SPEAK EASY VIBES, BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
A visit to the KERCHER studio is anything BUT what one would expect from a typical luxury brand and, most certainly, from a bespoke tailoring house. Surrounded by some of the cities best restaurants and nightlife options the location speaks to the brands alignment with music and entertainment.
The address that houses the men’s style HQ is an unassuming building in the River North neighborhood of Chicago. Entering the private building requires you to be buzzed in from the outside. Speakeasy vibes, by appointment only.
Walking into the studio you’ll note that it resembles more of an art gallery than a retail space. The studio is carefully adorned with a curated collection of garments and a myriad of art and artifacts that Kercher and his wife, Holly (a bespoke shoemaker trained by the famed Stefano Bemer in Florence), have found during their frequent travels. The space definitely has a boho meets biker meets art gallery meets nyc loft type of aesthetic.
Not sure what that looks like? You'll just have to come for a visit and see for yourself.
MAKING SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING
"WE UNFORTUNATELY HAD THE EXPERIENCE NECESSARY TO DO THE BUILD-OUT ON OUR OWN."
The studio experience is the curated brainchild of both the creative director (Josh) and his wife, Holly, the bespoke shoemaker. What people are often surprised by is that the duos first foray into design wasn't actually clothing but in renovations in their previous home of Ann Arbor, MI. "We had basically built an entire house before so now we joke that we unfortunately had the experience necessary to do the build-out on our own." says Josh, "we didn't have any money, it's what we had to do... but one thing we always do is get our family and friends involved in the build-out. Our families have done so much for us in this journey, we really would be nowhere without them."
STUDIO BEFORE - "THE SHIT HOLE"
STUDIO AFTER DURING KERCHER X AMSALE POP-UP EXPERIENCE (MUCH BETTER)
DIFFERENT IS BETTER
"I THINK SOME OF OUR MORE CONSERVATIVE CLIENTS ARE A LITTLE SURPRISED WHEN THEY MEET ME."
Despite the stimuli-evoking studio, it’s the aesthetic of the clothing contained within it that truly says something about what Kercher is doing with the brand. That uniqueness and attention to detail found in the space are just as prevalent in the collection. The aesthetic is unexpected, however oddly familiar, (Kercher) seamlessly blends the worlds of skaters and executives, bikers and hedge fund managers; and he does it by, as he says, “respecting the existing framework that makes menswear so great in the first place while strategically borrowing inspiration from the subcultures that have shaped my life.”
Studio and collection aside, it’s (Josh) Kercher himself that really throws you for a loop. The typical stuffy and rather ostentatious world of luxury (and tailoring) is a far departure from what the designer portrays. His work 'uniform' is rarely a suit but instead a vintage t-shirt, leather motorcycle jacket, jeans and boots. "I think some of our more conservative clients are a little surprised when they meet me and see the sleeve tats but by the time they sit down with me or someone from our team and see that this isn't a job for us and they feel the passion we have, I think they start to understand that what we are doing here is pretty damn authentic.
IT'S ABOUT THE FEELING
I think everyone that knows me expects us to have the musicians, the artists and actors as clients but the fact that we have so many people from traditional corporate or conservative environments is something I'm really proud of, too. I know, aesthetically, that I'm designing for the Shawn Mendes, Lenny Kravits, G-Easy, Gary Clark Jr, Mark Ronson and Timothy Chalamets of the world, those are my avatars, but the ability to transcend multiple consumer groups, that's what tells us something special is happening and that the work is speaking for itself." Kercher feels that true luxury is found not only in the subtleties of his garments (i.e. - craftsmanship, fit, textures, scarcity) but also in the feeling that wearing them gives you. "That's really where the magic is."
Considering that Kercher works directly with the majority of clients and oversees all production you can be certain that when you are investing into a KERCHER piece, you are getting something very, very special. As Kercher, himself, puts it, “Authenticity is sewn into every garment.”
Creative Director, Josh Kercher, in a bespoke turquoise stretch wool 2-piece suit and bamboo shirt (Josh wears glasses no chance he could actually see in this photo)