Anthony Ferrario

Dec 3rd, 2012

Uniforma collaborated with San Francisco-based designer Anthony Ferrario to manufacture the pieces in the December collection. Anthony specializes in denim and leather-work, including custom pieces.  He has ten years professional designing and sewing experience, including with Levi’s, and is a master tailor. Anthony works on vintage machines using USA-made denim.

U: How did you become interested in sewing?

AF: I guess I became interested in sewing as a child.  My mother and my grandmother were both expert sewers.  I wasn't allowed to use their machines but I did learn to hand sew.  I got more serious about sewing as a young adult and it quickly became my obsession.

U: What's your work space like? What are your tools?

AF: Right now I have four industrial machines.  I have a walking foot, straight stitch, a three thread over lock, a zigzag and a buttonhole machine (that one is down).  I set up a cutting bench in the window for the natural light and some scenery.  There are leather tools, pattern making tools, lots of fabric, hardware, thread and notions, a professional press, a dope black velvet painting of a magical horse, an antiqued map of the United States and a bed, ha.  I am moving to a retail space soon but at the moment, I am working out of my room.

U: How did you start working in denim? A lot of your denim pieces are custom, one-off, but jeans and jackets are such workaday clothing. What's special about custom denim?

AF: I have always used denim because it is such a "workaday" fabric.  It's durable, comfortable, it's always been stylish and it also can be amazing.  I learned a lot more about the history, importance and application of denim when I worked for Levi's.  I could probably write a book on the history, geopolitics and environmental benefits that custom tailored clothing provides.

I learned that there are categories of the fabric itself.  The denim used today in your average run-of-the-mill pair of jeans is usually made on a wide loom with synthetic fibers added to the cotton.  These pieces look great for about 3 months and the thrill is gone.  There are American mills that still make denim on shuttle looms, namely Cone Mills in North Carolina.  Their premium White Oak denim is superb.  This denim is made to last and look excellent for several years.  Personally I cannot justify buying clothing made in countries who exploit their work force and sacrifice quality for quantity.  I have enough on my mind without thinking about the negative implications of a piece of clothing that I put on every day.  

As far as custom tailored and designed clothing goes; nothing is more luxurious then an article of clothing that was specially constructed just for you.  Everyone has experienced trying on clothing at a store that is supposedly your size but something just doesn't fit right whether it be a gaping waistband, a rise that is too high or too low, wrong sleeves, chest or torso length, etc.  Custom tailored clothing alleviates these problems altogether.  If you add up the benefits of clothing that fits you perfectly, is made out of the best natural fibers and contributes to your local economy, then it is plain to see that the garments that I make are a better lifestyle choice and much cheaper in the long run.  Every purchase you make in this world is a vote you cast for what kind of world you want to be in.  With my garments you can look fresh and feel good about yourself all at the same time!

U: What were some of the challenges with the December Uniforma Collection?  What was your part of the process?

AF: Well, the challenges of creating any new product are similar.  I take an idea or a sketch and create patterns, then samples and finally produce the product. I discuss everything from fit to fabric, hardware and notions.  Uniforma was no different.  Probably the biggest challenges were getting the right leather for the tote bag and also working out the perfect drape for the womens frock.

U: What's you uniform -- your ideal, go-to outfit?

AF: Well I definitely have an every day uniform that consists of my own custom jeans, a denim or chambray shirt made by LVC, a custom hunting-style vest that I made from an all black denim, a ‘70s style, green, mesh-backed hat that says “Madori” on it, and my Doc Martin desert boots.

U: What projects do you have coming up?

AF: The future is bright.  I am designing my own line of premium men’s clothing called "Pull & Be Damned." I am going to be working with a lingerie line in LA, a few children's lines; one in Oakland and one from Pennsylvania.  I am going to be doing some denim and canvas bike accessories for a Bike Shop in SF.  I will be continuing to work with the Uniforma line and much more.  The most exciting thing is that I will be opening up a production house in a storefront in Oakland in February (hopefully).  It will be open to all designers, large and small to help launch their ideas into the universe.