The Economy of Persistence: Mario the Tailor

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Prudence Black


Mario Conte has had a tailor shop in King Street, Newtown since the mid 1960s. Taking an interview with Mario as its point of departure, this article describes the persistence of a skilled worker whose practices and techniques remain the same in a world that has long changed. While inattentive to what rules might be used to decorate a shop window, Mario continues to make and sew in the way that he learnt in post-war Italy. Mario’s persistence could be described as all the skills and other elements that need to be in place to keep him working, in particular the tradition of tailoring techniques he has remained true to over the last fifty years. The hand stitching of his tailoring is like a metronome of that persistence.

Article Details

Dressing the Body (Peer Reviewed)
Author Biography

Prudence Black, University of Sydney

Prudence Black is an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. She researches in the fields of Fashion Studies and Aviation Cultures. Her latest book Smile, Particularly in Bad Weather is forthcoming with UWA Press (2106).