Jack Knife Outfitters

After reading up about the Denim Bruin event in San Francisco yesterday, we stumbled across Jack Knife Outfitters, a fledgling menswear accessories and denim brand.


Its great to discover new and inspirational brands and after yesterday’s post on the Denim Bruin event in San Francisco, we were led to find Jack Knife Outfitters of San Francisco. They are a small batch production house specializing in the manufacturing of jeans, shirts, jackets, and other clothing goods out of selvedge fabric from Japan and Cone Mills, North Carolina. Their focus is on made-to-measure goods of a premium quality that reference past generations of life-time guaranteed pieces. Bringing back heritage values and an appreciation of craftsmanship.

We also came across this interview by Revolver, which is worth a read and gives an insight into the brand’s ethos and love for denim.

Jack Knife Outfitters was set up by buddies John Alburl and Nick Kemp in 2009 and at first it was all about the neck tie. At the time, the two were in their final years of University, and were seeking interview opportunities for internships and potential career opportunities. Being on student’s budgets, the two decided they would make for themselves the ties they admired but could not afford. They taught themselves how to make tailored four-fold ties of English worsted wool purchased from the local fabric shop. After that each garment or acessoroy has been born of necessity:

“bandannas to tie around our face on dusty rides through the back country roads on the motorcycles. Bags came around to carry our tools, heavy selvedge denim jeans were first made so we could ride motorcycles in pants that wouldn’t rip, and it has grown from there”

Denim has become a focal point for the brand and their construction took about a year to perfect. “The jeans are undoubtedly the standout feature of our collection” They are also very respectful and enthusiastic about their fellow jeansmakers in San Francisco, Levi’s:

“All of us at Jack/Knife certainly respect very much Levi’s influence in the world of denim. And during our time in San Francisco we have established wonderful relationships with different members of the Levi’s and Levi’s XX teams. Levi’s real influence for us came in the beginning stages of our growth, when we looked to the 1947 Lot 501 jean for inspiration. I think everyone enters the world of denim under the shadow cast by Levi’s rich historically significant timeline. Nowadays though Jack/Knife looks for inspiration from more obscure operations. Personally I really am impressed these days by Kapital, Edwin, Baldwin, Imogene and Willie, Loren Cronk, Beams+, and Tender. “

Check out this video below of the guys in their workshop:


Jack Knife Outfitters
3 comments

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Tailor Program
Sep 10th, 2012
Your aritcle is full of useful information. keep it up. You put a nice twist to it. I like this one Samuel.
Samuel Trotman
Aug 09th, 2012
Hi Steven, thanks for your comment. We spoke with the guys at Jack Knife who told us that they're not really doing much custom jeans anymore, rather focusing on manufacturing small batch runs for future collaborations with other brands. They also said they're developing a RTW, which as you can imagine has slowed down the individual custom orders (especially with just two sewers). Hopefully, this is something you can look forward to!
steven jones
Aug 07th, 2012
I wish you guys had actually done some quality research on this one. These guys are a joke. They talk a mean game, as in they speak the lingo incredibly well but i don't care about the specific loom that the cotton came from or the exact metal press that created the same copper rivets that everyone uses. They have a wait list of something like 2 months and there's no reason for it at all. They put out maybe 1 pair of jeans a week where someone with any kind of dedication can put out far more than that. Tout them all you like, they don't know what they're doing.

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