–We are in between Pompei and Scafati in Via Bonifica 30, on the slopes of Mount Faito where once a master, this time are not the typical Italian or English fabrics, but the prestigious Italian or French leather of Alfredo Rifugio workshop.
Tailoring from more than fifty years, Alfredo (O’MAST), with a gentle spirit welcomes me to his showroom with Alfonso, his soon and creator of Rifugio, Napoli; sipping a great Neapolitan coffee we sit and compare our tailoring tastes and preferences. Alfredo then starts to mention his story that begins at the age of 12, at a small tailoring house named Ernesto Barbuto, where he learnt his first lines of the tailoring.
At the age of 18, he continued his apprenticeship and went to Pompei at the workshop of Giovanni Malafronte; this is where he refines his cutting and assembling techniques of a jacket, which will later apply in “leather tailoring.”
Alfonso tells me that his father has always made garments for other big brands – for third parties – which led him to re-brand and create Rifugio, Napoli.
The workshop, which is a family run business, is composed of 8 people with a high percentage of female workers, in contrast to traditional “tailoring” business. Each worker has a specific role in defining a product that can not be sewn entirely by hand for harmful reasons. Furthermore, the time it takes to complete is around 30 hours of work .
Everything starts from the handmade cut, consisting of two phases, because the skin tends to shrink after the adhesive phase of the internal canvas; after that the “front” and the sleeves are then assembled (by machine).
The shoulder is very soft, in fact, as we can see in the picture, he put a small shoulder-pad, similar to that used in traditional tailoring.
It is also important to notice the “straight wire”, that is a very thick silk thread, which is inserted around the sleeve and on the front, so as to provide stiffness to the fabric. The holes are cute by machine, but as the “hand stitched” are completely made by hand using a 3 head needle, specific for the leather.
The Rifugio Jacket is a lightweight touch that respects the canons of Neapolitan tailoring, presents a long pleats, a very high armhole and you can also have the “manica a camicia” with some wrinkle.