Meet the Acacia Jacket, Kenny Ryder's very first and definitive jacket
To celebrate the arrival of the 'Acacia Jacket', we sat down with Kenny Ryder to find out more about his first originally designed jacket.
Thank you! I’ve had the basic idea for the Acacia Jacket for a few years and after being unable to find the design I was looking for from other brands I decided why not make it myself? Sourcing luxury pre-loved clothing for the Burford menswear department has meant a lot of amazing quality pieces have passed through my hands. During the long process of designing, prototyping and manufacturing Kenny Ryder’s first original item, this experience has proved invaluable. The pre-loved clothing has helped inform me on useful design details, essential manufacturing points and what material characteristics to look for. The aim is for Kenny Ryder’s new items to not look out of place amongst the brands on our pre-loved rails, which is only possible if I aim for the absolute best quality.
This journey started 18 months ago with initial sketches, inspiration images of details from other brands that I liked, as well as an old vintage jacket that I loved the fit of. These formed the basis of early discussions with the wonderful pattern cutter that I work with. She helped to create the 2-dimensional shapes that are used to create the 3-dimensional jacket. From there, we created mock-ups of the design in simple materials to refine the measurements, before numerous samples were made in my luxury fabrics to determine their viability, with minor changes made at each stage. After we were happy with the pattern, all the other sizes were created and manufacture could begin, by a very small operation in North London by hand.
The real draw of the jackets, I think, are the materials. I have sourced luxury surplus fabrics both to increase the sustainability of the garments, but also to use unique, one-of-a-kind textiles that, due to their limited nature, help create really special items that you’ll never see on anyone else. The two launch editions of the Acacia Jacket are made in a refined green wool/cotton that is both soft and rugged, as well as a really amazing silk/wool herringbone tweed with a gorgeous, slubby texture that becomes even more wonderful with wear. The green is partially lined so great for layering, whilst the tweed is thick and fully lined, so can almost be worn as a coat.
I always wanted lovely natural textiles for the jackets and this has extended to other areas as well. From the 100% cotton linings, which have a great vintage feel, to the natural horn buttons from one of the last remaining UK manufacturers and the hidden real mother-of-pearl top button, I needed to make sure there were no compromises in creating a garment of the utmost quality.
I am currently finalising the details and materials for the Spring/Summer Acacia jackets, to be released next year, think heavy linens and casual cottons, and there are also a couple of other designs in the works but it’s still early days on those, so can’t reveal too much. I am also hoping to open up a ‘made-to-order’ service in 2024, which will allow the customer to pick from a selection of limited materials as well as customise certain details.
My first piece of advice is to take the time to find the best version of what you are looking for. If you are on the hunt for a navy crewneck, for example, don’t just settle for the first one you find, which may be only an average fit, but take the time to research and try on other options, find out what material and construction qualities are the best for you. This will hopefully result in an item that you’ll not only want to wear a lot more and will last longer but will stop wasted purchases and items sitting in the wardrobe or worse, ending up in a landfill. My pick for a navy crewneck would be a lovely thick Scottish lambswool or cashmere, by the way!
My second piece of advice is to know where your clothes are coming from. Find out where brands have their items made, what processes and suppliers they are using. Transparency is great trait in a brand, I think, as it often shows they are not cutting any corners both with respect to quality but also with sustainability.
The Acacia Jacket is exclusively available in our Menswear Collection and online at www.kenny-ryder.co.uk, please do join us to try on for size and discover the tactility and quality of these pieces.
Gabriel regularly joins us on the first Saturday of each month for our ‘Kenny Ryder Refresh’. He is on hand to answer questions about monthly new arrivals, the creation of his new jackets and to discuss all things ‘pre-loved’. Please see our What’s On page for more information about the next upcoming session.
Step into more stories and guides
In Conversation with Gabriel Kenny-Ryder
Getting to know the founder of our new and exclusive pre-loved menswear brand ‘Kenny Ryder’.
Meet Red Wing, makers of premium heritage footwear
Jump in to the rich and purpose driven history of iconic heritage brand Red Wing
Our Favourite Christmas Tipples
Celebrate with our carefully curated selection of festive drinks and nibbles.