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-Jack/Knife Outfitters Bespoke Denim

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by GusW, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. brad-t

    brad-t Senior member

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    I want a crocodile wall, too.
     
  2. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I visited Jack/Knife Outfitters in SOMA in San Francisco yesterday to begin my bespoke denim process. John and Nick, the owners of Jack Knife have studio that is shared with other creative businesses.

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    They asked me to bring my best fitting jeans. I selected a favorite pair of LVC 1947 501 XX. I also brought along a pair of LVC 1933 201 XX since they where the last pair of Levis to have both belt loops and a cinch. I wanted my new jeans to have a more modern fit, like the '47's, but with the cinch detail. I brought the 201XX along so that I had a visual example of the look of the cinch and discuss with Nick the placement of it. The 201XX has the cinch on the belt line and I wanted it below the belt loops.

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    Nick began by measuring the jeans and then took my measurements. We then discussed what fit, rise and inseam I would like. John began to show me their denim options. They range from special weave Cone Mills made in USA to rare Japanese denim. I selected left hand twill, Japanese denim from Kurabo. It uses an unlined selvedge in keeping with pre-1927 denim. (1927 was the year that Levis asked Cone Mills to add the red stripe to their selvedge to make it distinctive from other brands)

    The Kurabo denim is woven using on a vintage, fully manual, wooden shuttle loom. The process gives the denim a distinctive finish due to variations in tension from the hand woven process.

    Here is the denim I selected: (click on images for a larger pic)
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    Here are examples of some of their other denim

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    One of the more interesting fabrics was a very dark inky blue that is shown above. It is a second generation run of overdyed duck canvas from Cone Mills. What a beautiful color! But I wanted a denim for my first jeans.

    Since the look of denim, as it wears, varies depending upon the color of the weft threads they have many choices of denim with different weft colors. Some were dyed in mud, others bleached white and others left more of a natural cotton color. You can see the effect on the reverse side of the denim and you will enjoy it as your jeans break in and the color of the weft becomes more apparent.
     
  3. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Since Jack Knife jeans are bespoke you get to select many options and details.

    John and Nick showed me a pair of jeans ready for their first fitting. These have their "Western" pocket shape:

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    With bespoke jeans you also get fully sewn and taped seams along with a choice of tape colors. These pics show an indigo dyed tape (which will fade to a soft chambray color eventually) and the pocket and fly details in progress. You get a choice of pocket material. Here a classic ticking fabric is used.

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    There is also a choice of thread. Most people use the classic golden color or a white. However other colors are available.

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    I sat down with Nick and John on their couch we discussed hardware and options. I decided to have covered rivets on the back pockets and exposed rivets on the front. The rivets they used are each done by hand, including hand cutting and hammering giving each one a subtle, distinct finish. Of course, you don't have to select rivets at all if that is your preference.

    Jack Knife hardware:

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    1 person likes this.
  4. UrbanComposition

    UrbanComposition Senior member

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    I should be there in a couple hours. Stoked!
     
  5. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    One of the things that has always been fun when reading about the adventures of many Style Forum members visiting their favorite tailors in Italy is after their visit going out for a meal. Good tailors must have a universal code because the guys treated me to one of my most delicious food discoveries in San Francisco in a very long time. Just as pizza is the tasty fuel of Naples, it seems that cool, little sandwich places are becoming the fuel for tech startups in SOMA. This little hole-in-the-wall is called the Little Skillet.

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    It is located right next door to Jack Knife.

    They took the lead in placing the order and we enjoyed fresh pear lemonade, Fried chicken sandwiches, seasoned fries and red velvet cup cakes.

    (Click the image for a larger , juicy pic)

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    Note the home made fresh fried potato chips^^^

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    My advice is to "eat after you are measured". If you are in the area, stop by for lunch. You will be glad you did.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I will be returning to Jack Knife next week for my first fitting. They say to expect two fittings and the process to take about 3 weeks. I'll post more pics as I go through this. I just hope I don't eat too many of those fried chicken sandwiches or I may need a second, much larger pair of jeans :)
     
  7. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Urban, I'm sure you will have fun. Let us know what denim you select. They have some amazing choices.
     
  8. dernsaw

    dernsaw Active Member

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    I'm really interested in seeing the finish product. I'll be down in that area in the coming months so I'm definitely going to have to stop in.
     
  9. sugarbutch

    sugarbutch Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Thanks for the write-up, Gus!
     
  10. NOBD

    NOBD Senior member

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    Great read and watch, psg. Looking forward to seeing the result.
     
  11. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Thanks guys. Glad you enjoyed reading about it. Damn, I sure got hungry thinking about that fried chicken sandwich while writing it up though. :)
     
  12. marg

    marg Senior member

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    I hope there is a plan to do a traveling show or something. I'm in Philly, and I NEED this. (the jeans mostly, but that sandwich looks good, too)
     
  13. notwithit

    notwithit Senior member

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    That would be pretty awesome. Cheesesteaks notwithstanding, though, I think we have some pretty decent sandwiches right here in Philly.

    Also, is it a bad sign that my first reaction was, "I can't believe those are only $200"? I think I've been on this forum too long.
     
  14. sugarbutch

    sugarbutch Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    That sandwich and fries/chips look delicious, but I'll need to make sure I go on a day when I've run in the morning to offset.
     
  15. tchoy

    tchoy Senior member

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    Great thread, thanks for the write up G. The chambray work shirt looks awesome, are those bespoke as well?
     
  16. ljrcustom

    ljrcustom Senior member

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    Great write up PSG,thanks for sharing. I'm looking forward to seeing how the jeans comes out.

    -LR
     
  17. NAMOR

    NAMOR Senior member

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    PSG, great thread. Cant wait to see the final product.
     
  18. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    John said it was going to be available in standard sizing but could be adapted by made to measure. He wants to tweak the pocket design and buttons for a little more detail and interest. Then it will be offered on the web site.
     
  19. Parker

    Parker Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I met with John and Nick today. Good guys. Was really impressed with their operation. Lots of primo deadstock denim and canvas, vintage sewing machines, cool hardware, good music, etc. They're focused on all bespoke stuff and uncompromising about quality. Jeans, barn jackets, and shirts. I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes. Ordered a pair based on my old LVC '47s in the gray-cast slubby.
     
  20. UrbanComposition

    UrbanComposition Senior member

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    The guys couldn't have been nicer. Parker was leaving as I was heading in - lucky man had his ordered in the last of a really cool Japanese denim, I forget which.

    The brothers are obviously passionate about denim, explaining the heritage of each bolt, from 60s American Cone mills deadstock to a really cool, outrageously soft denim they called reverse twill, which looks like herringbone but is twill in that they weave it left a quarter inch, then turn it around for another quarter inch, and so on. A shirt in this fabric would be amazing.

    Also learned that the Japanese dug denim but found the right twill to have too dry a hand. They bought American Cone mills, wove it left, and bam - a softer jean, and the rest is history.

    I was gonna go all-American but the guys convinced me otherwise for my first pair. I ended up choosing a 14.5 oz Japanese denim that John himself was wearing. He showed me some that he said Union Made folks go crazy for, a really stiff denim that he says "stands up with no legs in it." Cool, but maybe for later.

    In describing the difference between the American made & Japanese made denim, he said that American made denim is more robust - a denser weave with generally more threads per inch, and a more uniform twill. "They take pride in saying it lasts, and it does outlast Japanese denim, both the dye and the fabric." It wears forever and that is the true American jean, durable and good looking, the kind that Steve McQueeen and Paul Newman wore in the 60s. He loves it.

    However, he also waxed on about how the Japanese denim encapsulates "wabi sabi", which has the idea of "perfect imperfection." Compared to American made denim, it's not nearly as uniform, and therein lies its charm. Also, the Japanese are much more creative with their dyes and finishes. For example, he showed me a really cool bolt where the underside (weft) was undyed and dipped in mud (yep, mud), and the warp on the outside, which was a deep indigo, had a black finish. The result was an almost black indigo, which is cool enough, but its real character will develop over time - as the jean wears and creases, it'll change from dark indigo to deep blue to brown to white.

    MIND BLOWN.

    Anyway, I'll go in for my first fitting in about a week. Can't wait.
     

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