Stephen Kenn – A New Heritage

stephen kenn new heritage featurd

Heritage brands in menswear are #everything these days, but approaching furniture with a heritage esthetic, SK Collection, does it right!.  Canadian born and raised Stephen Kenn, based in Los Angeles, is an artist and designer that pays homage to the past with a modern point of view..  From leather bags and canvas furniture, Stephen is not only influenced by his grandfather (the company bears his name), but also influenced by Los Angeles, where his collection is made.

Overseeing each and every detail personally, Kenn took time to answer questions exclusively for The Manual.

Tell us about what gave you that push to start your company?

In the fall of 2011 I ended a season as the designer for a bag company called Temple which used WWII duffle bags as the fabric for men’s travel bags. My wife asked me a simple and yet probing question, what’s next? I had been thinking about carrying the same military aesthetic over into furniture to create something that was masculine and yet modern. We had some money that we had set aside for a vacation and decided to develop our first sample set with it. It was exciting to see the concept of the steel frame, webbing belts and military canvas blend so well. Once we finished the first sofa samples we knew that there was something really special about it.

Your designs evoke a feeling of a by-gone era, how does that translate to modern day?

 I believe now more than ever that we are a generation that craves authenticity. We love real stories and seek to live them out. For our furniture (The Inheritance Collection) I am inspired by the military fabric itself. The character of the printing and stitching speaks to a time of utilitarian design that was simple and functional above all else. The bags (The Encounter Collection) are striped down to the barest bones as well and then crafted from the best leathers available to make a product that stands the test of time. There is something very timeless about bringing simple and clean aesthetic into relationship with good materials, that feeling of a bygone era is authenticity which I feel is relevant for design today.

What inspires your work?

I think a lot about innovation and originality. I try to expose myself to as much design and art as possible. I study material palates and structural details. Author Harry Beckwith is a brilliant marketing mentor.  Two things that have stuck with me are “The last thing people want to see is what they just saw” and “Disguise the novel as familiar” These statements push me to be experimental and innovative while reminding me to keep design warm, inviting and comfortable.

How does producing in Los Angeles influence your designs?

I love manufacturing locally. I’m constantly being influenced by conversations with contractors, materials in their shops and more often than anything else, driving through industrial neighborhoods. Design genius happens in a flash. Ideas that completely transform my work usually happen while I’m driving around or exploring some warehouse somewhere. I believe in this beautiful marriage between a project that is slowly formulating in my mind while constantly exposing myself to methods, machines and materials. I have no idea how I would ever design exclusively behind the screen of a computer. I need to be out in the world, talking with people and seeing unexpected things. That is when my best ideas present themselves.

Check out the SK Collection website with videos.

Travel

Traveling Alone Can Be an Unforgettable Adventure with Contiki

Ever wanted to climb a volcano and make chocolate in the same trip? Check out Contiki and their curated trip to Ecuador.
Podcast

Beards, Booze, and Bacon: The Leather-Working Episode

Levi Martinez of Orox Leather educates us on the basics of leather-working, tips for spotting quality leather, and how to keep good leather looking great.
Grooming

5 Rules to Follow and Become Your Best Bearded Self This No-Shave November

Here’s some sage pieces of advice and a few product suggestions to take you from clean-cut to boldly bushy.
Outdoors

Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2018: The Best Gear of the Year

Get ready for knitting machines that eliminate scrap waste, hiking boots made from algae, and biodegradable down.
Fashion & Style

The Snow Peak Pendleton Wool Blanket Is Camp Comfort Done Right

One of our favorite outdoor outfitters meets our favorite blanket maker in one killer collab.
Fashion & Style

Shop the Hottest Men’s Thermal Shirts Before It’s Too Cold

Thermal shirts are the best casual basic to throw on during a weekend at home.
Fashion & Style

Say Goodbye to Down with the United By Blue Bison Puffer Jacket

Bison fiber is also remarkable for its laundry list of benefits — it regulates temperature, it’s hypoallergenic, and it’s actually warm when wet. 
Fashion & Style

The Best Work Pants for Men That Are Both Sturdy and Stylish

Work pants aren't just for the outdoorsman, but if that happens to be you? All the better.
Fashion & Style

Snow Doesn’t Stand a Chance Against the Best Winter Boots for Men

Brands big and small, expected and unexpected — we’ve got you covered.
Fashion & Style

The Best Men’s Parkas for Braving the Cold

The parka is the undisputed heavy hitter of any winter outerwear lineup.
Fashion & Style

Stay Dry in Style with the Best Rain Jackets for Men

There's a rain jacket for every style and budget.
Fashion & Style

Keep Your Digits Warm with the Coolest Men’s Winter Gloves

Never lose feeling in your fingers again.
Fashion & Style

Burn Your Snuggie and Get Yourself One of the Best Men’s Bathrobes Instead

Pick between styles loved by mountain men, island-hopping billionaires, and modern minimalists.
Fashion & Style

Hugh Hefner’s Iconic Silk Smoking Jacket Is Up for Auction

Worn everywhere from the Playboy Mansion to press and media events, Hef's jacket has been around the block in more ways than one.