David Kien, like most fans of menswear, simply wanted a garment that fit well and felt great. A denim jacket that'd let the tailoring and construction do the talking, not the labels. His search for a minimal style at what he deemed a fair price drove him to create his own. Similar to the path of menswear designers who just make the kind of clothes they'd wear themselves, David's "no frills, slim fit jean jacket" promises to give the Kickstarter community a versatile menswear staple informed by modern design and fit, but at a price that fits too. Unlike other menswear Kickstarters, David is aware that the minimal jean jacket's been done before—citing A.P.C. and Band of Outsiders as examples, but he doesn't think it's been done at a scale where the price reflects the cost and materials, rather than the cachet of a designer brand. We talked with him about the state of e-commerce, the details of his jacket and the importance of good design.
The ambition is simple; to make guys look contemporary and handsome. This is achieved by making products that may look understated and minimalist in design, but flatters the body and appears current. Good design should be lasting. On top of this, it's relatively affordable compared to similar brands. As for the company's name, there has been some confusion. (Phonetically, it's "Duke Cane U.S."). The name belongs to my father and I've always adored how his name appeared on paper. When it came to naming the company, his was always top choice. Although it is Vietnamese, I like that Duc Kien US looks and sounds like it's derived from any number of origins.
As an online upstart, I'm still ironing out kinks, before making the store portion of duckien.us functional. Presently, the only costs have been in the development of the jacket, packaging materials and purchasing the domain name. Future costs I foresee are fees from checkout platforms like PayPal and Amazon Payments. There will always be difficulty with e-commerce because there will inevitably be some returns. I hope to reduce this by presenting product shots of various sized models sporting the garments we offer. This way, the consumer can make an improved, informed decision as to how the garment drapes and moves on different guys. Unfortunately, the customer won't be able to understand a garment until it arrives at his doorstep. Complimentary returns are a necessary evil, but it allows consumers to remove uncertainty from online purchasing. My mission is to present accurate images and video in order for the consumer to make an informed decision.
I trimmed away at the cut of the typical jacket in the bicep, the sleeve length and even the collar, so that the final fit was slimming and modern. Essentially, the measurements have shrunk for a modern appearance. What really differentiates the jacket from others is the elongated body. I think guys have longer torsos now than they did in the 1960s, when the Levi's trucker standard was introduced. I often notice a lot of lower backside on guys when they wear their denim jackets. I don't think that should be the only option. I played around with the chest pockets and the vertical panel design so that it would be distinctly ours. Months went into the development; out came three prototypes, before arriving at the perfect jean jacket.
A lot of the jean jackets that ring in at over 200 bucks lack side pockets, which is bizarre to me. I like function and side pockets are a must. I always have my hands in them in numerous social occasions when I don't know where else to place them. The added bonuses are the inner pockets, which, by the way, fit a nicely sized flask. I maintained the codes of the classic jean jacket (flat felled seams, inner chain stitches), with just of a lot of fit revisions. The fabric is a rigid 12.75 oz. cotton denim twill, ideal for year round wear. Being rigid, whiskers will begin to appear at the elbows, which is a fantastic personal touch. It's not selvedge, it's not Japanese and it's not organic. Personally, I don't care about those details. My aim was a great jacket that looks spectacular and is constructed well.
Autumn will be approaching, so something cozy is in the works.