British Columbia

Master tailor and Burnaby resident Pat Cocco reflects on international success

You may not have heard of him but you have probably seen his suits on the shoulders of Ryan Reynolds, Robin Williams, and Ben Affleck.

Seeing the 2010 Olympic flag bearers wearing his suits was his proudest moment, says Pat Coco

Pat Cocco describes his design to a cutter at Cocco's tailor shop, Seville Tailors. (Margaret Gallagher/CBC)

You may not know have heard of him but you have probably seen his suits on the shoulders of Ryan Reynolds, Robin Williams, and Ben Affleck.

Burnaby resident and master tailor Pat Cocco has spent the past 60 years honing his skills, gaining an international reputation thanks to his old-world attention to detail.

"It's actually an art because all bodies are different — different geometry, different figures. Then you have the different styles, so you have to adapt to the measurement," said the 70-year old.

Seeing eight Canadian heroes carry the Olympic flag into B.C. Place during the 2010 games in Vancouver was his proudest moment, he said. That's because they were wearing suits made by Cocco himself.

The Olympic flag during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games opening ceremony was carried by astronaut Julie Payette, actor Donald Sutherland, singer Anne Murray, former figure skater Barbara Ann Scott, Senator Romeo Dallaire, hockey legend Bobby Orr, auto racer Jacques Villeneuve and Betty Fox, mother of Terry Fox. (olympicvancouver2010/Youtube)

"More people saw my work that night around the world, than any other tailor in the world. The whole world saw that," he said.

"Wow what a feeling."

'We came from Italy ... from nothing'

Cocco grew up in a small Italian town where it was common for families to send children to apprentice with trades people at a young age.

Cocco's mother sent him to a tailor.

When he immigrated to Canada as a 13-year old, his grandmother, who was already living in Vancouver, found him a job with a tailor in town.

Cocco spent two decades working with the city's best tailors before striking on his own in 1985 with Seville Tailors.  

Now, suits from Seville Tailors are known around the world, especially in Hollywood. Film stars who come up to Vancouver to shoot a movie sometimes walk away with one of Pat Cocco's suits.

Seville Tailors workshop is crammed full of suits, shirts, uniforms and other handmade garments of every shape, size and style. He creates many items for the film industry. (Margaret Gallagher/CBC)

Cocco patted himself on the back when asked about his success.

"We came from Italy ... from nothing … it's a good feeling."

Passing the torch 

Cocco's 27-year old son started learning the trade from his father just three years ago.

He admires his father's handiwork every time a client walks out the door.  

"One guy can have a huge dip in his shoulder and have a hunchback ... and how [my father] manipulates the jacket to make it look like this guy sits upright …. I see my dad do this constantly, all the time," said Raffael Cocco.  

Pat Cocco is teaching his son, Raffael, everything he knows about tailoring. (Submitted by Pat Cocco)

Pat Cocco says no matter what his son chooses to do, the most important thing is to love your work.

"Do whatever you like, but you got to work hard at it."


To listen to the full interview, click the link labelled: Pat Cocco, tailor for Nick Nolte, Don Cherry and Julie Payette.

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