At first, we were really focused on telling a 'California' story, since Mike is a native Californian and had lived there his whole life. We thought we would do something inspired by Old Hollywood so that we could incorporate suiting into the collection. But soon we evolved from that concept into something more personal to Mike's life experience, something that drew from his youth skating and surfing, his young adulthood as an artist/musician into punk, and his adulthood with the love affair with the Southwest and its culture, and our time in NYC.
Now we combine these elements of inspiration with the experience we've had within the industry over the past 5 years, traveling to Europe, being exposed to the insane culture of Pitti Uomo, and to the broader world of menswear globally. Each collection matures in terms of design and textiles, reflecting Mike's growing familiarity with the menswear world.
A lot of our inspiration has been Mike’s personal style, which is such a hybrid of his experiences, and is very eclectic, actually. But it’s always made up of really wearable, ordinary pieces, with a few vintage accents from his collection, that just ups the ante. So we try to design K&S with the same viewpoint, so that the consumer can easily put together an amazing outfit without really having to go outside the comfort zone of his shopping habits. It’s not like K&S is really avant-garde, by any stretch. It’s that we consider carefully the textiles and designs to be worn together or with other brands’ pieces really perfectly.
The most rewarding aspect, I have to say, is the life experience we’ve gained by doing this brand. It has taken us to so many beautiful places, and we’ve met such warm and supportive friends in the industry, it’s really very surprising. We girded ourselves for the industry to be dog-eat-dog when we started, thinking no one would be helping us along the way. But the opposite has been true. Our fellow brands, most of whom we’ve met thru doing Liberty Fairs these last few years, have been our greatest champions and the best support system ever. It’s really unbelievable.
The Liberty team and Ouigi Theodore, of Brooklyn Circus, have been our earliest and most devoted support system, and there will never be enough words to express how grateful we are to Sam, Sharifa, Eitan, Preston, Ouigi and Nicole. They’ve seriously been so instrumental in helping us succeed in a business that we knew, literally, nothing about when we arrived in NY.
For inspiration, and just quiet meditative time (so important), it’s so awesome to be so close to Brooklyn Bridge Park and to be able to take in the incredible views of the city and the East River from here. Not to mention we have Brooklyn Roasting Co literally downstairs for much needed caffeine. And Modern Anthology is only one block away!!
have always been close to his heart bc of his German blood (he is first generation American, born to a mother from Munich), so he based AW16 around the work, personality, and dapper style of German artist Markus Lupertz.
The artists living permanently on our coffee table and bookshelves include drawings by the poet William Blake, Egon Schiele, Peter Doig, Gerhard Richter, A.R. Penck, Martin Kippenberger, Francis Picabia, and the usual suspects, Picasso, Cezanne, Gauguin, and Spanish artist Velazquez.
With my background in photography, I have introduced him to some photographers’ work whom I really admire, Danny Lyon, Mike Brodie, Irving Penn, Bruce Davidson, William Eggleston, Vivienne Sassen, and we both talk extensively about where the attitudes and aesthetics intersect with an artist who is inspiring a collection. We both love Wim Wenders and Wes Anderson films.
From fashion, he looks to Italians Brioni, Berluti, and Boglioli, and of course, Ralph Lauren, regularly, with admiration for some of the more outsider designers like Umit Benan and Greg Lauren. I think when Mike looks at other brands and designers, he looks for those that innovate thru textiles and storytelling, and with an eye towards new silhouettes that he finds interesting.
Ok, but also how can we not be at Brooklyn Roasting Co almost every day, and Front General Store for vintage is unbelievable. We like to take friends over to Superfine for Southwest inspired brunch or crazy Southern gourmet dinners.
Love our pal Bram’s new shop over in Williamsburg, Upstate Stock, who also has genius craft latte’s to die for, and Northern Grade’s Seaport storefront is so charming for Sunday afternoons. We’ve been running away to Hudson, NY here and again for weekends, which is really lovely for vintage furniture shopping, one of our favorite things.
In NYC, Mike used to spend literally every evening and more at the old OK Cigars on West Broadway right next door to RRL, but since they closed and became a Free People (!) he has to catch up with cigar smoking friends at the Soho Cigar Lounge. Or we go over and hang out on the LES with Dr. Dave in lawn chairs occupying a parking spot. Lol. He does spend a lot of time at the Nat Sherman Townhouse on 42nd and 5th Ave since it’s close to the Garment District and he loves Sherman cigars.
Brooklyn Bridge Park is a dream and living so close to it is just awesome. For places outside NY, we love vintage shopping in Long Beach, and discovered some outstanding vintage spots in Las Vegas, actually, including one, Patina Décor LV, that is truly exceptional. We’ve been taking ourselves to downtown Vegas to eat when we’re there for the shows, and that has been a breath of fresh air, for sure.
In Austin, you can’t get better than SoCo for strolling/shopping and The Continental Club for live music, but East Austin is full of awesomeness.
I recommend starting slow, maybe putting a few pieces together in a very tightly merchandised selection, limiting the amount of production you take on early, so you know you can afford it. Limited edition pieces are not that weird anymore. Making relationships is key, and befriending your fellow brands and supporting each other in social media, and collaborating when you can, can really propel your profile forward and can be mutually beneficial, without a doubt.
Or just be incredibly rich already, and then you have nothing to worry about. Have good taste, if that’s the case. That’s all. Lmao