Monday, November 9, 2009



Broadway, NYC

Words, Images Judith Ecochard

Showroom presentations are the only way to really appreciate a collection…

After a packed debut for KAI D’s “Build The Future” and current Fall merch LES boutique shop … at 75 Orchard Street NYC...

…we got an up close, showroom tour of Spring 2010 RTW- by the label’s leading light, KAI D himself …and a mini-education on what it takes to be an entrepreneur in the Big Apple.

“I decided to bring the production (of Kai D) back to New York…for a better quality product,” the former creative director of Nautica said.

And smartly…Kai observed: “There’s a lot of bargains…so I went for a better quality and image.”

“Build” is still a theme here, this time “build in New York.”

…with “quality not quantity” separates that are “limited editions,” bumped up with hand-finished details and sourced only in NYC--- vintage materials.

First off, we always admire fabrics…this time bought, tested, cut, washed etc---in the BIG APPLE. (Yes for reduced carbon footprints on shipping).

A forties style, double welt pocket desert khaki with burn horn buttons- boasts hand stitched ‘old’ tape finishing. Love how the belt loop ends above the waistband and the rich vintage color.

A vintage look Henley with a "Japanese bib" has meticulous double needle stitched seams that costs more---but like all KAI D garments, makes the item durable. Special—the wooden buttons and sweat patch.

A striped indigo linen that’s been pre washed---“in garment form” too--- makes it 'distressed' without effort..

Vests, never go out of style...KAI D’s look great with the turn of the century, vintage piping. It’s reversible too…with functional pockets/buttons on both sides.

The pants have suspenders lifted from a Civil War design.

Railroad stripes in a terrific button down.

Comfy cotton tees that'll even survive an out sourced laundry service --- has the 40’s NYC skyline and other nostalgic graphics.

Denim jackets “…with a coveted zipped front” has pockets in just the right spots. Love the faded shades, vintage taping on the pockets. A Brando worthy classic---

The denim pants-made from a washed Japanese fabric---has the old-fashioned double needle stitching. The inside fly, outer stitched pocket, and a signature pocket with railroad ticking---reminds us why certain jeans are premium.

Shirt jackets are casual in theory, yet have a tailored fit that makes them urban friendly. Clearly, a lot of thought goes into the construction…with selvage in the fabrics (a natural roll edge that doesn’t fray-typical of textiles made from time consuming old-world or shuttle looms)-- and chip metal buttons.

A anorak is made form t shirt weight 100% cotton…so light.

One of our favorite looks for Spring is the western shirt ---two tone stitching, wooden buttons…

A classic---the white button down gets stitched up with a 17 inch needle for a high quality finish.

The best selling Bond Jackets come pre-washed in a soft, wrinkled linen ---a great travel piece.

A shawl collar type linen vest ---a dressier option we think gals will crib this from the men.

Other utility jackets have are carefully tailored on the back…casual but not (NEVER) sloppy.

Short sleeves---in a window pane print or rich green/grey…a nice neutral that is Americana updated. A looser fit, a hipster favorite.

We hope that sales persons are schooled in what makes KAI D menswear so unique. The guys we know may not ‘get’ the details at first glance, but would appreciate the ‘labor’ that goes into each garment…that justify prices above the big box utilitarian basics.

KAI D is “not diluted from the original vision” and AMEN for that.

BONUS POINTS: Even the press kit…a multi pocket canvas printed with a vintage NYC map, stuffed with stockcards images---is a keeper.