The year is 1950.
A 17-year-old Italian boy is sleeping under a table inside a tailor shop in the city of Formia, Italy. Throughout his childhood, he begged on the streets to help feed his family, fled his hometown due to war, lived in a refugee camp, and finally found unpaid work as a tailor's apprentice after the Allied forces defeated the Axis powers. Formia isn't home; that was destroyed during the war.
For five years, the boy stays in that shop learning how to sew while sleeping under a table. What he doesn't know yet is where his education will take him. More specifically, he doesn't know which Midwest American city he'll eventually call home.
Fast forward to 1968 and the boy, now a 34-year-old man, flicks on the light switch of a room inside 7121 Miami Avenue in Cincinnati, igniting what will go on to become a legacy Queen City business years later. It's his new tailor shop. He's 4,885 miles as the crow flies from that little store in Formia. He's older, wiser, and passionate about his burgeoning endeavor. He's sleeping comfortably in a bed now.
He's Romualdo Pelle of Romualdo Bespoke Tailoring.
For the next 32 years, he will be the only tailor on staff at his shop. Cincinnati (specifically Madeira) will understand what it means to have a local, classical tailor who does it the way only an Italian immigrant who learned from a master tailor in the 1950s would.
He won't retire, either. He'll keep tailoring and designing his own fashion lines throughout the ensuing years. At 84-years-old, Romualdo and his staff will collaborate on a fashion line designed for women on the cusp of celebrating 50 strong years in business.
Today, Romualdo Bespoke Tailoring is owned by others, but Romualdo himself remains on staff, lending his expertise to the well-dressed people of Cincinnati despite being past the age of retirement. That passion he harbored in 1968 hasn't diminished. His American dream is realized.
Congratulations on 50 years of business, Romualdo. We put together a gallery showcasing photos of his shop, styles, and more above. Scroll up to see it.
- - -
Romualdo Bespoke Tailoring is still located at 7121 Miami Avenue (45243).