Paolo Vitale: Belts Handmade in Italy

Paul Simon Co Featured

Paolo Vitale is a family owned company started by Giovanni Forleo in 1989, as small business focusing on handcrafted accessories. By the year of 1996 the company was formed into the brand Paolo Vitale, a name that came from the current owners grandfather. By the year of 2002 the grandsons of Paolo Vitale inherits the company which brings the company in to the new millenia.

Even though there was a generation switch the core of the company still stands and focusing on high quality belts. Where everything is handmade from scratch where detail is everything.

2012 the company expands their wares and are now crafting other accessories for men.

To sum it all up, it is a genuine Italian brand and company with passion and technique which has been passed down from generation to generation.


Paolo Vitale enterprise wants to preserve the reached high quality levels using the handicraft and the passion in the production of belts, bracelets and bags for men. Old and family techniques, acquired from one generation to another one, make each accessory unique. Make a good deal isn’t just a matter of trade.

It’s a matter of believe in your job using the same passion of 40 years ago, while becoming a focus for the whole men fashion world. Paolo Vitale means experience, handicraft and Made in Italy.


The first step of Paolo Vitale’s production concerns the choice of raw materials which are carefully selected and cut. Each section is dyed (following the immersion process or using common buffers) and then washed to discharge the colour in excess. Later each part is dried at room-temperature: The main aim is not to dehydrate the leather. The dyes used by Paolo Vitale are exclusive because they are handmade internally, in collaboration with chemists and technicians. Each section has its own perfection process as the polishing system (thanks to different waxes or nutritious creams) or the hot ironing process to fix and intensify the colour, increase the resistance of the dye used and mitigate the shadings. All Paolo Vitale’s procedures are completely home-made and handmade.


To avoid any defects and enhance the quality of the leather, all Paolo Vitale products are hand-cut, carefully selecting the best parts on which to cut. The use of cutting dies is a manual technique in use for at least a century. The blades of the dies are angled at 19 ° to obtain a better rendering of the corners and edges of each product. A set of specific dies is developed for each product, one for each necessary component. To cut a wallet, at least five dies must be made for each model.


To avoid any flaw and value the leather’s quality, Paolo Vitale selects the raw materials and cut the best part. Die cutters are used for a special manual technique that is has been practiced for more than a century. The blade of the die-boards are angled 19° to get the best possible result on the edges of each handiwork. A set of specific die-boards is selected for each product (every component needs its own die-board; e.g. it is necessary to realize at least five die-boards to develop a wallet).


The edges of Paolo Vitale’s products are brushed, smoothed, dyed and polished by hand. The dye is delicately applied by using a fine sharp-pointed stick covered by absorbent cotton. The process could request from three to four dyeing coats, depending on the desired colour, all of them spaced out by a slow drying at room-temperature. The main aim of this process is to improve the flexibility and the resistance, under stress, of dyes and waxes on the edges. Final step is to smooth, soften and polish the edges by brushing them.


All Paolo Vitale’s products, as for the edges, are rounded off through brushes (in cotton, wool or horsehair), high quality waxes or nutritious creams, depending on the type of leather used and the expected result. The aim is to protect the leather optimizing its qualities, shadings and brightness, lending pleasantness to the touch. Exotic leathers require more attention and many brushing procedures to get the best result. The brushing process in python leathers is made very slowly in order not to wreck the sloughs.


Following the moulding process, the same technique used in jewelleries, all metal components are smoothed, cleaned and rounded thanks to many sandblastings and polishing methods. Washings and spin cycles, with special shampoos for polishing and porous stones with different resistances, could last until 6 hour. The aim is to get a uniformed finishing and prepare these metal components to the final phase: Give the colour through precious metals. A further coat of paint is requested to get the best possible finishing and guarantee the resistance of these components to corrosion, scratches and avoid peeling effects. Each colour or paint is matched with the different styles, on the base of the expected result.


Forleo Giovanni founded a little handcraft family run company dedicated to men’s accessories. Due to its quality, it soon became a symbol of made in Italy. At the beginning it was only based on the production of the high-quality belts.


The company changes its name to Paolo Vitale, the grandfather of the current owners.


The business is inherited by the grandsons, Mino and Paolo. A change in generation, though, did not affect its unique characteristics that make the company recognizable and distinguished.

The high quality characteristics of the products are addressed to élite customers: the Handmade in Italy sign, the handcraft production carried by its skilled staff, the creation of domestic handmade dyes following exclusive techniques, buckles with handmade stitching, accessories made of steel, solid brass or sterling silver. Furthermore, all calf leather belts are guaranteed by the Washington declaration, while exotic leather belts (such as snakes, crocodiles and pythons) are guaranteed by the C.I.T.E.S. certificate.


In the meantime, other types of products were added to the brand, like handmade leather bracelets and soon the handcraft bags. This change made the company a producer of accessories for men d’élite