Luxury is a word that’s bandied about with gusto, but nowadays its meaning has been somewhat diluted. To Petrash and Gonsenhauser, when it comes to clothing, the term points to one thing: Made in Italy. Luxury is in the feel of a garment, in the make of it, in the tradition attached to it—and in the attitude it will lend the wearer. Luxury isn’t suiting that’s been assembled outside of Italy butgiven a finishing stitch within its borders, gaining that seemingly all-important Made in Italy label. Luxury doesn’t come in plastic fabrics—like polyester or nylon—which block breathability. It’s certainly not disposable, ill-fitting suiting. When they fleshed out what Leone Napoli would become, Petrash and Gonsenhauser knew they wanted to bring true luxury to menswear.
“We take very classic designs—and also what’s fashion—and we translate that for our North American clientele,” says Gonsenhauser. “It’s a very, very different interpretation of an Italian brand.”
It took two full years to build Leone Napoli. Research was done in person in Italy, involving multiple trips to Biella, for fabrics, and to Casalnuovo di Napoli, where all great tailoring takes place. “We went through a lot of trials and tribulations with different manufacturers,” notes Gonsenhauser. “I knew what the manufacturing process was from a North American point of view and an Asian point of view, and I had an idea of what I wanted,” Petrash says. “But when you want to produce what we’re producing, it’s very, very specific.” Italy’s artisanal tailors are very guarded. Petrash and Gonsenhauser approached everything with care, and their product itself falls in line with the concept of slow—rather than the ubiquitous fast—fashion. Their work paid off. Leone Napoli only creates garments in small runs, and every single piece of clothing is artisanally handcrafted by a family-run manufacturer, allowing everything to be monitored carefully.
LEONE is Sartorial Streetwear.