The Genteel
October 30, 2020

Best Kept Secrets

(Photograph courtesy of Jovanny Capri)

Tailoring can be like cooking: the right ingredients and a good recipe give you the basics, but without passion, creativity and a few traditional tips, the final result will emerge from the oven underdone. Giovanni Pedata, a 35-year-old Neapolitan entrepreneur, has always known that a sewing needle and thread, quality fabric samples and a good idea weren't enough for a successful product. One more ingredient was necessary to inspire his fashion brand: tradition. 

Pedata's roots in couture run back to his grandfather, a humble Neapolitan tailor in the 1950s. Word of the quality of his suits soon reached as far as American Vice-President Richard Nixon, New Jersey Governor Robert Meyner and Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis. Over the years, Pedata inherited family secrets as his grandfather handed down knowledge to the following generations, keeping the tailoring tradition alive.

His show room on Via Cappella Vecchia is a temple of hand sewn shirts. Behind every one lies a personal story, a unique shape and style.

Fashion and tailoring have always been Pedata's greatest passions. At the age of 18, he worked as a model at two agencies in Milan, Fashion Model Management and Elite. By 2009, he was able to raise enough money to buy his atelier and launch his own brand, Jo Capri. The name combines his nickname "Jo" and the sunny island of Capri near the Neapolitan Gulf. The brand strives to be catchy, classy and innovative; it is the first in Europe to make hand-sewn shirts in 22 steps, from the cut of the material, to the assemblage of the collar and cuffs and the sewing of buttonholes and sleeve details. The basic five-step design can be ordered for 70 euros, and the top of the range, 22-step shirt for 250 euros.

His show room on Via Cappella Vecchia is a temple of hand sewn shirts. Behind every one lies a personal story, a unique shape and style. There is no standard shirt; each is custom-made for a client. This "bespoke" method of customising clothes has the tailor drawing the client's measurements on a sheet of white paper (shoulders, arm length, trunk, chest and neck) and drafting the shirt's model depending on the client's desires. After a few fittings, the final detailed product is created. Each client has a personalised pattern, with his measurements, to use any time. The bespoke method differs from made-to-measure, where the tailor starts with a standard model and adapts it to the customer's measurements as much as possible. 

(Photograph courtesy of Jovanny Capri)

Despite his sewing abilities, Pedata decided not to take up his grandfather's tailoring profession. He instead focused his passion for clothing on leading a team of twelve skilled female tailors in his factory. His grandfather's influence does emerge, however, in the traditions Pedata follows to innovate his products. What are the signs of typical Neapolitan tailoring? First, the buttons of the shirts are sewn using the special "crow's feet squared point" technique, possible only by hand and not with machines. The technique results in a more elegant and original design. Even the buttonholes are cut and hand sewn, the stitching is visible and there is a puff on the shirt's sleeves and shoulders. The "mouche," a little taftah (fine silk) triangle, joins the front and back of the shirt and is hand-sewn for greater durability. A wide range of button materials are available, from mother-of-pearl to Mediterranean and Pacific Ocean coral, and the collar's wings have removable seashell or marine turtle sticks so that the client can choose between a soft or rigid collar.

Jo Capri shirts are sold in franchise stores across Italy and sent to overseas markets, including Russia, England, Spain and France. The shirts are suitable for many demographics, from professionals requiring work wear to university students seeking a high-quality shirt for special occasions. 

(Photograph courtesy of Jovanny Capri)

Jo Capri experts also make house calls to take measurements and present fabric samples. Materials are made in Italy or of 100% West Indian Sea Island cotton, and the shirts can be created in any colour and design. A single shirt requires one week of work: the fabric is soaked in water for 24 hours to make it softer and more elastic, and 16 hours a day are needed to cut, assemble and sew the pieces together for the final fitting.

The brand's wearability, originality and elegance render it highly versatile to various fashion styles. Each Jo Capri shirt is like a Neapolitan work of art; except this one has been custom made to hang in your closet.

Jo Capri’s atelier:
Via Cappella Vecchia, 3 Naples
Ph. 0039- 081-7648336



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