Adam Kimmel certainly is the man of the moment at present, with each collection he continues to impress. He is a firm favourite of ours and recently has graced the cover of The New Order issue 4. Here is another great interview from the guys at Tres Bien Shop when they were visiting the Kimmel showroom in New York the other month.
I’ve read that you started out making clothes for your friends in college. Do you look back at your early projects and think that the seed of later collections was there, or were they more of a pure experiment?
I think over time, as I gained experience, my collections have become clearer and more focused—in terms of both the product and the inspirations. But the values have been there all along. The seeds of the brand were in the ground on the first day.
Clearly there’s a lot of art influence in your stuff. Can you name a few artists that are currently lighting your creative fires? Is it the personal style of artists that grabs you mostly, or their work?
When an artist informs one of my collections, it tends to gravitate around their personal style. But I have to love and respect their artwork. I definitely have an interest in art outside of my collections and I don’t mine every artist I appreciate for inspiration. But it’s funny. I do think, coincidentally, that the greatest artists of all time happened to have amazing personal style one way or another. In terms of my fall 2011 collection, the Portland artist Dan Attoe lit a big creative fire for me. The all-time greatest creative fire ever lit for me was the artist George Herms.
You do a lot of tailored clothing. For a few years now, the mark of a well-dressed guy, or at least a guy who pays attention, has largely been a close fit, but that’s not what your clothes are about. What does “fit” mean to you?
Fit for me means comfort and flattering lines. A suit should not be skin-tight. Shoulders should hug the body with softness and not wrinkle. My lapels are never pressed like a factory-made suit and my cuff buttons always function. My suits are handmade in Italy and I like to take advantage of all the quality that affords me.
I also read a quotation from you: “All good things should be timeless.” Can you expand on your idea of timelessness?
It’s been thrown around a lot to describe things that are really not timeless, but rather dated or nostalgic and just being brought back. I don’t get the feeling that’s how you use it. When I say timeless, I use it to describe something that will stand the test of time. The trick in this business is to create a wearable product that is truly a one-of-a-kind piece. It’s relatively easy to make a one-of-a-kind piece that looks outrageous and leeches onto the latest fad. The challenge—and I must say the exciting part—of what I do is to create that one-of-a-kind piece that is an automatic classic. That’s what I mean by timeless.
Not to ask you to pick favorites, but can you talk about something–a piece, a theme, a fabric, whatever–in your upcoming spring or fall 2011 collections, or your work with Carhartt, that you’re really excited about?
I’m really excited by the outerwear and suiting from my new fall 2011 collection, which was inspired by the Pacific Northwest. The outerwear is all reversible, the fabrics are killer, and the suits are the finest tailored garments I’ve made to date.