Taylor spong & aj livingston of knickerbocker mfg.
What is Knickerbocker Manufacturing Co.?
Knickerbocker is both a manufacturing company and private label. The owners of the manufacturing company include Daniel Rickard Guy, Kyle Mosholder and myself. On the manufacturing side, the Knickerbocker team works with fellow designers, boutiques and other labels to develop and/or manufacture their caps. We pride ourselves as skilled laborers so with our manufacturing company we do not use any automatic machinery, which keeps an eye on the product through every step of production. We run a stock manufacturing program, essentially a streamlined production program, which allows us to offer lower minimums in these stock silhouettes. The stock silhouettes include our baseball cap in various forms, our camp cap, our bucket cap and lastly our work cap. What we enjoy most about the manufacturing side of the company is our custom production program. Under the custom production program we have the opportunity to work with a lot of great professionals and businesses in developing new silhouettes, which always brings some interesting challenges.
Along with the manufacturing company is Knickerbocker’s Signature Line, which is comprised of a line of cut & sew garments, bags, leather goods and most importantly caps. Influenced by the work we do, the line is heavily inspired by vintage workwear and Americana culture. I run the Signature Line with help of Daniel and the rest of the staff here. The aim is to bring a twist to the classics and implement the finest materials and trims with a more modern tailored cut. Our first release, was just last week at Kinfolk Studios with our Born to Dig capsule collection. With this collection along with the next capsule collection the goal is to experiment and dial in our cut & sew program as we look to move into wholesale with select stores in the fall and have plans of opening up our own flagship late next year. Our next capsule, themed “Modern Man” will be debuting in March.
How did you meet everyone?
Taylor and I both grew up in San Diego, CA. We both came out to NYC around the same time — I was attending Pratt Institute and A.J. was at NYU. We had a mutual interest in clothing and started our first clothing brand and store out of Williamsburg with a focus on custom garmets made from deconstructed vintage clothing. In addition to our own line and the reconstructed garments we carried in store, Daniel Rickard Guy was making leather goods for the store and Kyle Mosholder was running a custom bag program through the store under the name of D’emploi.
How did you guys come across this amazing space?
With the first brand we were looking to expand our line of accessories and move into caps. We wanted to start small and grow the line, which made it very hard to find a manufacturer since with most manufacturers we were facing such high minimums. This is what spawned the idea for Knickerbocker‘s stock manufacturing program. Anyways, I came across some old directories and found the address to what was the Watman Headwear Corp.. Upon showing up I could tell this was yet another manufacturer on the way out and due to their lack of business they were willing to work with me in developing the caps. Watman kept pressing me to take over the factory and over time the idea grew on me. Looking to have production in house, cut out the middle man, be able to experiment as much as I wish, I knew this was the move I had to make in order to produce an all American made brand and still be able to compete in an industry that is flooded with other brands and moves at the speed it does. Kyle and Dan were the perfect pair to team up with and after successfully raising the funds to take over the factory via Kickstarter, Knickerbocker Mfg. Co. began.
Tell us about your new brand Domino New York ?
It started out with premium denim line specializing in 100% hand made jeans, made of the best materials out there. I make all the jeans myself here in Brooklyn but I would like to incorporate more and more to the line as far as nice shirting and outerwear. The brand is focused on clean, durable, well made goods. I want the brand to be clean and simple—not trying to over complicate things. I believe strongly in Made here in America and that’s something we really push. I want a my goods to be tough enough to work/ play in all day and put against the elements but be something elegant enough you could go out on the town and look sharp in.
-Words and photos by: Justin Bettman