Alfred Azzopardi - Tailor

Alfred’s shop is located on St. Lucia street in Valletta, further down towards the Marsamxett Harbour side. You’d know you found the spot because there is a “Tailor” sign jetting out from the building. As I approached the shop, I could see a gentleman in the doorway talking, smoking a cigarette. “Alright?” he said to me in a raspy voice. I responded with the equally pleasant toned “alright”.  For those that don’t know, saying “alright?” is the quickest way of asking how you’re doing in Malta.  Just listen for it; it’s everywhere. I knew that this guy was good because he had a lot of work and I could see that he had pants on his workbench that he was creating for customers.  It’s a small shop but very adequate.  I had recalled hearing from my cousin’s husband that his grandfather’s sister’s husband Alfred (following me?) is a tailor and located on St. Lucia Street.  I proceeded to ask Alfred if he was the one and he said “No, that’s the other one”.  There is actually another tailor named Alfred just 50 steps up from Alfred Azzopardi - about 10 years his senior.

He starts at 7am but says he doesn’t have to start that early – it’s a habit.  He was born in Valletta in 1947 on July 22nd and resides in the village of Msida when he moved there when he was 27. He takes the bus in every day.  He’s actually never driven a car because he’s never felt the need to have one and because he was always too busy to take a break to learn.  He said he used to drive a motorcycle but that was years ago. Tailoring for him know is a bit of a hobby – it passes the time and puts a bit of money in his pocket.

Alfred’s father was also a tailor and they worked together in the same shop for about 40 years. Alfred recalls the time when Valletta was more populated. The sailors and Maltese alike would walk from Caffe Cordina area and where the Wembley shop is located. He would go out with 5 or so friends and they would hang out at Cafe Premier which was located in Piazza Regina.  For him, it’s special to be from Valletta. When he was young, he stuck to Valletta. Venturing into Floriana, just outside the main gates of Valletta, might see him and his friends in a fight because of the local football rivalry.

I ask Alfred if he ever goes on vacation.  He says, “I go to Gozo”. He has never left the country. He says he doesn’t know why exactly he hasn’t left the country.  He said he has everything he needs in Malta. But he tends to stay away from the crowds unless it is to a village feast in Msida.

In 2017, when this discussion was captured, he had no plans of retiring but in 2018 Alfred retired.

Excerpt from: “Valletta – A Personal City Guide by 8 tourist guides from Malta” Midsea books


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