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Behind The Scenes

The JF & Son Art Project

Having their own production facilities places the NYC-based clothing company JF & Son in a unique position to bring projects to life—and Jesse Finkelstein, Katie King, and their team are making the most of it by challenging artists to come up with extraordinary textile-based projects. Travis Boyer wears the curator hat, heading up the charmingly named MFT (My Favorite Things) collaboration initiative. Here, he talks about his role and some of the artists he’s especially hot on. On becoming the in-house art guy:“I did my BFA in fibers, and I was always involved in textiles. I lived with Katie [King], and I was a fashion stylist—at that time, just being a young, stylish kid from Texas, you could get seemingly endless advertising jobs. When I started working for JF & Son, we didn’t just want to have a store we wanted to do some special things.” Ulrike Mueller quilts hanging in the old JF & Son store On the MFT projects:“This is our latest collaboration—these quilts with Ulrike Mueller. It took a lot of time to get them exactly right. They’re based on pencil drawings. You can see the pencil lines, how they’re reiterated with stitching. We’re working on a collaboration with Amy Yao, a really awesome California-based artist. That one will involve a lot of hair and alternative materials.” Eileen Quinlan’s Fahrenheit #15 On who has him excited right now:“Fia Backström and Matt Keegan are really awesome—they do text and photography and have a sophisticated commentary on things. I’ve always really liked Eileen Quinlan. She’s a photographer who became known for doing these abstract photos about smoke and mirrors during the Bush era.” See the awesome bracelet-slash-belt the JF & Son team made just for Of a Kind!
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Jesse and Katie Make a Move

When Jesse Finkelstein and Katie King of JF & Son first ventured into the realm of clothing, they focused solely on producing stunning and intricate textiles for other designers. But it wasn’t long before they decided to start their own line and open a Manhattan shop to sell it. “I think having the store has certainly made us better designers. Being able to see women try on the clothes—it’s been really eye-opening,” Jesse says. Now, after a year and a half on Kenmare Street, they are moving just a little uptown, to University Place. Here’s what they’ll miss about their current location and the places that have them excited about their new ‘hood.The Kenmare storefront The Old: Nolita Di PaloKatie: “I always work on Saturdays with Travis, and so that’s when we go in. We have to take a ticket—it’s crowded, mostly with older Italian women. We pick out some prepared stuff, like white bean salad and seafood salad, and maybe some meat, cheese, and bread.”(200 Grand St., 212-226-1033; dipaloselects.com) A DétacherKatie: “I have a gorgeous ballet-pink slip skirt. It has little straps that you can either wear up or leave hanging down. It’s really simple and elegant—a classic A Détacher piece.”(262 Mott St. #106, 212-625-3380; adetacher.com) EllenKatie: “Ellen has probably the most amazing vintage in the city. It’s a small collection, but her eye is amazing.”Jesse: “When we first opened the store, we did a collection with her—based on her favorite pieces, reinterpreting them. That was a lot of fun.”(122 Ludlow St # 1, 212-471-0080)Katie and Jesse at their old space The New: Union Square GreenmarketKatie: “Having access to fresh fruit in the summer is going to be really nice.”Jesse: “I like the goat milk lady. She makes yogurt, kefir, and cheese. And I like the pretzel people.”(E. 17th St. & Broadway; grownyc.org/unionsquaregreenmarket) The AdoreKatie: “There’s a French sandwich shop right by Parsons that’s really cute. It’s kind of rustic. I get their smoked salmon sandwich.”(17 E. 13th St., 212-243-8742) Check out the edition Katie and Jesse created for Of a Kind. It’s a bracelet. It’s a belt. It’s amazing.
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Five of Jesse Finkelstein and Katie King’s Favorite Textiles

This is not an exaggeration: Jesse Finkelstein and Katie King of JF & Son make some of the most impressive textiles we’ve ever seen. Their most out-there materials often don’t find their way into the company’s own designs, which tend to be minimalist with just small, eye-catching accents—instead, they make them for other designers or for inspiration. These are some of the stars from their swatch archive. Check out the awesome beaded wrap cuff—that doubles as a belt—that Jesse and Katie created just for Of a Kind. Jesse: “This is one of our very first swatches, for one of our very first clients, Michael Angel.”Katie: “He came to us with a digital print, and we showed him the different variations of beading you could do.” Jesse: “These are recycled sequins. They’re actually the backsides of aluminum cans.” Katie: “We got this ikat fabric in India. The beads and the weaving add a lot of texture.” Jesse: “These are printed sequins—they’re manufactured that way.” Katie: “These are bugle beads turned on their sides. The technique creates a nice, Chia Pet texture.”
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