Matthew Masciangelo and Ameer Ali: Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneurs

Today’s Notable Young Professionals are Matthew Masciangelo and Ameer Ali of Masciangelo Design, a luxury clothier that designs exclusive seasonal collections, custom wardrobes and single pieces for titans of all industries…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.

Matthew: I am the CEO and lead designer/tailor of Masciangelo Design. I guide the company in all aspects – day to day, and I consult, measure and fit clients, which include some of Canada’s top executives, professionals and highly regarded individuals. Behind the scenes, I design and style the garments and create exclusive collections as well as complete, custom wardrobes. 

Ameer: I have to wear many hats daily. Fashion design, marketing, selling, consulting, business development and recruitment make up the majority of my daily activities.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?

Matthew: My Uncle, Lou Myles, brought me into this business and I owe it all to him. He showed me his store and the suits and I fell in love with them. He took me under his wing and trained me. I was able to acquire the skills and extensive knowledge in the sartorial art of custom tailoring. I was also fortunate to learn from a number of other great master tailors as well, including Manuel Martinez and Franco Guccione, who taught me the critical aspects of the trade such as garment construction, pattern making, blue pencil and styling.

Ameer: I learned the trade by working alongside Matthew and I’ve always had an interest in fashion. I enjoy staying up-to-date with industry knowledge, styles, and trends. I also believe I possess the ability to differentiate between fads and timelessness.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?

Matthew: I am able to hang around some of the most successful individuals in the country, from the banking sector to law, technology to real estate and government. I also get to wear nice clothes every day, which is an added bonus. The most challenging part for me is to multi-task. I try and stick to what I am good at and eliminate what I don’t like and don’t want to do.

Ameer: I get to showcase my creativity and give expert advice based on what my clients do, who they see, and the image they wish to project to the world. The challenge is the need to go the extra mile for my clients and consistently exceed their expectations.

What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?

Matthew: My health wasn’t where it should be. It was always go, go, go, but now I have learned that is the wrong approach. I must take care of myself in order to take care of others. No more all-nighters.

Ameer: Work/life balance, what’s that? The first couple of years there were lots of long nights and personal sacrifices in terms of free time and leisure. However, sacrifice today so that you can create a better tomorrow is what I kept telling myself.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Matthew: Masciangelo will be recognized as the best tailors in Canada with a strong presence in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver and Montreal. We will also be the global leader in traditional authentic men’s and women’s custom bespoke handmade suits and fashion attire.

Ameer: What Matthew said. We’d also be beginning our expansion outside of Canada into the U.S. and overseas.

What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?

Matthew: Work-life balance. I was a workaholic at one point and that is not what life is all about. Balance is the key. Do your work and go home!

Ameer: Being patient. I just keep telling myself great things take time and staying focused is key.

What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?

Matthew: No. I believe success is doing what you want to do and trying to be the best at it. You don’t just work for money; you should work because you like what you do. Do it for your family, friends, clients and for yourself.

Ameer: Money does not equal happiness, but it sure does help! However, if you have family that loves you, a few good friends, food on your table and a roof over your head, then you are richer than you think.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?

Matthew: Being recognized as one of Canada’s favourite businesses earlier this year by The Globe and Mail and its wonderful readers. 

Ameer: Agreed.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?

Matthew: Always do the right thing despite what others think. Be real, true, and just be yourself. Figure out what you are good at and focus just on growing that. You can’t be everything to everyone and spread yourself thin.

Ameer: A goal without a plan is just a wish. If everything was easy, everyone would be doing it and nothing would be worth it.

Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?

Matthew: Yorkville, College St., and King/Bay area. My favourite dinner spot is Nervosa (second floor). Their pasta is incredible. I always pretend to look at the menu even though I get the same thing every time.

Ameer: Cabana Pool Bar because it’s a really nice summery spot to unwind at. I am also frequently in and around Yorkville, King West, College St., and my new home in Liberty Village – there’s a lot to explore there.

When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?

Matthew: Playing soccer, working out, and watching reruns of Breaking Bad – I do nothing else basically.

Ameer: The outdoors, watching sports, working out, going to a concert and just hanging out around town. 

Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?

Matthew: Peru. It’s exotic and the food is the best in the world. It’s very adventurous. I also love the beach – Punta Cana is my favourite I would say.

Ameer: I agree on Punta Cana. Also, Los Cabos and Varadero are among my favourite winter destinations. The air during Canadian winters hurts my face.

If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be? 

Matthew: Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” because you only have one shot.

Ameer: “0 to 100/The Catch Up” by Drake because we go 0 to 100 real quick.

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing? 

Matthew: Something to do with fashion. I used to sell ladies lingerie and panty hose and was pretty darn good at it.

Ameer: Corporate recruitment within the financial services, banking, legal, accounting, or sports and entertainment industries. Also, campus recruitment has always held a dear place in my heart. 

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?

Matthew: Masciangelo supports and promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged men and women across the Greater Toronto Area through the Live to Give Relief Organization (Dress Your Best and Dress for Success Toronto). I believe everyone deserves the chance to succeed personally and professionally. By donating your professional garments to us you also receive a 10% discount on your next custom bespoke garment. It’s a win-win situation for all.

What to you is notable? 

Matthew: Pushing yourself through the bad and good times. Everything happens for a reason and it serves you. View every challenge as an obstacle to overcome. Be true.

Ameer: Look in the mirror, that’s your competition. Believing in yourself while having the patience to get through difficult situations is notable.  

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other? 

Matthew: Android.

Ameer: iPhone. 

#NOTABLE

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Photography by Fabian Goh