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America’s Best Bespoke Clothing Maker Is So Anonymous It’s Called "America’s Best Worn Secret"
Except for fashion’s savviest insiders, America’s top custom-bespoke suit maker remains a mystery, despite it being one of two Grade 6 Makers left. Here, finally, is the inside secret shared by a handful of fashion’s most dashing men.
By: Stinson/R. Ely & Partners
But dollar-for-dollar, handstitch-for-
Despite a humble birth in 1964, its start-up financed from the savings of its two, Italian immigrant co-founders, Adriano Roberti and Julio Volantere -- both guild-trained, Master Tailors – their Rochester, New York-based Adrian Jules would grow into one of America’s most highly-respected makers of custom-bespoke clothing. Passionately patriotic to America, they chose an Anglo-ized marriage of their first names for their company’s marque. From Adriano Roberto came "Adrian." Julio Volantere contributed its last name, "Jules." Hence was born today’s Adrian Jules.
Now helmed by the sons of its co-founder, Adriano Roberti, it ranks America’s oldest, still-family-
Then, as now, Adrian Jules symbolizes a level of craft that’s near extinct in America. In an era of machine-made Mc-Everythings, when the vast majority of designer and luxe men’s suits, tell industry statistics, are techno-automated miracles, their entire make, from raw fabric to finished product, requiring just 100-minutes, on average, to justify their $1,800 to $3,000 retail price tag, Adrian Jules’s meticulously hand-stitched suits demand more than 20-hours of hand-tailoring, alone, to complete. Prep to final finishing stack-up still added hours.
Despite the simple tools and delicate finesse of its artisan hand-tailoring, every Adrian Jules’ suit is a near-indestructible work-of-art;
At its founding, Adriano Roberti and co-founder, Julio Volantere, each swore that their company would create hand-crafted garments, exclusively. Today, Adrian Jules still favors the simple, hand-held tools used by three centuries of bench-trained, Master Tailors to flawlessly shape cloth into prized, custom-bespoke garments: Scissors, thread, a hot iron and tailor’s chalk.
Within this narrow mission, it excels.
Since its founding, Adrian Jules has won more Blue Ribbons for Excellence from the Custom Tailors & Designers Association (CTDA) than has any other American clothing maker. Among it’s staff of 50, highly skilled sewers, half are true tailors. Beside the largest number of Master Tailors, it also counts more true tailors than does any other American clothing maker. It has been honored by the Robb Report, praised in Cigar Aficionado as one of America’s few remaining makers of true, bench-made custom-bespoke apparel and touted in Town & Country’s Guide to America’s Top Tailors.
Even more important, Adrian Jules ranks among a tiny clique of the world’s most elite clothing makers who still hand-craft true, "Grade 6 Make" clothing.
During the early-1900s, the numbers of Grade 6 Makers in America tallied several hundred. Now, probably less than 100 makers, worldwide, still tout a Grade 6 Make. Today, America counts just two Grade 6 makers: New York’s Adrian Jules and Chicago’s Oxxford Clothes. Each stands a toe-to-toe rival with Europe’s most vaunted brand dynasties.
Grade 6 Make dates to the late-1890s and traces its birth to the United Garment Workers. Created to establish an industry-wide employee compensation system throughout America’s garment industry, Grade 1 to 6 was originally a pay-by-ranking system created to objectively benchmark pay scales and hourly compensation to a garment worker’s knowledge, talent and skill level.
During the early- to late-30s, the six grades – particularly Grade 6 – had gained such wide-spread popularity that the grades became a competitive rating system used by clothing makers to rank themselves among their rivals. In short, Grade 1 to 6 came to identify an industry pecking-order:
But by the late-1940s, the prestigious Grade 6 Make had eroded into irrelevancy, its once luxury connotation a victim of WW II wool rationing by the War Production Board and a wartime shift to armaments by U.S. factories and factory workers. Later, automation, then computerization -- and now, robotics – continue to transform men’s suits into marvels of high-speed, technological production. Their genesis from cloth to finished garment, now measured in just minutes, has rendered the once highly revered, Grade 6 Make, near obsolete. Now, only a handful of fashion’s savviest insiders understand the term and use it correctly.
Today, the cost of Grade 6 clothing is beyond the reach of most consumers, save for a handful of well-to-do connoisseurs who demand an impeccably hand-tailored fit, elegant fabrics and the painstaking quality of bespoke craftsmanship.
Surprisingly, the retail price of a handmade, Adrian Jules, Grade 6 Make suit is no more – and sometimes less – than the cost of an all-machine-
But whether the yardstick measures quality, artisan hand-make, flawless fit, exquisite fabrics or any of the other benchmarks connoisseurs use to judge "value," there’s still another very significant reason every Adrian Jules suit delivers the biggest-bang-
About Adrian Jules:
Founded at Rochester, New York, in 1962 by Adriano Roberti and Julio Volantere – both guild-trained, Italian immigrant Master Tailors – Adrian Jules now ranks the oldest, and largest, still-family-
One of two "Grade 6 Makers" remaining in America, Adrian Jules has won more Blue Ribbons for Excellence from the Custom Tailors & Designers Association (CTDA) than has any other American Clothing Maker.
Adrian Jules, Ltd., is headquartered in Rochester, New York, at 1392 Ridge Road East, 14621. Telephone for either corporate offices or Arnald Roberti, co-CEO, is (585) 342-5886. Telephone for Peter Roberti, co-CEO and director of retail operations is (585) 381-1111. Website is http://www.adrianjules.com/
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Stinson/R. Ely & Partners is a 25-year-old, San Diego- and New York-based publc relations and publicity firm specializing in fashion designers and luxury-niched fashion brands. American brands and designers are the company's exclusive focus.