Jack Spade—not an actual dude. The name was cooked up by Andy Spade, who debuted the collection in 1997 along with his wife Kate. Whom you may have heard of.
That said, if Jack were an actual guy, he’d have great comedic genes. Not only is Andy a noted wit (for evidence see Partners & Spade, the emporium-cum-branding agency he runs with Anthony Sperduti; his oeuvre of photo books on such topics as air conditioner graffiti and Medical Professionals Smoking, and his austere and amazing Instagram feed). And then there’s Andy’s brother, the comedic actor David Spade (who would be something like Jack’s uncle, if Jack were real).
The label is as dedicated to function as it is to fun. Andy and Kate sold their first bags in downtown NYC hardware stores, to better understand how customers would actually use them.
Jack Spade creative direction is now overseen by Mr. Cuan Hanly, an Irishman of great talent, impeccable taste, and an uncanny ability to rock a DB jacket, as witnessed by the photo above.
Although the label is best known for its bags and wallets, Hanly and team produce a full — and vastly underrated, if you ask us — menswear collection, from perfect-fitting casual gear to well-tailored work essentials.
The Warren Street and Greene Street labels you see on JS bags? Those thoroughfares weren’t just chosen because they sound cool. There’s an actual connection: Warren Street was where Kate and Andy lived when the label was founded, and the label’s first shop opened on Greene.
The Jack aesthetic is a little elusive. When talking to the folks at Esquire a few years back, Andy Spade once likened the brand to a drop of mercury: “You can never put your finger on it. You can never figure it out.”
Menswear blogger and Twitter phenom Mister Mort (a.k.a. Mordechai Rubeinstein) once handled PR for the brand. In the run-up to Father’s Day a few years back, he once sat at a large wooden desk, which was parked outside the Greene Street shop, peddling neckwear.
Walls of the the original Jack Spade boutique on Greene Street were not in fact papered with vintage Oui magazine covers. The shop did have a few vintage Playboys on display, however.