Suits are back in fashion. Every handsome hipster and his dog seem to be sporting a tailor made suit / vest / jacket / shirt in Melbourne (and I’m guessing, other Australian cities?) these days… which I must say I APPLAUD wholeheartedly, because a well dressed gentleman should always be encouraged.
However, trends are transient. Time-honoured experience isn’t. Today we meet a family owned business who have been practising authentic bespoke tailoring in Melbourne since 1954, and are still at the top of their game. Meet the Carbones – Domenico Carbone (owner, director and master tailor – son of Pino), Pino Carbone (company founder, master tailor, family patriarch!) and Kellie Carbone (Dom’s wife, company sales manager and stylist).
Carbone Master Tailors specialise in bespoke suiting and tailored garments for both men and women. Based in Brunswick, all Carbone’s garments are still 100% made in house by Pino Carbone and his son Dom. With over 85 years of combined experience between them, Dom and Pino offer a level of service and meticulous attention to detail that is rarely found these days, servicing a loyal clientele who understand what ‘bespoke’ really means.
‘The word ‘bespoke’ has been used very loosely over the last 5 or so years, it’s even used to describe food these days, which is very funny!’ explains Dom’s wife Kellie Carbone. ‘True bespoke tailoring is made by a master tailor, taking the measurements and crafting the garment specifically for you’ she elaborates.
Pino Carbone migrated from Italy to Australia in 1949, and after a few years working as a tailor, he started his own business in 1954. His son Dom joined the business at age 15, and father and son still work together in their workshop every day! As so many craft-based enterprises have done, the family business has grown and contracted over the years, and these days is operated day to day by Dom and his wife Kellie. On weekends and holidays, their two young kids will be found here too, working for their pocket money!
PINO ON DOM
Dominic was always with me, willing to work and interested in the business from a young age. He wanted to come to work with me and be involved. He soon became more efficient, talented and harder working than the many staff I had.
I guess it was only natural for Dom to be interested in the family business as most young sons are usually influenced by their fathers, similarly to how I was influenced by my father. My father wanted us to learn a trade before we came to Australia, so we spent time over three years with my father’s cousin who was a tailor in his shop in Italy. There were no tailors in Australia when we arrived, so we kept working as tailors, and I eventually opened Carbone Tailors in 1954.
Dom was around me from a very young age and quickly knew how to draft original patterns – he crafted a tailored jacket when he was just seven-years-old! As a parent I am most proud of Dom’s willingness to do the things that please him.
DOM ON PINO
I have fond memories of growing up in the Carbone household. My dad started his business in the 50’s, so has been tailoring since before I was born. As a child I remember my father being very easy going, however he was always very work focused and a little strict.
My father has influenced and supported my career, but has always allowed me the freedom to do what I want, and has known that my choices were my own. I was always interested in the job he did and wanted to follow in his footsteps, so it was a natural progression for me to join the family business. We were always in the factory as children, so it happened naturally, as it was huge part of my life. Over the years our roles have shifted – I now run the business and am the decision maker, but I always respect my father’s opinions.
Our hopes for Carbone Tailors in the future is to be recognised internationally for our expert craftsmanship and knowledge in bespoke tailoring, and to continue to grow.
Carbone Master Tailors
297 Lygon st
Open by appointment, Monday to Friday 8.30am – 4.30pm, Saturday 8.30am – 1.00pm.