Hotbed Gala 2017: A Round of Applause for Planet Hope
 
Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

THANK YOU

Planet Hope

We wish to thank co-founder Kelly Stone and executive director Carrie Waters-Bhatia for the incredible work they do with Planet Hope. It was our greatest pleasure to work alongside the inspiring duo and support a cause we truly believe in.

Thank you to everyone for all your generous donations.
 
*Founded in 1993 by sisters Kelly & Sharon Stone, Planet Hope is a non-profit 501©3 organization that provides outreach and educational resources for underprivileged children and their families.

Co-founder Kelly Stone and Actress Keisha Castle-Hughes wearing JAKE Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

Co-founder Kelly Stone and Actress Keisha Castle-Hughes wearing JAKE
Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer


PERFORMANCE BY VICTORIA NOYES AND TANYA TUCKER

Singer/songwriter Victoria Noyes performing at Hotbed Gala 2017, wearing JAKE Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

Singer/songwriter Victoria Noyes performing at Hotbed Gala 2017, wearing JAKE
Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

Country music legend Tanya Tucker and Kelly Stone singing "Amazing Grace," wearing JAKE Photo courtesy of Hands On Studio

Country music legend Tanya Tucker and Kelly Stone singing "Amazing Grace," wearing JAKE
Photo courtesy of Hands On Studio


A #BTS LOOK AT INDOCHINE

In honor of Hotbed Gala 2017, JAKE debuted a custom-made collection inspired by this year's theme, Imperial Dynasty. You saw the collection on the runway, now here's an inside look at the magic that happened backstage.

Models getting ready before the runway show Beauty: Raelynn Lopez and Flo Copeland Photo courtesy of Hands On Studio

Models getting ready before the runway show
Beauty: Raelynn Lopez and Flo Copeland
Photo courtesy of Hands On Studio

JAKE team member Tony Sananikone preparing Indochine looks Photo courtesy of Hands On Studio

JAKE team member Tony Sananikone preparing Indochine looks
Photo courtesy of Hands On Studio


A HEARTFELT MOMENT

Kelly Stone wearing JAKE and Carrie Waters-Bhatia Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

Kelly Stone wearing JAKE and Carrie Waters-Bhatia
Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

Left to right: Kelly Stone, Rosanna Arquette, and Victoria Noyes Rosanna in JAKE: Chinoiserie Single Breasted Satin Suit  Victoria in JAKE: Chinoiserie Kimono Sleeve Sheath Dress Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

Left to right: Kelly Stone, Rosanna Arquette, and Victoria Noyes
Rosanna in JAKE: Chinoiserie Single Breasted Satin Suit 
Victoria in JAKE: Chinoiserie Kimono Sleeve Sheath Dress

Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

Tell us what you think and review us on YELP
For updates follow us on social media @iwearjake

 
Hotbed Gala 2017: Thank You Drever Family Foundation
 
Left to right: Maxwell Drever, Lauren Drever, Tiffany Baker, Galen Drever, Isabelle Drever, Mitchell Karasov, Noah Drever Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

Left to right: Maxwell Drever, Lauren Drever, Tiffany Baker, Galen Drever, Isabelle Drever, Mitchell Karasov, Noah Drever
Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

THANK YOU

Drever Family Foundation

We wish to thank the Drever Family Foundation for creating another amazing Hotbed Gala in support of Planet Hope. It was an honor and privilege to be a part of an extraordinary experience where we could share our passion, energy, and success as well as give back to those in need.

*The Drever Family Foundation is a private philanthropic organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for children and seniors by improving the communities where they live through education, health services, and passion for the arts.
 
*Founded in 1993 by sisters Kelly & Sharon Stone, Planet Hope is a non-profit 501©3 organization that provides outreach and educational resources for underprivileged children and their families.


Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

From lion dancers and contortionists to majestic gardens and breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay, the night was as much a celebration of the past as it was a chance to foster our community and engender a brighter future.

Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer


THE IMPERIAL DYNASTY EXHIBITION

This year's Hotbed Gala art gallery was curated by Danielle Krysa, prolific writer and curator of The Jealous Curator. Inspired by the styles, colors, and narratives of Imperial China, the exhibition featured an eclectic mix of original works by 20 artists across the country.

Cyanotype bonsai trees by Casey Roberts

Cyanotype bonsai trees by Casey Roberts


ON THE RED CARPET

Actress Rosanna Arquette wearing JAKE Chinoiserie Single Breasted Satin Suit Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

Actress Rosanna Arquette wearing JAKE Chinoiserie Single Breasted Satin Suit
Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

Singer/artist Todrick Hall wearing JAKE; Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

Singer/artist Todrick Hall wearing JAKE;
Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

Singer/artist Todrick Hall wearing JAKE Cotton Chinoiserie Shirt Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

Singer/artist Todrick Hall wearing JAKE Cotton Chinoiserie Shirt
Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

Model/actor Galen Drever and designer/photographer Traver Rains wearing JAKE Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

Model/actor Galen Drever and designer/photographer Traver Rains wearing JAKE
Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

Designer Jake Wall wearing JAKE Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

Designer Jake Wall wearing JAKE
Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

Bre & Nathan Johnson wearing JAKE Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

Bre & Nathan Johnson wearing JAKE
Photo courtesy of Drew Alitzer

Tell us what you think and review us on YELP
For updates follow us on social media @iwearjake

 
How to Dress Well 101: How Not to Buy a Suit

When buying a suit, there are a number of common style temptations and mistakes that are worth considering so you know how to avoid them. We’ve all made some of these mistakes, so don’t feel too much shame if any hit a little close to home.

Do I Really Need a New Suit?

If you’re reading this, then, yes, you probably do. But if you’re the type of person who only wears a suit to the occasional wedding or funeral, and takes comfort in the belief that suits offer timeless style, note that that belief comes with some major caveats. It’s certainly possible to look good in a suit that you’ve had for a decade or two — especially if it’s a well-made suit in a dark color — but it really depends on the suit, and it depends on you.

Is it a cheap suit? Don’t expect the fabric or stitching to hold up over time. Synthetics and blended fabrics are least-likely to wear well or last without looking dated. Likewise with thinner fabrics and lighter colors, which will show stains and time’s discoloration more obviously.

Was it a moderately fashion-forward suit? If it was a little interesting when you bought it, it may look a little tacky or dated now. For example, even if you still have a well-made suit from the 80s or 90s, oversized shoulder pads, voluminous pants, and tacky colored polyester are too closely tied to that bygone era to work for anything other than a costume party. If it was very fashion-forward years ago, it may very well look just as interesting still, and you just need to make sure you’re not wearing it so often that you become that guy who seems to only have one suit. When considering your older more interesting looks, a gauche way to discern the line between dreadful and maybe still wearable is how much it cost, though this has more to do with the quality of the fabric and construction than anything else.

And then it’s a matter of how kind the years have been to you. If you’ve lost weight and want to wear a blast from the past, you’re almost guaranteeing that you’ll look like a tent swallowed you. And who among us hasn’t had the experience of pulling on a pair of pants only to discover with dismay that they were made for a much more aerodynamic version of yourself? Either way, tailoring is your friend. If your suit was of decent quality, it’s quick and easy for a tailor to make minor adjustments (if it’s a top-quality suit, like we make at JAKE, you have even more options, since it’s not glued together), such as letting out or taking in the waist or pulling the jacket in at the darts. If you’re just a few pounds too heavy or too light to wear it comfortably, it should cost you less than $50 to make it wearable again. But when it comes to major alterations, odds are you just need to buy a new suit. One test of a good tailor is if they honestly tell you if they can make it work or not, instead of just taking your money and delivering what you’d interpret as subpar work.

If you decide that your wardrobe isn’t really worth trying to salvage, the next step is to educate yourself a little before moving forward with any purchasing. We’re going to save an explanation of what you get at different price points for a different article, and detail here the most common mistakes and other problems we’ve observed.

Jacket sleeves too long. Your jacket cuffs should sit at that bump of bone on the outside of your wrist. This is a little higher than people often think, since they’re mentally comparing the sleeve length of jackets to that of shirts, which people tend to wear a little too long if they buy without sizing them to their jacket.

Shirt sleeves too short. Dress shirts are usually sized three ways: bespoke or made-to-measure; neck size and sleeve length; or sized to small, medium, large, extra-large, perhaps in regular and in slim fit. If the shirt is being made for you, you’re probably fine (unless your tailor is the sort who makes things according to their style, rather than what you want or what’s in style). If you’re buying something based off your neck size and sleeve length, it’s a little easier to match the shirt to your jacket. If you’re buying a shirt that’s pre-sized into a small, medium, etc., it’s a complete crapshoot as to whether it fits your neck, arms, and torso well. Since most people just buy pre-sized shirts off-the-rack, they usually end up with shirt sleeves that are too short? Why? Because it’s impossible to ignore if a shirt is too long and the entire cuff is spilling out of your shirt. So the conservative choice often is to go too short. This results in your shirt sleeve being invisible when you’re wearing your jacket. It doesn’t look bad, exactly, but, once you’re aware of this, it’s an obvious clue that you’re wearing ill-fitted clothes. Most people might not notice that detail, but you will, now. (Sorry!)

Looks cheap. The biggest peril in buying a cheap suit is that it looks like a cheap suit. That sounds like a tautology, but the Men’s Wearhouse advertising has snookered many into thinking that you will, in fact, like the way you look in an intensely cheap suit. But even a $1,000 department store suit will look cheap if you choose poorly (because it is, in fact, a cheap suit manufactured similarly to the Joseph A. Bank two-for-one specials). Does the suit have synthetic fibers mixed with the wool (as opposed to just the lining)? Does it have a shine or a sheen that catches the light? Do you wear your suits so heavily that you need to have them dry-cleaned all the time? Even decent wool will age poorly if you clean it too frequently. Darker colors can help, but avoid black, so you don’t look like you’re on your way to a funeral.

Pleated pants. Pleats are extra fabric gathered at the front of your pants to make them a little more comfortable, at the cost of bankrupting your style. They look terrible, make you look much heavier, and really are worth avoiding. Note that pleats aren’t the same thing as the lines pressed down the front of most suit pants — those simply make the pants look a little more crisp. You’d be hard pressed to find them except at the dowdiest of shops, but even so, beware.

Collar gap. The jacket collar must sit snugly against your shirt collar. If it hikes back, leaving a gap in between, that’s a very poor-fitting suit, even if it otherwise feels great.

The cut is outdated. Mass-market suits are often cut a little more generously, so that they fit a larger swath of people. The better a suit fits more people, the worse it will fit you. There are no average-sized people (really!). Even if you don’t want to wear a slim, fitted suit, you don’t want to look like your suit’s eating you.

The shoulders are too large. It’s easy to go with a jacket that seems to fit well all around, except the shoulders are maybe a little too wide. While it’s possible for a tailor to take out the shoulder pads, reduce them, and reconstruct the shoulders, that really is never worth the time or money. Don’t buy it unless the shoulder pads sit no farther out from where your shoulders drop down into your arms. If they’re too wide, the jacket will wear poorly, especially where the sleeves meet the shoulder construction, and you’ll look worse and worse in it over time.

So what should I buy?

If you’re not sure what to get, stop by JAKE for a free style consultation. You really will, pardon the expression, like the way you look. If you don’t have time, because, say, you just need something to wear tomorrow (and it takes us about three weeks to handcraft one of our suits), just dress like JFK. He popularized the slim, two-button suit, and it’s just as in style today as it was in the 1960s. Note how the shoulders have structure, but appear more natural. The colors are dark and understated, and not too dark. Everything is trim and compact. While it never hurts to have a gorgeous face and tanned skin, this is a look that will make anyone look presidential.

JAKE
SUMMER IS COMING: HOW TO WEAR A SUIT AND LOOK SHARP WHEN IT’S TOO HOT

Spring is in full flower, and that means that summer’s just around the corner. Since a JAKE suit takes us a few weeks to create, that means that now is the time to start thinking about how you’re going to look and feel cool. 

WHAT TO/NOT TO WEAR

Cotton & Wool While it might go without being said, not all suits are created equal. Though most tend toward a three-season fabric weight suitable for summertime, you want to retire any heavier winter-weight fabrics during warmer times. Synthetic fibers like nylon, polyester, or viscose trap air--and heat--so leave those in the closet. Unless obvious in its price, velvet is often made out of synthetic materials; but you’re already probably not going full-on Keith Richards during the summer, right? When it’s hottest, natural fibers like cotton and wool are your best friends. Silk, though a natural fiber, traps heat and moisture, making it entirely unsuited for summer use except as an accent fabric. Fortunately, there are types of fabrics that are designed specifically to help when it’s hottest, like linen and seersucker.

Black tie event? Go with a cooling light cashmere tuxedo instead

Black tie event? Go with a cooling light cashmere tuxedo instead

Linen is traditionally made out of the flax plant. It creates a light, very cooling fabric. While it seems to wrinkle very easily, high-quality linen is best treated by rumpling it even more. When you’re traveling, instead of ironing it, just gently crumple it when packing. Before dressing, shake it out, and you won't look buttoned up with starch, but you will feel as relaxed as a Corona commercial. At most, a touch of steam may be all that it needs. Speaking of linen, if you’ve never slept in a set of linen sheets during the summer, pick up a set and you're in for a treat, to say the least.

Linen and lightweight cashmere

Linen and lightweight cashmere

Seersucker is a cotton fabric woven in such a way that the threads pull against each other, resulting in a seemingly rumpled fabric that, as a result, sits above your skin instead of on it. While you may have it mentally pigeonholed as something to wear only while catching a horse race in Kentucky, it’s far too comfortable of a fabric not to have in your life. Blue and white stripes are most common, but there’s a whole rainbow of gentle pastel combinations that feel less clichéd.

Other cotton fabrics include madras, a brightly patterned cotton fabric, often in plaid or a mix of patterns; khaki, the tan cotton fabric also charmingly called drab (really); and poplin, which is sort of like a slightly textured khaki.

Madras+shorts=sprezzatura

Madras+shorts=sprezzatura

HOW TO STYLE

Style Slim & Shady A lot of these fabrics work best when they fit you comfortably: not too snug, but not so flowing that you look like you’ve never returned from that beach vacation. If you don’t wear them but once or twice every few years, consider having the tailoring readjusted before the start of the season so you don’t discover with dismay that the set of clothes you thought you were going to wear no longer fit you. Nothing makes heat feel much worse than when you can barely fit into your pants, and nothing makes you look worse than wearing something that looks like a boxy tent because you’ve lost weight.

When you’re shopping for a new summer suit, err on the slightly small side. For example, with the pant cuffs, go with a slight break or even no break. The break refers to how much fabric sits on your shoes; a slight break keeps the cuff higher up on your shoes, making it perfect for the no-socks look. For the jacket, avoid anything more than 2 buttons--you just don’t need the extra fabric. The shoulders should be very slim and lightly padded, if at all. Think sprezzatura

If want to look fashion-forward, but aren't prepared to sacrifice comfort, go with a short suit. Really, we're serious. Even better, the next time you're getting a summer suit, either have a pair of matching shorts made, or, if you're buying off-the-rack, buy a second pair of pants and have them hemmed into shorts. That way, you're not committing to anything much beyond what you'd already be comfortable wearing, so it's a simple enough decision for you to make. A short suit is an easy look to pull of, and since it's never occurred to most people, you'll look fantastic and one-of-a-kind. You'll probably want to pair the shorts with a nice pair of dress shoes--nothing too large or clunky--without socks, unless you're in Bermuda.

Linen + wool short tuxedo

Linen + wool short tuxedo

Cashmere short suit

Cashmere short suit

Light Suit: Dark Shirt If your suit has a light tone, don’t pair it with a light colored shirt as people most commonly do. For an easy, uncommon look, pair it with a darker shirt and a lighter tie. 

Pocket Squares are always a good idea, but during summer months, skip the silk and go with cotton, which can double as a sweat mop when necessary--using a silk square to wipe your brow would kill the silk.

Mix darks and lights

Mix darks and lights

No Sweat is, for many, at least as great of a goal as looking good is. Paradoxically, covering up more can often help more than wearing less: if you’re wearing a loose, lightweight natural fiber in a darker color, you keep the sun off your skin while promoting a cooling airflow. As an added benefit, dark-colored clothes hide sweat stains much more readily than a light colored ones, on which every drop of sweat becomes painfully obvious. If you must go light, bright white is your best bet for hiding sweat.

Humidity is usually more of a problem than heat alone, since it’s hard for your body to evaporate sweat when the ambient moisture is too high. Counterintuitively, adding an undershirt can especially help when it’s humid, because it will absorb sweat before your outer clothes do, which helps cool you without making your clothes appear damp, at least for a time. Be sure to wear either a deep v-neck or pair your outfit with a tie or bowtie, because no one--no one--looks good with their underwear showing. Note that wearing only an undershirt with a suit is slovenly. A fitted, well-designed t-shirt--which is certainly a reasonable option, provided it pairs well with the suit--is not the same thing as an undershirt, so please don't pretend that it is. If undershirts aren’t your thing, you can radically increase the lifespan of your shirts by only wearing deodorant that does not contain an antiperspirant. While most deodorant sold also contains an antiperspirant, hunt down one without it, because it’s the antiperspirant that builds up over time, fading colored shirts and staining white shirts yellow. In the short run, you may suffer from more sweat stains, but in the longer run, you’re killing your shirts.

No Socks? Wearing a suit without socks can work, but it depends on the suit and the shoes. Make sure your shoes are top-quality and immaculate. Don’t pair them with a large suit; if your pant cuffs have a full break, keep your socks on. And if your shoes aren’t broken in, or if you get caught in the rain without socks, you may rub your feet raw. Head that off with a blister stick--they’re like miniature roll-on deodorants that invisibly make your skin a little too slick to blister. Band-aid makes the best ones we’ve tried.

No socks, no pants: whatever works

No socks, no pants: whatever works

Confused? We’d say don’t get too hot and bothered, but if you’re unsure how to proceed, that’s exactly your dilemma. Stop by your friends at JAKE for a free style session, and we’ll guide you through the creation of a summer look that perfectly meshes with your sense of style. And don’t worry, if you’re not sure what kind of style you have, we’ll ensure you end up with fashion aspiration instead of fashion perspiration.

Sunglasses, natch

Sunglasses, natch

JAKE
HIP TO BE JACKSON SQUARE

OPENING IN JACKSON SQUARE Opening a retail showroom is exhausting work. The grand opening of our new JAKE flagship showroom and atelier was in early March, and it’s taken us a month to catch up enough to recount how we turned an aggressive fixer-upper into the gorgeous space that we now love.

From Market Street to Sansome Street

From Market Street to Sansome Street

CLASSIC. MODERN. DEFIANT. In particular, we wanted to highlight some of our more fun design decisions, in part because we love how they turned out, and in part because in the age of Pinterest, fabulous design has never been more accessible, so if you’re not doing interesting things to begin with, you’re already behind.

The JAKE aesthetic is classic, modern, defiant, and our new showroom embraces that vision, from the layered storefront through the pop-art and embossed faux-hide wallpaper rear.

GREYHOUNDS The bird baths came with the place, though they were, like the rest of the location, which had sat fallow for a few years thanks to the San Francisco Planning Commission, a bit dilapidated. We cleaned them, painted them white, and bolted a pair of concrete greyhound statues that we also painted white. A bit of potting soil and some flowering plants, and now we never find cigarette butts in them.

Why greyhounds? If you’ve never visited us, and love dogs, then you’re going to love meeting our mascots, the rescued greyhound racers Echo and SCOTUS (Supreme Canine of the United States; he was named after 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court case).

WINDOWS To create a transitional boundary between the sidewalk windows and the showroom, we created floating irregular barriers out of reinforced cloth strips that we dip-dyed and suspended with monofilament from bars hung just below the high ceiling. Since the strips hang at different heights, they partially obscure the showroom’s interior, allowing in light and enticing, one hopes, passersby into coming in for a closer look.

NICE RACK Since our showroom’s main focus is a large, open room, we wanted beautiful, minimalist racks that we could easily reconfigure as needed. We worked with a local artisan to create custom-welded steel modular racks, which are surprisingly easy to move around the showroom ands to reconfigure, depending on what we want to display.

TURNING TABLES The heart of the custom clothing shopping experience is in finding wools, silks, and other materials that really speak to you. We wanted oversized tables at a height comfortable for standing, and it was terrifically fortunate that our previous landlords--the wonderful McRoskey Mattress Company--offered to let us repurpose the massive aluminum oven doors that, a generation or two ago, the same family-owned company used to forge the springs for their mattresses. Given that they had been stored in a basement for decades, they were heavily corroded. But if you’ve ever worked with aluminum, you know that it’s only the very outer layer that corrodes, and once you polish off the oxidized metal, you’ll uncover a gleaming interior. We added some legs that complement the doors, and they’re now among the most striking pieces in our showroom.

DRESSING UP Dressing rooms are frequently one of the most unpleasant aspects of retail. They’re often cold and sterile, and you hurry to shuck off your clothes to try the new ones on. It’s a little lonely staring into the mirror, critiquing yourself, especially since clothes are usually meant to be worn around other people. Not at JAKE, though. No lonely dressing rooms here!

NOW KISS We wanted dressing rooms that are fun, whimsical, a pleasure to be in, and--because we didn’t put mirrors in them--don’t let you get lost in your head. We named each room after the two locations we’ve grown through--San Francisco's Harrison and Market Streets--and our current home, Sansome Street. They're decorated in a mix of oversized pop-art wallpaper and mock alligator embossed wallpaper; we're biased, sure, but they truly are the most fun dressing rooms you've ever seen.

WHATEVER, BITCHES Oversized houndstooth wallpaper plus layers and layers of glitter paint. Works equally well for bathrooms and JAKE womenswear designer Blake Patterson, but also for life in general.

BRIC-À-BRAC The key to a collage wall is to mix sizes, textures, and positions enough that it doesn’t look forced, too ordered, or too chaotic. You can diagram it out on butcher paper, but if you’re covering a series of 15+ foot walls while rushing to finish in time for your grand opening, just grab a drill and make it work.

bar 2.jpeg

THE BAR METHOD What’s a fashion destination without a bar these days? We refinished and flipped an old door on its side, added a mirror cut to the door’s interior dimensions, and--this is the most important part--caulked the seam between the mirror and the door, keeping the door from warping when a melted ice bucket was promptly overturned on the bar during our grand opening. Unfortunately, we hadn't anticipated that someone would explode an entire magnum of champagne by JCB Wines underneath it during the same party. You can't plan against everything your excessively enthusiastic guests might do, we suppose.

YOU REALLY SHOULD COME SEE US We think the overall effect of our effort is a sleek and elegant showroom that echoes our fashion point of view. It took a fair amount of effort, and our clients seem to love it as much as we do. If you haven't already visited, reserve a free style session now or just drop by some time to see what we're up to next.

JAKE
Steamroll Your Way to Good Im*press*ions

Let’s play a game. I’m going to ask you a question, but first I’m going to tell you what your answer is. Ready? 

Your answer is…“No.”

What’s the question? The question is: do you have a steamer?

Was I right? If I wasn’t, congratulations! You’re way, way ahead of the curve. But if you’re like 99% of people*, not only do you not own a steamer, you may not even know what it is. I mean, you can probably guess, given the title of this post, but if you’ve never used a steamer, oh my goodness, you have no idea what you’re missing.

* this is a true fact 
Wrong kind of steamer (credit: Peter Drach CC By 2.0)

Wrong kind of steamer (credit: Peter Drach CC By 2.0)

We’re pretty confident you know what ironing is, and we’re even more confident that you don’t enjoy doing it. I mean, who likes it when if you don’t head out of the door right now, you’re going to be late for your big meeting, and--oh no!--your favorite dress shirt is wrinkled just a little too much! You fumble in your closet for the iron (I once dropped mine on my foot), gulp some coffee as it heats up, and furiously start to iron. Why does it take so long? Why did it just spit water on my shirt? Why won’t my sleeves line up evenly? Why is it still wrinkled? Ugh!

A steamer is going to change...your...life.

A steamer is a small, hand-held device that you fill with a small amount of water, plug into the wall, and wave gently around your garment. They start gushing steam within seconds, and the steam quickly and magically relaxes all of the wrinkles--including hard-to-reach places like those weird folds around your neck or the armholes. Even better, steamers are perfect for impossible to iron items like suit jackets and delicate silk tops. They also create a smooth, soft look that works so well, you’ll find yourself steaming your t-shirts because it’s just so fast and easy and makes you look that much better. (I may or may not steam my hats and underwear.)

Now, steamers aren’t perfect. They’re far more versatile than irons, but sometimes you need that starched, crisp appearance, such as when you’re wearing a tuxedo shirt. And you need to be sure not to steam so zealously that you tip it sideways and spill water from the reservoir on your clothes. And though the name should be obvious, it’s creating steam, not water vapor. It’s seriously hot, and will burn you if you steam the part of the clothing that you’re holding (use a hanger) or try to steam something that you’ve already put on.

At JAKE, we use a large, free-standing professional steamer, but that’s way more than you need. Buy one like the PureSteam portable steamer on Amazon when it’s on sale for only $30. (It’s worth the $80 list price, but why pay list when Amazon’s just going to put it on sale anyway?) It’s small enough that you should never, ever travel without it, and it’s powerful enough that you’ll never need another one. Have you ever tried hanging your clothes in the shower when you travel, in hopes that their appearance will improve? It never works, which is especially frustrating when a suitcase just turned your freshly-pressed suit into a wrinkled mess. Most of JAKE’s ready-to-wear clothes--Jake by JAKE--are dry-clean only, for example, so you’ll want a steamer on hand when you travel just to make sure they look as good as you do in them. Already have a steamer but don’t have any Jake by JAKE? We just launched a campaign to produce a second run, so visit Indiegogo and pick up all five of our easy pieces.

 Some of our easy pieces may cause a different kind of steam…

 Some of our easy pieces may cause a different kind of steam…



JAKE
You’re Washing Your Clothes Wrong

Fashion: One Thing You Don’t Want to Be Filthy

We get it. We all like to be a little filthy from time to time. But when the morning rolls around and you stumble around your house, picking up your clothes one by one so that the washing machine can turn your foggy memories into wet ones, resist the urge to crank the water temperature up to 11. You might think that the hotter the water, the deeper the cleanse, but you would actually just be compounding your laundry list of issues to worth through.

Instead, take a few deep breaths, drink a lot of water, either eat something really fatty or start a juice cleanse (why not both?), and turn the water down.

Hot water is great for long showers (though not in this drought!) and saunas (gotta work out those kinks!), but while we find heat cleansing and invigorating, heat is simply damaging when it comes to most fabrics.

Fortunately, cold water will more than sufficiently clean your clothes. Just get the water running and add your detergent. Wait a little while before adding your clothes because you don’t want your clothes to sit on concentrated detergent for too long, because that could cause them to fade unevenly. 

Feel free to use hot water for your sheets and towels, though if they are expensive or made out of strong colors, consider switching to cold water.

As an added bonus, colors are less likely to run in cold water, so, other than the first time you wash a new strongly-colored garment, don’t bother separating your clothes into anything more granular than whites or colors.

Now, the dryer. Obviously, don’t put your workout clothes or other synthetics in them. I know, how unfortunate is it when your SoulCycle class starts in an hour, and all your lululemon is still wet from the wash? Sure, you could throw them in a delicates bag and into the dryer and then check on them every five minutes. But you know what? They aren’t going to get dry enough quickly enough, you’re going to be late to class, and it doesn’t even matter because they’re going to give your spot away. Just accept it, throw on some joggers, and go get a smoothie instead. But take your pants out of the dryer first. This is not a make it work moment, unfortunately.

Beyond saving synthetics, you’re probably being too aggressive with your dryer in general. Jeans? Wash cold inside-out and lay flat to dry (though you should almost never wash your jeans; but that’s a subject for another day). Lingerie? Out of the delicates bag and onto your drying rack. Bright colors? Don’t throw them in the dryer. Anything you really care about? Out. Again, sheets and towels are fine in the dryer, and if a warm fluffy towel is wrong, we’re just never going to be right.

For items you do feel comfortable running through the dryer, keep the temperature setting lower, so that there’s less danger of leaving your clothes in for so long that they become bone-dry. You can tell by the almost crinkly way they come out that you’re being way too violent with your clothes. But don’t let them sit in the dryer while damp; something mildewed this way comes. 

Little black dogs should shake dry only (credit: kellinahandbasket CC by 2.0) 

Little black dogs should shake dry only (credit: kellinahandbasket CC by 2.0) 

As a general rule of thumb, the finer the clothes, the more caution with which you should approach cleaning them. Anything made out of wool or silk is almost certainly dry-clean only. If you’ve begun to enjoy JAKE’s new ready-to-wear clothes--Jake by JAKE--you may have already read the tags on the clothes, but as a reminder, all of the items are dry-clean or spot-clean only, except for the joggers and the men’s shirt, which can be gently washed in cold water, tumble-dried on low, and steamed or lightly ironed if needed.

Hang well to dry

Hang well to dry

If you haven’t bought any of our new ready-to-wear pieces, hustle over to Indiegogo, where we’re crowdfunding a second production of our ready-to-wear capsule collection Jake by JAKE. Because it’s important to make questionable choices from time to time, except when it comes to what you wear. Take care of your clothes, and your choices may still be questionable, but also fabulous. Turn your walks of shame into runway shows, and never look back.

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Will Jake Wall Make It Work on Project Runway Season 14?

An exclusive Q&Q with JAKE co-founder and Project Runway Season 14 designer Jake Wall

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Unconventional challenges are always fan favorites. Do designers actually like them, or are they just “oh boy, here comes the fanservice” moments?

Fourteen seasons in, it’s clearly beyond cliché, but fashion truly is a “make-it-work” industry. 

Materials don’t always cooperate, production doesn’t go smoothly, and yet, if you want to succeed, you absolutely have to figure it out…somehow. You have to proactively tackle the bad mix in whatever good to great you can muster and produce something that people want to buy and wear. 

In season 11’s unconventional challenge, for example, Samantha Black pulled off a bit of a “hat trick” by combined hard and soft elements--contact paper, wire mesh, lilies, and leaves--to produce something striking, unusual, and effective. At JAKE, we relish in the unconventional, albeit with fabrics rather than gardening supplies. In our Vertigo collection, for example, we couldn’t find the right material for one of the jackets but we did find some shirting weight materials that were nothing short of amazing. The only problem is that they weren’t the right weight or grade. So with a little ingenuity and a mix of interfacing and canvassing materials, we and created a brand new textile perfect for the collection.

It doesn’t matter if the looks in Project Runway’s unconventional challenges are salable or even wearable beyond the runway--that’s not why fans love them so much. I think fans of the show connect with those challenges so much because it takes everyone out of their element and pushes boundaries. These challenges really are about creating functional beauty, whimsy, and surprise any way you can and in spite of anything that gets thrown at you.

You began as a menswear designer, though you have since expanded to design for everyone. Millions of men are fans of Project Runway, yet its menswear challenges are consistently train wrecks. Are men just harder to design for, or is it just that there are fewer styles of clothes that men wear, which would constrain your creativity?

Designing for men and women are just very different worlds. They converge in a number of ways--like color--and even more so in recent years as we see more and more androgynous styling, but it is still a different world.

A striking example of how everything can go so wrong was in Season 11 episode 8, when the designers had to construct performance outfits for the Adonis-bodied male strippers of “Thunder from Down Under.” Building clothing for one set of bodies when your tailor’s dummies are an entirely different shape and size leaves a lot to be desired.

Beyond having to nail the structural elements, menswear has ubiquitous detailing that’s jarring when missing: stitched cuffs, plackets down the front, a structured collar, shaped shoulders, etc. A collar seems simple enough, but it’s more than just the shirt’s fabric flipped back on itself. If you’re not used to constructing one, it’s going to be painfully obvious, especially if it’s tacked around beefcake.

Men and women vary in other ways too. When you’re designing for women, you have a greater range of creative flexibility. You still have to have taste and a point-of-view, of course, but, with men, you also have to exercise far more restraint than you might think. Coco Chanel said, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” If you’ve never designed for men, look at your sketches, and then remove at least one thing.

There were some very strong designers in season 11, so a lot of this can be explained away in part by how little time they had to create their garments--coupled with the fact that even the most experienced designer probably hasn’t made too many tear-away pants. 

Made it work by turning shirt fabric into madras tuxedo jackets

Project Runway focuses on design, but as someone who is both a business owner and a designer, your experiences in fashion must be much broader than those of someone who’s solely focused on design. What most surprising resource do you find yourself drawing on most?

If you think about it, fashion is perhaps the best outlet for creative expression that exists. Not everyone goes to the movies or even watches TV. Hardly anyone buys paintings or reads. The concept of the starving artist is, sadly, true. But everyone--everyone--wears clothes. 

Even the most brilliant designers falter if they don’t focus closely enough on the business of fashion – for every one designer who makes it, there are at least 10 who don’t. So from the moment you decide you’re going to become a designer, you need to focus on much more than just your sewing skills.

One of the most obvious skills you need on Project Runway is time management, but I don’t think that’s actually the most important thing in fashion--crazy, tight deadlines absolutely exist in fashion, as they do most places, but the extremity on Project Runway makes for fantastic television. Relationship management is actually vastly more important, because your business thrives or dies based on how well you cultivate and manage your employees, vendors, manufacturers, retailers, and on and on. Of course you have to deliver, but that doesn’t matter if all the other necessary components aren’t also there.

And that’s one of the wonderful things about Project Runway: it puts a group of tremendously talented, driven people in a pressure cooker, which forges close bonds and…sometimes…the exact opposite. 

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