Suiting Up the Stars

Written by Stephanie Gordon

Matt Damon. Ray Liotta. Jon Hamm. These are familiar Hollywood names that raise an eyebrow. They are also Hollywood A-list stars in HBO Max’s No Sudden Move, an American crime thriller film, released earlier this year. Anthony Manno, ’14, worked closely with some of the stars—suiting them up for the thriller.

Manno, a finance and Spanish major, decided to join the family business and is currently co-owner of Manno Clothing, along with his father, Pat. The Dearborn-based clothier was founded by Manno’s grandparents, Leonardo and Lillia, in 1971.

“My grandparents came from farming families in southern Sicily,” said Manno. “They didn’t have much. In fact, they didn’t even have running water in their homes. Leaving Sicily for Canada, and eventually the States, was a welcome opportunity for them. Scary for sure, but the excitement of what they could become outweighed the risk in their minds.”

Manno said his grandparents spent many years working in department stores, and would take on odd jobs like picking tobacco and tomatoes. His grandfather eventually worked at Hudson’s department store in Detroit, one of the most famous department stores in the country in its time. 

“He was J.L. Hudson’s personal fitter for many years,” he said. “This was a position for only the most skilled tailors.”

After settling in Dearborn, the Mannos decided to open their own 400-square-foot “room.” They started with tailoring garments and making clothing for individuals. At the time, inventory was too expensive for them to carry in the store.

“Little by little, they added goods and became a proper store filled with suits, sport coats, pants, and more,” said Manno. “My father, Pat, helped them part time at the start. They grew the business and moved to our current location in 1990.”

Manno’s father eventually bought the business and helped the business grow in terms of clients and square footage. He continues to work at the store to this day.

“I joined full time in 2017,” Manno said. “My grandfather always asked me if I would join the business. I was happy he could see me working there before he passed.”

This summer, Manno and his father were approached by costume designers of No Sudden Move. The designers learned that Manno Clothing had the ability to create custom pieces and perform alterations quickly. This kept them coming back with more requests. Manno Clothing supplied a variety of trousers, ties, and accessories for extras in the film. They made six handmade custom suits for Ray Liotta, and provided tailoring services for Matt Damon. 

“Ray Liotta was the first star we helped by making him six custom-made suits in under a week,” Manno said. “They needed multiple suits for all of the different scenes. Ray was great. He talked about his heritage with us and even had a glass of wine with Pat!” 

Their experience with Matt Damon was different because he came to town for 24 hours toward the end of filming. The designers needed help with his suit, topcoat, and other garments for the movie. 

“We went to his hotel after he landed (which also doubled as home base for the film), marked his garments, brought them to our shop for alterations, and sent them back to the set,” Manno said.

Manno explained that his experience with Matt Damon was very positive. He was friendly and genuinely appreciative of their services and the entire costume staff. 

“When he walked in the room, he greeted everyone, shook their hands, and repeated our names back to us,” said Manno. “He was very cooperative throughout the entire process. It was interesting to hear him talk to the costume designers about preparing for his brief role in the film. He was concerned even about the watch he would wear in the scene. Later on, he spoke to my father and me about some of his films and his family as well.”

It’s no secret that the business Manno’s grandparents founded has done great things. Manno said what makes their business successful is a combination of three main factors: customer service, quality goods, and expert craftsmanship. 

“Many businesses can do one or two of those things decently,” he said. “It takes all three of those factors, however, working together constantly to provide an extraordinary experience for our clients. I also think that it’s very unique to work directly with us. When you reserve time at our store, you reserve it with me or my father. We also have an incredible wedding and event business that has grown exponentially in the last few years (we’ve done many Hillsdale weddings!). We provide an experience.”

I asked Manno what his grandparents would say if they knew their son and grandson were dressing Hollywood stars.

“I’m not sure what they would say, but I am confident that they would have an overwhelming sense of gratitude,” he said. “Moments like these provide validation that the risks they took to open Manno Clothing were well worth it.”

Stephanie Gordon, a lifelong Hillsdale native, is the Managing Editor of the Student Stories Blog. She is married to chiropractor, Dr. Matt Gordon, and has three children – Eloise, Flora, and Jack. When she has a spare moment, she enjoys paleo baking, floating on Baw Beese Lake, and breaking a sweat at the gym.

Published in August 2021