While most clothing enthusiasts are familiar with the “usual suspects” in the shirt making industry, e.g., Barba, Finamore, Borrelli, the list can go on and on, there are plenty of smaller camicerias all over Italy that have been crafting handmade shirts to rival and even supersede the aforementioned brands. Let’s add Mazzarelli to that list.
Mazzarelli was started by Marino Mazzarelli in 1951 as a cobblery shop. In 1960, Marino made a seamless transition from supple footwear leather to exquisite shirt fabrics. Now, fifty years later, the third generation team led by Domenico Mazzarelli is in charge of the company’s day-to-day operations and set to uphold the family tradition.
Each Mazzarelli shirt is independently manufactured in the Mazzarelli facility in Castellana Grotte in the province of Bari, and each individual component is cut and shaped by hand (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s77o_imcpN8).
Shirt collars, sleeves, plackets, and mother of pearl buttons are all sewn by hand. Even with this degree of attention to detail and production standards, it still came as a surprise when Mazzarelli received an order for three shirts for Pope Benedict XVI.
“Ready to Wear” Mazzarelli shirts fit slim but not tight: high in the armpits, tight around the shoulders, with tapered waist. Shirts are comfortable with minimal neck space to make sure the tie “sits” properly. Sleeves are just right while cuffs are somewhat narrow around the wrist, with enough space, however, to wear a watch. My Mazzarelli shirts are composed from a blend of cotton, nylon, and elastane. The aforementioned combination is sturdy while pliable, and provides the wearer with great comfort. This “marriage” of old-fashioned tailoring and high-tech, progressive concepts is something that Mazzarelli wants to expand on in the future.
While Mazzarelli is not “officially” sold in the United States, the company has a domestic representative, Giacomo, who can be reached by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).