This month’s featured designers are Brook Lane and Kirby McKenzie, the very cool duo behind Oakland’s Job & Boss. They share not only their process and inspirations with us, but also provide a definitive guide to the best Asian eateries in the East Bay!
Kirby: I have been sewing and designing clothes since I was a kid. I ended up at CCA as an individualized major, which allowed me to fuse all of my design interests with studio art practices. The fusion of art and design has always been very important to me; I don’t think I could ever feel comfortable doing one without the other.
Brook: I grew up with a mother that was constantly designing and making things- toys, jewelry and clothing. I’ve been greatly influenced by her creative work ethic, which was part of my motivation for going to CCA to study film and photography. My zealous interest in the craft and cultural relevance of fashion, from vintage to contemporary, led to professional work as a stylist and photographer. All of these paths seemed to converge with the beginnings of Job & Boss.
Shibori Collection: Clothespin Scarf, Bomaki Clutch, Block Big Bag
The process of designing the bag silhouette starts with the need to fill a niche or scratch a creative itch. We brainstorm together by sharing inspiration references and sketching potential silhouettes. Then we create paper mock-ups of the patterns we want to develop. We refine the shape in paper form, asking ourselves: Is this functional? How can we streamline production? How can we make this as versatile and durable as possible without sacrificing the aesthetic? When have our final edit, Kirby translates the paper model into cloth and creates a master pattern for production.
The custom textiles that are featured in each collection are really what drive the line creatively, and each is developed in a different way. The Shibori collection was the result of a challenge we gave ourselves to try and make (and keep alive) our own indigo vat. We began experimenting with traditional folding and dying techniques and fell in love with the process. Brook has developed a standardized method of dying during production so our patterns can be a consistent as possible, but the process of initially creating those patterns is more free form.
Last summer, we took a trip to the city of Oaxaca in Mexico and were deeply inspired by the unique culture of this creative mecca. Local specialized artisans have been working in the same craft trade for generations, and we were able to collaborate with a master weaver named Alfredo Hernandez Orozco on the woven textiles featured in the Oaxaca collection. The resulting fabric combines traditional techniques with modern shapes and colors, and we are amazed at the results of what all three of us feel was a transformative experience.
In the next year or so we will be working on moving Job & Boss from just bags and accessories into something greater. This could mean branching out into apparel, incorporating other brands and alliances, or all of the above. On a design level, our future collections will continue to be textile focused; we are excited about doing some more experimental processes and trying a collection of one-offs.
Oaxaca Collection: Black & Gray Big Bag, Melon Clutch
Our day- First, drink coffee. Answer emails. Morning meetings with collaborators or store visits. More coffee. Back to the studio to post photos on Tumblagrambook and write more emails. Input new orders into Stitch. In the afternoon, we do studio work - folding and dying fabric and sewing to fill upcoming orders. Late lunch together to touch base about upcoming projects. Answer more emails, as they seem to have multiplied exponentially over the course of the day. More sewing and processing. Wash and dry. Repeat.
Our studio soundtrack- Savage Love Podcast keeps Kirby sane; Dan Savage is easily one of the least annoying people to listen to talk for hours on end. Brook is partial to the lyrical stylings of Nate Dogg.
Kirby: I get excited by anybody doing things differently and making their own way out of whatever they can. I wanna go places and meet these people.
Brook: Ranunculas, Swallow Magazine, Jessie Oonark, Uniform Exercises, and the term “salad days”
Binh Minh Quan, Ippuku, Kang Tong Degi, Phnom Penh House
THE JOB & BOSS GUIDE TO ASIAN FOOD SPOTS OF THE EAST BAY:
Vietnamese // Binh Minh Quan
1. Do it yourself spring rolls with the freshest ingredients
2. Bamboo-focused interior with a water feature
3. Coffee candy with the bill that sticks in your teeth
Japanese // Ippuku
1. Employees straight out of an editorial photoshoot
2. Heated toilets with a “water feature”
3. Dancing rabbits in the rest rooms
3. Perfect date spot- if your companion won’t try the chicken tartare it’s a no go
Korean // Kang Tong Degi
1. Open til 2am
2. Private booths
3. Unexpectedly hip & classy interior
4. Smoking inside after 12am makes you feel k-mob
5. Horrible fruity Soju cocktails
6. Translates to “Tin Pig” or maybe “Tin & Pig”
Cambodian // Phnom Penh House
1. You can eat an entire entree out of the inside of a fried fish
2. Perfect drab-classy interior with fun “krap dance” poster
3. Best for when you want to be quiet and well-behaved