Our friends at Jack/Knife Outfitters have a 3 day pop-up coming up at our sister store, the Voyager Shop, this weekend. We wanted to catch up with John, Melissa and Nick about what to expect at the event as well as all the exciting developments coming up for this local production house of very talented artisans.
It is unusual for a denim maker to create a pop-up, particularly in such a short period of time. What will people being looking forward to at your 3-day event here at the Voyager shop?
The idea for what to do for this pop-up really came from Voyager the store itself. Y'all have curated a feeling when you walk into the store that all of us at Jack/Knife can really appreciate. When we first set up to start Jack/Knife as a real company, we labeled ourselves as an outfitters, and that is the sort of what we think of Voyager as. We began with men's blue jeans. There wasn't a hard reason why we started with blue jeans for men, but we have slowly, but surely, been growing the diversity of our offerings by adding button downs, jackets, and women's wear to the mix.
We decided the pop-up this weekend would be a great opportunity to add accessories to the list of offerings. We have made accessories here and there, but this weekend will be the first time we unveil batch production in the way of belts, bandanas, passport/notebook holders, and such. Our idea was to create a even more miniature version of our already tiny work studio, to not only give guests a glimpse of how we do things, but also allow them to participate in the process. Our "Ready-to-Wear" clothing from our website's current offerings will also be on display for people to see and try on in person.
Jack/Knife gets access to excellent materials from Japan and Cone Mills and we know that you are all very passionate about fabrics. Are you experimenting with new materials that you haven't before?
We are always working with different fabrics and we are very picky about what we work with. But to be honest, we have been sticking with the tried and true of what we know we like, which is really just what we have always been known for: cotton in twill and oxford weaves from quality mills. Because of the size of our production capacity, we buy very small "end of roll" fabrics. That is why with the launch of our "Ready-to-Wear" clothing, we will be labeling things as "Batch Editions." The pieces currently offered on our website are from "Batch Edition No.1." With the launch of these accessories this weekend we probably will start spending some more time working with leather, and more unusual types of fabrics (like the loose weave shuttle loom selvedge fabric from Zimbabwe that we just sourced for the pop-up).
We heard that you are possibly milling your own fabrics? Are you the only denim atelier on the West Coast doing so?
I don't want anyone to think that we have started milling fabric already, we have only just begun the preparations of learning what is needed to actually weave. We have some things in the works but it will be some amount of time before we will have something to showcase.
Are you also experimenting with new techniques you are stoked about showcasing at the pop-up?
Nick has recently just started using a continual "no-break" stitch technique on the collars of our barn coats and the waistbands of our jeans. Melissa has several new signature construction techniques that went into our two newest shirt styles. All of these new construction techniques will be part of the display of our "Batch Edition No.1" at the pop-up this weekend.
Have you taken your bikes out on any inspiring voyages that have influenced/inspired your work this year?
To be honest, we haven't really spent any time with motorcycles since we started Jack/Knife. We just work in the studio all the time with Melissa, Nick and I's bikes are in storage with family back home. Every now and then our buddies will offer to let us joy-ride their bikes but other than that we do nothing but hope for the day that we have the time to set up a garage, to get back into restoring old bikes. Although, I can say that we have been talking with a couple of our buddies about maybe helping start a garage here in the city.
We have been exploring California here and there. Last week Nick, Melissa, and I took a random day off for the first time in forever to go sit on one of our favorite secret beach spots. We love the beaches of California.
Since the last time we spoke to you on the blog last year, the brand has really grown, like the addition of womenswear. What's next for Jack Knife's future?
Thanks. The growth has only been possible the with the help of those, like Voyager/Revolver, who reached out to us in the early days. Without the guidance and feedback of the Jack/Knife tribe, who knows where we would be at!
Womenswear is exciting. "Batch Edition No.2." will include some pieces specifically for women and a couple of prototypes will be on display this weekend.
At the moment, all that we are planing for the future is to expand our current capacity. We are preparing for a move into a bigger space, the addition of additional cut/sew hands and more machines, and the continuing growth of our product catalogue. "Batch No.2." will be made available sometime before the end of the year.
Oh, and collaborations! We really, really want to start collaborating with other makers.
Thank you to John, Melissa and Nick for the interview and stop by Voyager this weekend to see them. Opening party starts Friday at 6pm!