For our annual Men's issue, we take a peek inside a local multi-generational menswear and tailoring shop dawning a new era. Read on to learn more about its new ownership, new brands, and a new campaign to offer custom-made bespoke tailored women’s jackets while steadfast in the style and service that made them a Cincinnati staple.
A well-dressed man. That’s been the goal since 1968 for Romualdo Bespoke Tailoring, now a fashion staple for menswear in Cincinnati.
The multi-generational store draws in the city’s stylistically inclined and features authentic menswear, bespoke garments, and old world tailoring.“The garments at Romualdo are uniquely tailored, lifestyle-focused, and have a technicality and personal flair to them,” says owner Chris Berre.
The store gets its name from founder Romualdo Pelle, an Italian immigrant and one of the last master tailors in the world. He opened the store in 1968, in the same location that it’s in today. “With Romualdo’s unparalleled skill set, he brings an invaluable level of experience that clientele would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere,” says Berre.
Berre and his business partner Tim Brock purchased the store a year ago. While they are fairly new to ownership, they consider themselves to be veterans in the fashion and retail industry who each play a major role in the day-to-day operations of the store.
“It was because of Romualdo that we fell in love with men’s fashion and aim to maintain and carry on that legacy,” says Berre. “It was actually through an interesting turn of events that we ended up in the fashion industry.”
Berre is a former attorney, but always had a passion for men’s style. So much so, he says, that while attending law school, he started a neckwear line with a friend called Artfully Disheveled.
“It was distributed to a variety of small specialty stores, but I had an urge to get to know the business better and began working nights and weekends at Romualdo,” he explains. “It was not long before I fell in love with it, decided to depart from my background in law to pursue men’s fashion full-time.”
Brock has worked at Romualdo’s for 17 years and is a true veteran of the shop. Currently, Brock is responsible for all revenue generation processes as well as leading and growing the sales network, establishing connections with new brands, setting and implementing client strategies, and more.
When asked what inspired them to purchase Romualdo’s when they had the opportunity, Berre says that is was the charismatic and diligent presence of Romualdo Pelle that made them jump at the chance to take over ownership.
“The legacy of Romualdo is important to us, and we aspire for our ownership to stand the test of time,” adds Berre, “continuing to produce the same quality suits.”
Since Berre and Brock purchased Romualdo, they’ve brought about several changes to the store, including a redesign of the store that’s slated to be finished in September. This redesign includes extensive construction to redefine the store’s space and also aid with the brand’s new identity.
“The brand’s evolution will include new brands and selections that will tie us back to our roots while engaging our rights on the future of contemporary collections,” says Berre. “These collections include those of the acclaimed Billy Reid, a fashion designer based in Florence, Alabama, who self-describes his brand as ‘lived-in luxury.’”
The store also plans to add Private White V.C., which is, according to Berre, a British luxury outerwear brand that opened its doors in 1853 and now has the last remaining clothing factory in the world’s first industrial city of Manchester, England.
In addition to these new offerings, Romualdo’s now offers custom-made bespoke tailored women’s jackets that coincide with a campaign called “If These Sleeves Could Talk.”
“The initiative features five powerful women who were fitted for jackets, and through it, current and potential clientele will be privy to a glimpse at the quality of the fine attire and the viewpoints of these local, influential women,” says Berre.
These new changes aren’t all that you’ll see at the store. Berre says that their new ownership of the store means that the brand will continually evolve along with the changes you see in retail and fashion while also staying true to Romualdo’s roots and upholding premier quality.
Then there are things that will stay the same. Like the fact that 60 percent of Romualdo’s clothing is custom-made. “We offer a unique set of wardrobe staples that flow seamlessly from day to night, so clients can be assured that no matter what the event may be, their investment will be well-spend and heavily used,” says Berre.
Berre and Brock want to maintain the legacy of Romualdo and remain dedicated to seeing the store succeed, and also continue to produce garments of the highest quality.
“The origins of our hard work span over 50 years,” says Berre. “Pelle grew up in poverty in Mussolini’s Italy. His family was homeless and part of his childhood was spent living in a cave. It was his godfather who drove Pelle toward tailoring in his teens, and he has worked to augment his bespoke tailoring mastery to provide flawless fittings ever since. The work ethic that made the store what it is shines through today, and is evident in the finer details that turn a simple, nice outfit into a head-turner. In a world where ‘ready-to-wear’ clothing has become the norm, garments like these that fit the wearer to a tee are sure to stand out anywhere.”
“The little blue door on Miami Avenue is always open for anyone who is interested to come in, enjoy some bourbon with us, and learn more about the power of bespoke tailoring,” adds Berre.