There has been an incredible buzz online around John Simons’ latest delivery of J. Keydge slack jackets – one it seems that has translated into real sales. Keydge is an odd brand. They make a number of deconstructed jackets that appear to be aimed at 65 year old French lotharios with Rod Stewart hair and sleeves pushed up. But then they also make the Ivy slack jacket, which is simple, lightweight, deconstructed. In a word sublime.
It’s also one of those jackets that looks better on than off. No one who tries one on can fail to buy one. When Paul Simons told me they were getting in corduroy and herringbone versions for Autumn I kept a sharp eye out, knowing from previous experience that John Simons sells out of medium sizes in days. Within minutes of them landing last week, I’d ordered a navy cord one. Then I saw the photo above on Film Noir Buff of the herringbone jacket. I wished I hadn’t.
I emailed Paul over the weekend to put one aside for me if they even had any left. Luckily there was one left in 50 (they come up larger than the cord or cotton version). I went into the store today to pick them up but then John told me they had olive cord as well. Damn. So that was it – three jackets in one day. The thing is, the cut and sizing fit me like no other jacket I’ve had and you simply cannot find them anywhere. Keydge is the kind of company that seems to go serially out of business, must have their PR department run by a guy who can’t use a computer and feature a website that only seems to sell last season’s oddments. There’s always been a motto chez Weejun and that is, if you see it buy it, because in our line of The Look, you probably won’t see it again.
The shop was buzzing today as well. Nice to finally meet Guy in there, dressed like a young Jack Lemmon. He was selling a French Keydge cord jacket to a Frenchman!
I told John I thought the shop had really come into its own now, after nearly a year. When it first opened there weren’t so many items I felt I needed to buy. Now, I was afraid to look around – great chinos, Pro Keds high tops, vintage leather jackets, Pike Bros N-1 Navy jackets, some great suits and some Grenfell cord covert coats to die for. Then there were the Florsheim Yuma in chocolate suede. I wouldn’t have thought I’d like them as much as the pebble grain, but they look very cool – Italian ivy.
Great to see John’s enthusiasm after all these years and Paul Simons has gone from being the understudy to being a new master. JSA goes from strength to strength indeed!
Sorry for the poor iPhone photos – left the Leica at home today…
I bought one of the tweed slack jackets over the phone pretty much straight after seeing the picture on facebook . I think they’re mad not to have an online shop, I for one would proably spend quite a bit on there.
I don’t suppose you know how much the pebble grain yumas are?
The Weejun says
Henry I can’t remember exactly but I think something like £115? They were a reasonable price especially when you consider that even online they are near impossible to find in grain. They are also surprising comfortable for a loafer. Dare I say more comfortable than Weejuns when new due to the wider vamp which is actually foot shaped rather than foot following form in the case of the Weejun.
Peter Kinnaird says
Keydge seems to get better and better – as does JSA. I agree the shop is really exceeding expectations at this point – after the great Golfer jackets now these. The new suits are the nicest to date, terrific stuff. Both cuts of chinos too. Nothing even a fraction as good exists in the US, wish I got to London more!
The downside to these jackets is that J Keydge outsource their manufacture to China and Eastern Europe. It depends whether that’s an issue for you? It would be for me if I was going to pay £250+ for an unstructured jacket.
The Weejun says
I’m extremely happy to be able to help one of the last great independent retailers in London to make a living, employ friends and family and pass on the torch to a younger generation like Paul Simons and Guy. When I was a mere 17 years old and poor as a church mouse John Simons used to give me generous discounts and lay away terms so that I could buy the clothes I lusted after.
These days it’s a small price for me (and a thoroughly enjoyable one) to be able to give something back by way of my custom at JSA, especially when the business is swimming against the general tide of public conditioned to the price of disposal clothing.
Cheers for the reply, £115 sounds very reasonable.
I like to support independent retailers too. I wasn’t actually having a go at John Simons, although you seem to have taken my post that way. All I was saying was that these jackets are very popular at present, they are not cheap and people probably don’t realise they are getting something that has been made in China, regardless of whether they buy it in John Simons or anywhere else. You normally emphasise the importance of home manufacture on this blog and dismiss anything outsourced.
I probably am the frenchman who bought that J.Keydge olive cord on that day, thanks for the instant fame. By the way, the jacket is obviously a keeper, wore it today with a white Oxford and a burgundy wool tie, felt like a second skin!
The Weejun says
Ah, Lou-Francis, I’m certain it was you – the burgundy tie you also bought at the same time?
Actually it was another one i found 2 years ago in an antique fair in Paris, a Brooks Brothers wool tie from the 60’s. But yes, the one i bought the same day at JS is fantastic too.
The Weejun says
In the late 80s Paris was the place to buy Ivy style and retro tailoring of all kinds. That was in the days when no French person wore trainers unless they playing sport and before JM Weston was ruined into becoming hideous Neapolitan-style from the current boss. C’est la vie.
It is quite hard to bear a pure Ivy style or traditional american when you are under 50 in France nowadays, people will automatically find you are overdressed and will prefer an horrid designer jacket with a bad quality black slim tie to a dapper sport coat and a fresh regimental. C’est la vie! Glad i moved to London.
I love the Florsheim Yuma. Wish they or someone else would make them again! You can find all kinds of venetian mocs, but none have the shape of these.