In 1925 Joseph Smutek launched a raincoat business on 66 Rue de Bondy in Paris. The business thrived for 15 years until the Nazis invaded France and Smutek was forced to shutter the business. Fast forward nearly a century later to Daniel Smith, Smutek’s great grandson, who is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and decided to revive Ketums.
Although Smith had stints in Silicon Valley at Yammer and Dropbox, he always had his family’s legacy on his mind. Fascinated by the story, and their penchant for craftsmanship, Smith would use his spare time to take fashion classes in design, patternmaking, and production to learn the skills that his great grandfather used to run the business. Smith also sought out mentorship from the local fashion industry to learn everything he could about the business. Finally, after a trip to South America, Smith felt the time was right to continue his family’s legacy.
For the first Ketums launch, Smith decided to design a an all-weather heritage coat he named the Bondy, after the street where his great grandfather first opened the family business. “This is a San Francisco jacket,” says Smith. “This city revolves around the outdoors and all the different phases each day can have. The jacket feels at home on Ocean Beach and at the same time looks sharp enough to head for a night out directly after those outdoors adventures.”
The jacket’s exterior is made from heritage waxed cotton fabric from Scotland, while the lining consists of a Japanese chambray flannel with corduroy accents. Smith first produced a small run of the jacket last spring, but it instantly sold out. Lucky for you, he’s releasing another run this month.
“For now, I want to continue to slowly build on my family’s legacy,” said Smith. “There’s a certain attention to detail and quality that my great grandfather had. He made bespoke rainwear by hand. Back then, the way my family grew their business was through word of mouth and people commenting on the quality of the garments. I hope to grow the business the same way today.”
For more information, visit ketums.com.