September 1, 2016

Posted in Fashion

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“No matter how long it takes,
or how much it costs,
some things made by skilled human hands in this world
are still worth every penny you pay,
and every day you wait for them.”

The new economic realities of today demand that rich or poor, every penny counts. With customers now realizing that low-prices are no guarantee of saving money in the long run, the adage of ‘you get what you pay for’ is ringing more true than ever. Designers working and still producing in western industrialized countries must now really deliver… the very best money can buy.”

Cavarzere Venezia is located along the banks of the Adige river as it winds down from the high Alps near Austria to the sea near the Venetian lagoons. There, the water and the sun have unique qualities, and are being used by the designer Geoffrey B. Small to create special fabric treatments and aging characteristics that are becoming famous among hand made designer clothing connoisseurs and collectors around the world.

A very special, limited edition collection of hand made pieces was created exclusively this season for Cruvoir in Los Angeles featuring some of Geoffrey B. Small’s advanced research concepts: new shapes, forms and proportions using new organic natural superlux Italian fabrics and material components in silk, linen, indigo, wool and superfine cottons, remarkable handmade detail pieces and techniques,  state-of-the-art new advanced hand woven fabric technologies, and sustainable clothes-making designs and techniques. And of course, more personalized hand work.

All from a house which is setting a new set of standards for a designer concept. From the exclusive collection: luxurious pure silk Bozzolo Reale Seta Milano threads used for hand-stitched buttonholes and detailing, hand stitch working sleeve buttonholes and buttons and exclusive new special sky blue plaid weave tape finishing trim on the hand dyed linen & cotton double-faced RSJ08special jacket, handmade horn button and hand stitch detail work on the RSC01 overcoat, single-pleat advanced styling on the STP08special L.Parisotto silk & linen jump weave trouser, beautiful detailing interior and handwork on the hand dyed  double-faced linen & cotton RSP04special handmade 1910’s suspender trouser, extensive handwork on the 3-in-1 removable collar on the SWS02 handmade L.Parisotto silk & cotton blouse.  All assembled with a  dedicated array and assortment of personal and progressive hand sewing and hand stitching techniques and details. The result: a new level of design beauty, value, and hand-worked comfort.

Geoffrey B. Small, Special jackets hang dry in the Cavarzere sun

Special jackets hang dry in the Cavarzere sun as part of their special hand-dye process.  The sun in Cavarzere during the summer is very strong and has special properties that affect and age textile fibers in a unique way.

Geoffrey B. Small, Hand Washing

The water at Cavarzere comes from the Adige, Italy’s second largest river which originates high in the Alto Adige – Süd Tirol region of the Italian Alps and contains calcium and other properties which give unique effects to the washing and dyeing process of Geoffrey B. Small’s work. The time-consuming and arduous process of hand-dyeing and hand-washing reflects centuries old methods, and yields timeless and ecologically sustainable results of beauty and individuality.

Geoffrey B. Small, Luigi Parisotto

Above: Luigi Parisotto, Geoffrey B. Small, Nicholas Giannelli, and Nobuhiko Akiyoshi working on the new spring-summer 2017 collection fabrics at Sarcedo, Vicenza. Luigi Parisotto and Geoffrey B. Small, research fabrics, a collaboration over 8 years.

Geoffrey B. Small, Luigi Parisotto

Geoffrey B. Small, Luigi Parisotto


“Human-based technology and Art”

For the past 8 years, Geoffrey B. Small have been steadily increasing the amounts of handwork involved in the creation of their pieces and they state, “The handmade component of our work is one of the highest in the designer industry bar none.”

Hand work requires no electricity, petroleum or machinery. It emits no carbon or methane into the atmosphere. It provides life skills and work to human beings and enables them to create garments autonomously with less dependency on a system with vastly diminishing resources (for example, one of us can execute a beautiful hand slip-stitch down a jacket front ourselves with just a needle, thread and know-how, far faster, less expensively, and more beautifully than the classic AMF machine system industrial alternative.) And it creates high value works that are beautiful, unique and meaningful in a multitude of ways.”

“The return to handwork is also leading Geoffrey b. Small to a new world of artistic perspectives and directions. “We are continuously pursuing and experiencing as we increase this new interpretation to maximize a very old application.”

Geoffrey B. Small Handmade 3-in-1 Removable Flower, Classic & Mandarin 2-Collar Fitted Tailor's Blouse

“3-in-1” removable collar design handmade L. Parisotto luxury silk & Super 120’s double-twist superlux cotton shirting. Just 1 made in the world this season for Cruvoir.

Hand-dyeing fabrics:

“Discovering an Art that spans our human history on earth”

“We have learned that the hand work concept is not at all limited to the cutting, sewing and assembly of our ideas. “During my time in Italy, I have had a marvelous chance to study and develop a wide and growing array of ways to treat and alter fabrics and materials and add new layers of dimensions to our design concepts, starting with established masters working in Italy, and then on my own in our studios at Cavarzere. Some of the most exciting and beautiful results have come from years of hand-dyeing our clothes in a long list of organic dyes and substances that each yield special results. Like hand clothes-making, hand dyeing with organic materials is a very sustainable technology that can use far less carbon-generated energy than traditional industrial procedures.”

Reducing the amount and quantities of product and making things that last as long as possible is a tantamount to the new wardrobe philosophy. It takes a tremendous amount of skill, time and work to make a Geoffrey B. Small limited edition article, and it is financially and logistically impossible to over distribute and over produce. Every piece must count for maker and wearer. If making clothing is going to cost more in the future, it must contain less waste, and that includes pieces that are over-produced on speculation using slave labor tactics. Micro-scale design and high value production specifically targeted to individual niche customers’ exact needs in exclusive and limited series is the logical sustainable and humane approach.

A new way of life,
a new way of work,
and a new way of
design and thinking.

Designed to last for years: up to 2 sizes larger or smaller. In addition, the massive, generous 2,5 centimeter seam allowances on all major fitting seams (almost 3 times wider than the standard production allowance in designer label clothes) — though they cost more fabric (and at almost 70 euros a meter in ultralux organic double-face linen and cotton fabric, that’s not insignificant)––allow the trouser to be altered and let out a full two sizes larger than its original cut. “Our experience is that people’s bodies are not static. They are dynamic, they change. People get bigger and smaller over the years, most men get bigger over time. Thus, if we make a young man a pair of size 48 trousers and over the years he becomes a 50 or even a 52, the trousers can be let out to fit him, and he can still keep and use his favorite pair of trousers with all the comfort and style that were carefully built into them when they were created. That’s what we call real value, and it’s fundamental to serious clothing. Done well, it can last you a lifetime. It’s not about designing for a season or a few weeks like ‘fast fashion.’ We are designing pieces for a person over a much longer term and point of view.”

The staff at Geoffrey B. Small form a most advanced, productive and tight designer workroom team. With a combined experience base of over 110 working years in the industry, the 4 senior members are ambitiously balancing their skill sets and knowledge base to train and develop a new generation of designer tailors at Via Spalato with a hands-on working master and apprentice approach that operates and competes at top levels of research, design and distribution. The 17 people will create and deliver about 2,200 pieces of handmade clothing in 2016 along with 4 original Paris prototype collections.

The personal touch is for real. “Every person who works with me here in the new expanded Via Spalato workrooms at Cavarzere Venezia does indeed touch each and every piece as it follows its unique and magical path of creation, with their full attention, heart, and passion. That’s why it looks and feels so personal, because it is, to each and every person here”.

Their focus has not been just to reproduce effects of “a day gone by,” but to look at, and arrive at, new and forward-looking applications of hand-work on modern 21st century life and design.

Special hand-dyed Black, organic L. Parisotto linen & cotton double-faced fabric, with handmade buttonholes & buttons in a super cool 1920’s pleated golf trouser knicker design.

Geoffrey B. Small Handmade 1920's Pleated-Front Knicker Short Trouser

The new RSJ08special handmade L.Parisotto hand dyed grezzo double-faced Linen and Cotton jacket and RSP04special trouser suit.

Geoffrey B. Small, RSJ08special Handmade Slim Fit 1 Button Double-Vented Jacket

Serica della Marca pure silk handmade advanced collar design shirt worn with Guidi 110 CO00T Full Grain Donkey Derby and the super limited modified short length 1920’s short knickerbocker double-pleated front trouser cut using Luigi Parisotto’s marvelous double-faced linen and cotton grezzo weave cloth — a perennial Geoffrey B. Small wardrobe design favorite used in the NVP08 and many other pieces created this season for Cruvoir.

“It is not a brand thing or a label thing. It merits the proof that a real human being is behind it. And that human being wants the eventual owner of the piece and anyone else who views it to know it as well. It is one human being passing a piece of his life’s work and passion, along with that of those who work beside him, to another human being in the form of a garment designed and built to surpass any previous preconceptions of a what a piece of clothing can possibly be.”

Buttons have become an integral part of Geoffrey B. Small design elements. Each one is work of art, playing its own key visual and tactile role in the total composition of the piece. Whether specially made for Geoffrey by Italy’s best artisan makers in Parma or Padova, or the late artist Karel Faber in Amsterdam using pure silver, or hand picked from dozens of the best vintage and antique suppliers in Europe, or actually refinished, modified or created and made by hand in our own studios, the average cost per button reaches well over 5 euros a piece, wholesale, with many clothing designs having between 50-100 euros worth of buttons sewn into them alone.

“We spend more for the buttons on one of our pieces than other designers spend on their main fabrics — it’s part of our Art. They are all different and each has a special story.” Add to that, the amounts of time that such an intense approach in both design decisions and production efficiency to a detail that normally is just done with all the same buttons, and the costs go into the stratosphere. Geoffrey B. Small production goes very slow when it comes to button operations — visually and functionally it’s so critical.

The buttonholes and buttons are all hand stitched on each of the special pieces made for us this season. Each hand stitched buttonhole requires 8-10 minutes of work to cut and stitch. Each handstitched button requires about 2 minutes. To produce the entire special collection this season for our order, a total of 298 handcut and sewn buttonholes were required, and 323 handsewn buttons, involving almost 60 and a half hours of highly skilled work just for the buttonholes and buttons.

Raising the bar:

A new level of designer label commitment.

A lot of ‘designers’ are now claiming to make handmade or ‘artisan’ clothes these days. But in fact, very few really are. Geoffrey B. Small’s goal is to redefine the role of real tailoring in modern clothing at the designer level. “We believe the new crises in the global economy are symptoms of an industrial system that no longer cares about customers, or human talent and skill, or people in general.

Now is a great time to return to the age old art of making clothes for people one at a time. To rehumanize the clothing experience to the value where it properly belongs. “We believe in offering the customer a new level of service and long term value and satisfaction.” GBS guarantees their limited edition pieces made for Cruvoir for one year under normal use for free parts and labor repair or replacement. After one year, they will make their services available at workroom rates for P&L. “Behind the label is not just a name, but someone who made and backs up the product and will try to help to keep it working for many years.”

We offer a personal service to customers in order to gain and share valuable on what we can do to make things better, including special order services. As a designer/retailer/consumer of clothing and what we call fashion, we must readapt our approach entirely to a world spiraling into chaos by a system of human civilization and philosophies that is not working — and whether humanity likes it or not — will change rapidly.

“After more than 30 years in the field, and more than 15 years at the Paris designer collections level, no period in my career has been more challenging and more important than this one. While our impact may be limited to a small circle, we must ask ourselves “what can we do?” And as our specialty and focus has been always at the forefront of the avant-garde we must also look and try to predict where things are going. Our goal in these difficult times as an independent designer, continues to be to survive and maintain our name and work by developing and introducing exclusive new solutions in design, manufacture and services that others in the industry will try to copy and follow.”