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Knickerbocker and the new American style
A Q&A with Knickerbocker about retail, evolving your brand, and community-building.
A newsletter exploring men’s style.
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In partnership with Fulton & Roark*
Been testing grooming products from the guys at Fulton & Roark, and they’re knocking it out of the park with scents. I originally used their fragrance finder to see what I liked, and I went with Blue Ridge (beard oil above—they do oils and cologne). This one’s a mix of sandalwood, sage, and amber, and it smells incredible!
Would love for y’all to give their fragrance finder a try!
A quick intro…
I’ve been following Knickerbocker since their early days (2013). I remember back when they had a warehouse in Bushwick with a half-pipe in it and they’d throw crazy ass parties with all their friends.
Been lucky to know AJ—the founder—for years (and Eitan, a business partner, back when we worked together at Liberty Fairs). It’s been amazing to see the brand evolve and mature.
When Knickerbocker recently opened their shop on Canal Street in NY, I messaged Eitan to catch up about what they’ve been building… so here’s a conversation we had about their clothing, community, and the menswear space et al.
What is Knickerbocker as a brand, and what products do you make?
Knicker is a modern menswear company rooted in classic American style.
Our “New American” style is a mix of:
Timeless utility and lasting quality
Romantic touches from the classic Hollywood era
Exciting references from America’s many rich subcultures
We make sportswear (t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc.), but we’re best known for our four pocket chore coats and pants. Most of our fabrics are sourced from Japan, Italy, Portugal, and the U.S. And we produce those products in Portugal and the U.S.
How has the brand evolved over the last year?
The past year has been one of the most volatile years in modern American life. More than anything else, we used this time to re-imagine what we want the future of Knickerbocker to look like. We’re experiencing a shift in our collective consciousness, which calls for a new kind of retailer.
This period gave us time to think about how we want to use our platform, and ultimately we want to be more than just a brand. We want to leave a positive influence on our community.
Why open a physical space right now? What’s it all for?
Knickerbocker has always been about connection and community, especially for creative people. We want to bring people together.
Since having a physical space is the ultimate manifestation of a brand, we wanted a place that introduces Knickerbocker to new people, while also giving those who have been following us for years a place to experience the brand in a meaningful way.
Having our own space where we can constantly create stuff and introduce new projects is a great opportunity for us to engage with, inspire, and grow our audience.
In the end, our goal for the store is to use it in a way that celebrates slow living and to amplify the voices of artists, authors, musicians, photographers, and brands whose work we admire.
How has menswear evolved in the 5 years, and where does Knickerbocker fit into the landscape at large?
What we’ve seen in menswear in the last few years has been the fusing of multiple styles. In general…
The denim heads, the sartorial tailored guys, the hypebeasts, and the vintage collectors have all fallen in love with each other's worlds. They’ve learned how to cross-style different pieces into one look.
But Knickerbocker has never really followed the “trends.” Our collections are always evolving, they come from trying to push forward what we are already doing, like perfecting fits, using better fabrics, creating more interesting prints, and digging deeper into the subcultures that inspire us.
What's ahead for Knickerbocker? Where do you want to take the brand?
We’re going to build on our already loyal community, and use the store for activations. We want to be a destination for the incredibly talented young creatives in New York (and elsewhere). We also want to delight our audience by making great products and expose them to new things we think they will love.
Pay the good folks at Knickerbocker (357 Canal) a visit at their new store on Canal Street. Tell em I sent you!