MEN OF THE CLOTH IndieGoGo Video from Vicki Vasilopoulos on Vimeo.

We recently had the chance to speak with Vicki Vasilopoulos, Greek-born filmmaker and creative mind behind the Italian tailoring documentary "Men of The Cloth". We wrote about this film awhile back and have been closely watching the progress ever since. While much deserved attention has been given to the menswear documentary O'Mast (which we fully intend to see), we think this film may have just as deep an impact on the tailoring industry and how it is viewed by the novice and expert alike.

The film is currently in post production and is in serious need of funding. Vicky has just launched a crowd funding campaign over at IndieGoGo offering some stellar perks in return for nominal donations. She's also been a contributor to the Men of Habit magazine campaign and is an integral part of the style community. Here is the long hand of our conversation with Vicki.  Support "Men of The Cloth" HERE and HERE.

Image Granted - What was your inspiration behind creating Men of The Cloth?

Vicki Vasilopoulos -  I met one of my characters (Checchino Fonticoli) when I traveled to Italy on a reporting trip during my tenure as a fashion editor for the men’s news magazine, DNR. Checchino was the head designer and master tailor at Brioni when I toured the factory and tailoring school in Penne, Italy – and that sowed the seeds for the idea of the film. About a year later I started doing research and pre-production – I talked to people who were familiar with this world and I interviewed potential subjects by phone. When I paid a visit to tailors Nino Corvato in New York and Joe Centofanti in Ardmore, PA (both had a reputation as masters of their trade), I knew right away that they were incredibly compelling and sympathetic characters and clearly passionate about their craft. If they had been the best tailors ever to walk the earth but had an entirely different personality, then I may not have cast them for the film.

Having said that, I actually interviewed a few other tailors, and I originally intended on taking a more conventional approach and make the film about the different schools of Italian tailoring. But I switched gears after a few years and decided to make a character-driven film because I felt that the human element resonated more – and would ultimately have a more universal appeal for my audience.
IG - What is the most difficult part of creating a film like this? What is most enjoyable?
VV - Funding an independent film, especially during the recession (and as a first-time producer/director) has been quite challenging. Also, the logistics of shooting abroad have been exhausting at times. The most enjoyable aspect of making this film is exploring my characters’ lives. For me, it’s very rewarding, and it’s a privilege to get to know them and get them to trust you with their stories.

IG - Why are you so interested in old world men's tailoring?

VV -I’ve always been fascinated with handmade things because I believe they have a little bit of the soul of the person who creates them. Men’s tailors inhabit a world that’s characterized by a personal relationship with their clients; it’s just a simple purchase, it’s like commissioning a work of art. And I’ve always loved art in all its forms!

IG - Who did you create this film for? Who is your target audience?

VV - The core audience is individuals who are interested in bespoke or tailor-made clothing, as well as Italian-Americans. The film also has a strong appeal for those who love fashion and design, and Italian culture in general.

IG - What do you hope to accomplish with this film?

 

VV -  First, I hope to entertain and inspire people. But I also hope that my film will spark an intergenerational dialogue on the value of artisanship, and what we’re losing as our society moves increasingly to a globalized economy devoid of a personal connection between the creator and consumer.

IG - Who are your personal style icons?

VV - Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, Sean Connery as James Bond. I love to see men from all walks of life whose personality shines through with the clothes they wear. It makes my day when I see a man on the street expressing his sartorial élan.

IG - What stage of production is the film in?
VV - The film is in post-production with an initial rough cut completed. I’ve just launched a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo in order to raise the money to finish editing the film. Many of the rewards we’re offering are donated by fine menswear companies like Carrot & Gibbs (bow ties), Ike Behar and Mel Gambert (shirts) and the tailoring film Adrian Jules of Rochester, NY. In addition, some superb English suiting cloth has been donated by Isles Textile Group (H. Lesser), Gladson Ltd. (J. & J. Minnis) and Holland & Sherry.
IG - When and where can viewers expect to see the film?

VV - I’m still working out my distribution strategy. But I anticipate premiering on the film festival circuit next spring or summer. Distributors look for that kind of exposure with an independent film. Then we’ll try to get a broadcaster interested, as well as setting up a video-on-demand option. And of course, we’ll be releasing the DVD and doing screening events.

IG - Do you see this type of tailoring still existing ten years from now?

VV - For the most part, it’s probably going to be a made-to-measure landscape, with very few true custom or bespoke tailors around. Unfortunately, there simply aren’t enough young people going into this trade.

IG -  What can we expect to see from you in the future?

VV - I hope to make more documentary films and get back to doing more writing for magazines. I’d also like to delve into multimedia journalism and video projects for other companies.

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