A conversation with Gennaro Formosa

26 May 2015
3 min read
Keeping his fathers tailoring legacy alive, FOUR talks to the man behind the new generation of Italian designer threads, Gennaro Formosa, the most sought after luxury, bespoke suit maker in Naples.

Tell us a bit about the story behind the workshop…

I want to start talking about my father, Mario Formosa, who in 1965 founded this workshop.He was not even a teenager when he had a dream that would become a premonition: he would be a master tailor.From than on he started to work as an apprentice in a workshop and of course eventually he managed to open his own workshop, which is the same that I’m running today.He has been a passionate and hard worker enough to become one of the protagonists of the Neapolitan tailoring scene, one of the most prestigious and we could even say creative.I grew up “eating bread and tailoring” having my mom and dad both tailors.Nevertheless I decided to study Economy and Finance and to start a different carrier, still coming to the workshop very often, where I grew up, in the precious company of my dear father and all his incredible surrounding.

How do you think Naples has inspired you?

Naples is a special place full of naturally talented characters, renown for being a natural theatre for that. Our courtyard outside the workshop and the workshop itself was the stage for characters with nicknames as “Scippetiell” (little scar) a barber, or “the Lawyer”, an upholsterer that used to carry a 24hr bag all the time. We used to cook lunch in the workshop in a very informal atmosphere, sharing stories and jokes too. Some customers were welcomed too, as a very special “privè”.As a customer you would be considered a very special one to be invited.It’s always been surprising to me how much humanity you can find in a tailored garment. A jacket can take form from an informal conversation as we used to have, we could say inspired by those characters too.

How did you end up in charge ofthe workshop?

Unfortunately for a sad reason, but one day my father got sick and I decided that this world he has created, that belonged to me partly and which I belonged too, couldn’t finish with him. So I decided to quit my job and came to work here, not as a tailor of course, cause I’ve never really learned that art, but running the business keeping the tradition alive, with the same quality and passion that my father always put in the work.

To say that everything is fully handmade seems to me a bit obvious, because this is our custom and I’d take it for granted. Bespoke should bring handmade inside the meaning of the word, even though I know someone doesn’t respect that rule. We like to think we are playing already in a different league, thanks to the knowledge my father passed me.

What is Sartoria Formosa like today?

Today we are a dynamic and productive reality with traveling tailors who flies all over the planet for trunk shows, deeply rooted in the Neapolitan culture and its tailoring tradition, just with an hint of modernity, with a more contemporary vision. We make bespoke suits, sportcoats, and overcoats but also shirts, trench coats and we are now introducing the sahariana’s project, (safari jacket). Besides that I’ve developed a pret a porter collection that keeps all the qualities of our bespoke garments but translated in a ready to wear product.

What final words would you like to leave us with?

I just want to express how deeply in love I am with my hometown Naples and how big is my pride for being a Neapolitan citizen. I invite to visit my beautiful city and I will invite you for a Neapolitan espresso.

Sartoria Formosa


80121 Napoli


+39 081 414592