They started with motorcycles. John and Nick met at the University of Georgia, and spent many hours of their friendship buying old bikes and fixing them up in a garage. At some point they began repairing clothing too. “I realized that clothing could be compared to tools— we wear out our clothing just like we do tools,” said John. “But people are buying disposable fashion, they’re buying $6 hammer clothing that won’t last.”
In 2011 the duo teamed up with a former Levi’s employee, Melissa Vu and started Jack/Knife Outfitters, specializing in the manufacturing and sale of single needle construction jeans, shirts, jackets, and other clothing goods.
John demonstrates the details of their jeans like someone would spin and stop a globe after a big trip: cotton twill bound seams here, hand-hammered rivets here, and reinforced pockets and belt loops over here. He explains that single-needle sewing allows them to create lines and seams in more intricate ways than with double needle machines, the industry standard. The rivets come from a factory in Kentucky, and their selvedge shuttle loom denims come from mills in Japan and North Carolina, made with organic American-grown cotton. Each pair of custom jeans guarantees 100% satisfaction and a five year warranty.
During their first year of business, they offered appointment only custom-made clothing to the public and small-batch production to other companies in the industry. They collaborated with other SFMade companies like Tellason, and sent specialty items overseas to Japan and Europe. As international press ate up their story, the waiting list for jeans grew.
But wait no longer. Well, at least for their ready-to-wear line. Jack/Knife’s new website features a shopping portal, a great blog, and beautiful photography. Find it here: http://jackknifeoutfitters.com/