Handmade Neapolitan shirt

Worn since 2011


Could you introduce yourself?

I'm Alexander Rymkevich, the editor-in-chief of The Rake Russia magazine.

Could you introduce us to this piece? Where did it come from? How old is it ?

This is a denim shirt by Maria Santangelo shirtmakers in Naples. It is approximately six or seven years old.

Did it belong to someone else before you? Did you buy it for yourself? Why did you buy it? How did you find it?

It was a gift from Maria Santangelo and her family. I met them exactly ten years ago at the Pitti Uomo menswear tradeshow in Florence. They had just started to show in a very tiny space outside of the big pavilions. I wouldn’t have noticed them if the wind didn’t blow the sleeve of the shirt... it literally slapped my face. I looked at it and was very impressed by the feather-light fabric and the beautiful hand-stitching. They didn’t speak much English and my Italian was very limited (not to even mention Neapolitan), but we somehow became friends and I remained a big admirer of their work.

Do you remember the first time you wore it?

I don’t remember the first time I wore it – but I do sadly remember the last one. I knew the day had come – the underarm cracked last December when I put my luggage in the overhead bin of an airplane in Burma. A sad, sad day it was.

What are your memories of this piece?

I wore it for several years with chinos, tweed jackets, and sometimes with darker jeans. It was one of my favorite shirts. It looked pretty informal, but many parts were handmade and I often received comments from those who could tell.

Are there any signs of wear and tear?

It has properly worn-out, the denim has faded, the collar and cuffs have become rubbed and it overall became very soft and fragile – even though it is still very pleasant to wear.

Have you already repaired this piece?

I’m afraid there’s not much left to repair, but I’ll keep it as a memory of the craft and kindness of Maria Santangelo, who unfortunately has passed away recently.