The Economy of Persistence: Mario the Tailor

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.

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