclini. Because there is still the possibility to talk together, to find solutions, to interact between people. Unfortunately, in other realities there is no longer this possibility, while I believe that the relationship, also human, customer-supplier, is the only winning solution. Because we believe that quality is also made through people.

Thank you…it’s true, we try to be flexible, precisely because we know that you do an extremely complex job. And certain situations can only be resolved by talking to each other and collaborating. That’s why we are happy to have moments like this: getting to know each other is fundamental to consolidating a relationship, not just a working one.

But back to shirts: you make true bespoke! Tell us how…

First of all, we do not set limits to the customer; he can start with just one garment. We accompany him in the choice of fabric, model and details. We continue by taking measurements, then we do an initial fitting for the first test and so on until the perfect shirt is made.

Who comes to have a shirt made to measure today?

We have a wide range of fabrics: from cotton to silk, linen to denim, but also Scottish thread. And we are able to tailor shirts for men, but also for women or children. Today it is very fashionable to give a shirt voucher even to younger people, perhaps on the occasion of their 18th birthday or graduation. Our customers range from 18 to 80 years of age.

And how do young people experience this?

It is a real experience!!! Because they come into our workshop and while they are choosing and touching fabrics or taking measurements they see our workers with sewing machines making the shirts. We also do this to make them understand that we are Made in Jerago con Orago!

You therefore support Made in Italy

Of course! We only produce in our workshop. And even as a choice of suppliers, we rely on the best partners, who certainly have a special focus on the product, on quality control. It is not always essential that a fabric or a button is made in Italy, but it certainly must have a company behind it that supports and guarantees the value typical of us Italians.

Jerago con Orago is a small village between Milan and Lugano, near Varese…

Yes, perhaps this is our limitation. In fact, we would like to be able to open a sales outlet in Milan as well. It is among our future plans.

What is your favorite fabric and model, the one every man should have in his wardrobe? 

I love the white shirt, otherwise the denim shirt. These two fabrics are able to adapt to all situations. For more than twenty years we have been making shirts with the TURRI collar, i.e. a soft collar of the right size that always remains tidy!

It also lends itself well to ties! It is very versatile! And which Canclini fabrics do you prefer?

I personally find them all very beautiful, but my favorites are Silver and London. They make it possible to tailor shirts that are comfortable but with quality, the right weight and a soft hand.

CASUAL MOMENT: tell us one last curiosity about you…

I can say that a custom-made shirt is good for all ages. In fact, when a child is born, we like to give him or her a well-tailored shirt.