Meet The Person #30: Alessio Berto (Pattern Designer)
Today episode #30 of the topic Meet the Person with Alessio Berto. This topic Meet the Person is about passionate people, people in the denim industry. In Meet the Person I will give you an insight into their life; who are they, what are they doing, what makes them so special, where are they working on, etc. etc.
This new episode of Meet the Person is with Alessio Berto who’s a very respected pattern designer. Thanks for sharing your great denim story Alessio!
- Name: Alessio Berto.
- Living in village & country: Schio (Vicenza), Italy.
- Age: 49 years.
- Instagram ID: @thetailorpatternsupport_.
- Number of Instagram followers: 1.346 followers.
- Website: www.thetailorsupport.com
- Daily work: Pattern designer consultant.
Can you introduce yourself (who are you and what are you doing):
My name is Alessio Berto, I have been a pattern designer for 32 years. I grew up in a small town just outside Venice, after attending the school where my mother taught. At the age of 17, I started to work at a company that produced women’s prêt-porter. I did the size grading and helped to fold the fabrics, cutting as well as warehouse jobs, heavy-duty.
Alessio Berto at an age of 19 years.
I worked 26 years as an employee, and then in 2012 I started a consulting office called The Tailor Pattern Support where I share with companies, schools and those who had the need, the experience, and sensitivity that I have acquired over all these years and what I acquire every day collaborating with different kind of people.
My approach is technical because patterns cutting means to give the third dimension to a sketch. Somebody told me I’m a designer too… all these years I spent together with designers, researchers or buyers of used clothes have created me in a sort of ‘design vision’ that has developed my style and my taste. All born following the look of my favorite bands (English for the most) when I was a child.
Let me say that London was, and still is, transformed the provincial guy into an open-minded provincial man.
How did you enter the denim industry:
At the age of 21, I worked at a manufacturing company that produced a niche brand for Fashion Box called Rivet, and also some Replay trousers. This manufacturer also had a small pattern office specialized in research and development for German and English customers. They were developing and producing C&A and Boy London (the real one) and it was my first work impact with denim.
Alessio Berto working at Replay at an age of 22 years.
I also liked to go in the manufacturing department to see the beautiful workers and the Rivet garments in the making that I liked because they weren’t commercial, they were inspired by old denim you know, I was in love with used jeans and garments in general since I was only 14 years young.
For C&A, I did the size grading with CAD, on Boy I was in charge as pattern cutter as well picking up Boy labels to attach to my jackets. I met the Boy designer, who is still a dear friend of mine, Lee Farmer (he runs the Alicelee brand nowadays). In ’93 I switched to Replay which was funny because my contact was as a DJ for their fashion show which ended in working for them as a pattern maker.
From that moment, and for 5 years, I started to work for the first time on vintage and authentic garments and got obsessive attention to details, seams, threads colors, washes, etc. There I developed my sensitivity and my ability to work on archive garments.
I was working with the designer named Gilberto Frigo and with Claudio Buziol, he was ‘a few words men’, but very educated. They both taught me a lot. By the other side in the evening I attended the Dutch, English and Scottish Diesel jeans designers team, it was a lot of fun those days.
Alessio Berto together with Galliano people in 1993.
Then from 1998 to 2012, I worked for brands like Jean Paul Gaultier Jeans, Katharine Hamnett denim, DKNY Jeans, Andrew Mackenzie, Diesel Denim Gallery, Academy of Jacob Cohen and Gas among others. Because of my denim experience, new challenges and experiences came at Kenzo KI, Sport Chanel, Liberty of London, Brooks, etc. Thanks to all these experiences I have a 360° view on men pattern cutting.
For 26 years I worked in companies that produced under license or their brands, I met classic denim, fashion denim, and luxury sportswear. It was a very open-minded experience, in every sense. I had the fortune to know and to work together with the designers that were my idols when I was at school. I was very courageous at the time.
What are you doing at the moment:
Every day I work on patterns design for various companies, I don’t deal only with denim, but with the whole menswear universe, from wool to denim, to cotton, from shirts, trousers, jackets, coats and also duvets.
I can deal with informal classics to sportswear passing through technical thanks to the experience mentioned here above.
The last interesting project was “The Shape of Things to come” for Denim PV in Milan where I created a capsule of 6 items starting from some vintage garments of my archive and turning them into something very different (which is what a pattern maker does) inspired by the 50’s French haute couture or traditional and futuristic garments, in addition to a workshop on a made to measure 1940’s sailor jean for the public. I have adapted a trouser from the American Navy ‘The Mariner’ on the guests, it was fun.
Study of 1950s Peacoat.
Now I am preparing the third collaboration and a workshop for the next edition of Denim Premiere Vision (stay tuned) to be held in London in December and another collaboration with IED Milan. I have just concluded another beautiful collaboration with Iskool for the second time.
I find it very fascinating working with students and people that love this culture and try to give them useful information for their future work, but also simple stories about vintage clothes or industrial pattern cutting tricks.
I’m doing a cool work on a small brand called PeppinoPeppino from Simona Testucci (more about this brand here), which gives me a lot of fun because it’s free from trends (mostly).
PeppinoPeppino by Simona Testucci.
Where are you the proudest of so far as it comes to your work:
I always feel proud despite the difficulties (today this work is very difficult compared to how it used to be). I have been working for 32 years with all the passion possible and every day for me it’s a new day.
Working with big brands or with small niche projects is always new because each client has his vision and is therefore always a new beginning. The greatest satisfaction is when the garments are going well, at first sight, thanks to the experience and a good archive of tested blocks from which to start, and of course, the important information is given to me by my clients.
What’s the biggest denim trend(s) right now in your opinion:
I don’t know, I still think the Japanese approach. You know every season I see so many designs, so many projects that the word trends for me no longer has meaning anymore.
Being a technician I do not deal directly with trends because the trends come to me straight from the companies, of course, I always have to be informed about what’s happening around and my sensitivity is important too. I’m an executor.
Work by Alessio Berto.
And what would be the next denim trend:
In my opinion, the next trend must be strictly ethical and responsible rather than stylistic. There must be less use of chemicals or excess water, has to be responsible using innovative and ecological materials and technologies, less fabric consumption, making less clothes in general, pay employees and workers regularly and fair, pay the suppliers and small contractors the right price, make the people work in a safe environment, speak less and work more, teach the knowledge to the young generation, and keep the old generation skills as a kind of hip-hop original Zulu nation precept into the work system. I call it responsibility.
What’s your favorite denim brand(s):
Always the classic triad: in the name of the left-hand, right-end and the holy broken twill: not in order Lee, Levi’s and Wrangler.
I love all the clothes that come from workwear because they were created for a specific need, that’s why all the fashionable garments slowly pass and the real one remains. Some time ago I went to visit the M.O.D.E. (Museum Of Denim Elleti Group) the denim museum of Elleti (more about it here) and once again I had the confirmation of my thoughts: the fit, the seams, the shades of the indigo, the lines and the proportions, the stitches, no new garment has ever succeeded and will never succeed in giving me those emotions. Authentic creations from skilled hands.
See more of the M.O.D.E. (Museum Of Denim Elleti Group) here.
Where is your inspiration coming from:
In my work, my inspiration is closely linked to the emotion that the customer gives me when he explains a sketch or a project. In general, to get excited I have to do complicated things, then the excitement starts. I am very inspired by vintage garments and their story.
One day I was studying a Le Mont St. Michel jacket from the 1940s (a thing I always do with my archive garments), I discovered exceptional non-standard pattern shapes and presented them at the IED in Venice, reproducing a garment and explaining these anomalous features that gave the jacket an incredible fit.
My jacket was seen by Le Mont St. Michel at Pitti who commissioned me a prototype with my pattern and their manufacture; a friendship was born, thanks to my curiosity, passion, and inspiration.
Le Mont St. Michel jacket with Alessio Berto pattern.
In life, I like Jazz music and rare grooves, those are my engine, I collect vinyl and I enjoy interviewing my Jazz idols or the bands I loved as a teenager for their looks, and their stories.
I like to find the stylistic connection between a boy who grew up in a small town like me and people who have created the history of music and style, a very interesting exercise that keeps yourself with both feet on the ground. I transfer everything on my website, on the Stories section you can find some of my latest interviews, or in my old Jazzmotel blog.
What’s your favorite denim item in your closet en why:
A Levi’s 501xx 1944 rigid by Levi’s Vintage Clothing. It was given to me by a dear friend who works at Levi’s, I like it because it has a very high waist fit and because I don’t wash it in the water, the fit remains very out of standard. You surely know that the real Levi’s 501 fit was not it’s a final form (washed), but the shape before it would shrink.
Levi’s 501xx 1944 rigid by Levi’s Vintage Clothing.
What’s your favorite denim fit:
I would always say 1944 by Levi’s, but having made patterns for Sport Chanel collection where I worked for 5 years I have the craze for clean fronts…They use to pin 1 mm on the front rise on a nylon pant, this is what I call quality. You will laugh, but the responsibility of the Chanel tailors could see if I did or did not the alteration on the pattern (a great school).
Anyway, I like the line of the selvedge legs (the old ones) because the legs twist a lot but, having a straight side (selvedge), if you don’t know how to work the front rise line, you tend to have a ‘dirty’ front. So, legs of the 501 1944, and for the front rise, I like the classic Cowboy Wrangler which is very clean.
What’s your favorite denim city:
I think it’s still in London because before the boom of Japan there was a lot of research for vintage and denim in London. I must be honest in saying that I don’t travel much, I’m always locked in my office doing the dirty work… When I used to work at companies, they usually do not send pattern makers out for research trips (very wrong), but only the design people.
I’m doing my research in records and vintage clothes in London.
For the past seven years, I have been traveling to do research when I have the chance. I find it very important for a pattern maker to do this also because you can find out some good fits and workmanship too to study and use. I always recommend it to students (and also to companies owners).
Since I was 14 years I use to dress second hand, so my wardrobe became my inspiration archive. Most of the garments were bought in London. I think I’m sustainable.
Double breasted pattern by Alessio Berto.
Who’s your favorite denim designer:
I like Andrew Mackenzie with whom I also worked, he challenges all the rules of fit and fabric, and he knows what to do. It was very demanding to work with him, but he gave you a lot of satisfaction.
What do you think it’s the best invention in the denim industry:
Today? The marketing (lol). Yesterday the industrial manufacturing (I’m talking about the ’50s, and ’60s) because it has made the jean ‘well done’, uniforming it and making it very precise, both in the fit and in manufacturing.
Today some people look a lot at the brand or marketing, but a few know how to turn over jeans and tell you if it is well manufactured or not. Today many gaps are passed as artisanal or made with non-industrial machines. For me good denim has to be made well manufactured, in clothing, the Wabi-Sabi doesn’t work, a garment must dress well, have a good fabric and has to be well manufactured. The rest is marketing in which I am not interested.
Who’s your denim hero & why:
My heroes were the industrial tailors who made denim for sailors back in the days, who made those wonderful jeans with the perfect fit.
What’s your favorite denim store:
I honestly don’t know, I haven’t bought denim for more than 10 years, the last one (Levi’s 501XX 1944) was given to me. If I buy a pair of jeans I do it in my private deadstock channels, anyway I still think that Kiliwatch in Paris is always a topnotch store. Read the story of Jacques Grosz, Kiliwatch, Paris here.
What are your ultimate denim accessories:
I don’t use a lot of accessories in general, but I think that a beautiful US Navy 50’s sailor bag is the top for me.
What’s your favorite inspiration quote:
I have many quotes from famous designers, but I will give you mine: Stay humble, don’t be afraid to confront others, work hard, try to learn every day and remember to pass on what you learned.
Who do you love to see in the next Meet the Person:
Andrew Mackenzie as he has always had a different approach to denim, he has huge knowledge and it’s a pity that I don’t hear so often about him anymore.
Read the previous episodes of Meet the Person;
Meet the Person #1: Amy Leverton (Denim Dudes): here.
Meet the Person #2: Jacques Grosz (Kiliwatch store Paris): here.
Meet the Person #3: Guido Biondi (Roy Roger’s): here.
Meet the Person #4: Gerold Brenner (Designer, Trendforecaster): here.
Meet the Person #5: Leon Blok (Designer, tailor maker): here.
Meet the Person #6: Guido Kerssens (AMFI Amsterdam): here.
Meet the Person #7: James Veenhoff (Denim City, Jean School, Fronteer): here
Meet the Person #8: Moritz Fuchs (New Heritage Festival): here
Meet the Person #9: Christine Rucci (Godmother NYC): here
Meet the Person #10: Sean Gormley (Creative Director Wrangler E.M.E.A.): here.
Meet the Person #11: Piero Turk (Denim Designer): here.
Meet the Person #12: Peter Kats (Vice President Lee Jeans E.M.E.A.): here.
Meet the Person #13: Han Ates (founder of Blackhorse Lane Ateliers): here.
Meet the Person #14: Ben Viapiana (Bespoke Denim Tailor): here.
Meet the Person #15: Tony Tonnaer (founder Kings of Indigo): here.
Meet the Person #16: Maggy Tuijp (Denim Development at DENHAM the Jeanmaker): here.
Meet the Person #17: Nick Williams (Graphic Designer): here.
Meet the Person #18: Koen Tossijn: here.
Meet the Person #19: Sinem Celik (Denim Consultant): here.
Meet the Person #20: Stefano Angelico (Braves And Company): here.
Meet the Person #21: Simona Testucci (Peppino Peppino): here.
Meet the Person #22: Silvia Rancani (The Denim Window): here.
Meet the Person #23: Michael Kampe (Creative Director Lee Jeans): here.
Meet the Person #24: Iu Franquesa (Companion Denim): here.
Meet the Person #25: Haman Alimardani (Hamansutra): here.
Meet the Person #26: Kelly Harrington (Designer & Trend Forecaster): here.
Meet the Person #27: Marta Cellini (Designer & Fashion Consultant): here.
Meet the Person #28: Özgür Polat (Product Manager Amsterdenim): here.
Meet the Person #29: Emilie Casiez (Nigel Cabourn Woman Designer): here.