The Creative Director Speaks About the Evolution and Audience of a Bespoke Brand

Our new ‘Sir’ series - three elegant tortoiseshell frames inspired by our first collection - celebrates both our history and the craftsmanship of which we are so proud.  Who better, then, to model them for us than Kirk Miller, Creative Director of Manhattan’s revered and heritage-inspired custom clothiers Miller’s Oath.  Named after a general store his great-grandfathers owned in South Dakota at the turn of the century, Miller’s Oath promises a level of quality and honesty you won’t find many other places.  Favored by financiers, the fashion set and literary luminaries alike - Lorin Stein, editor of The Paris Review is an outspoken fan - Miller’s suiting, with its revelry in the finest materials and unstinting attention to detail, is the perfect pairing to our new gentlemanly collection.  Besides, the former soccer star is a pretty handsome chap to boot. We sat down with Miller on a recent afternoon to talk about his craft and prospects on a career in front of the camera.

So, what do you think - do you have a future in modeling?

Noooooo.  I think I ought to buy back my rights.

Oh, you look great and the clothes are, of course, amazing.  There is a natural overlap, I think, between the worlds of Oliver Peoples and Miller’s Oath.  When you created the shop, the brand, did you have a very specific idea of who was going to come to you?

No, we didn’t at all.  The guys who wanted to come find it did.  The guys who ended up coming in made us think, ‘Oh cool, that’s exactly who we would want wearing it.’  Even though all of them are so different - that has been something that I found really interesting, and something I think Oliver Peoples has as well - a very hardcore group of dedicated customers who really care about what we are all about as much as we do!  I feel very fortunate that I really like all of our guys.

Do you have a lot of the Wall Street guys?  I’m imagining a lot of Patrick Bateman-style one-upsmanship in the office - guys bragging about their Miller’s Oath suits.

We have a core of those guys, but most of those places are broken up into desks, groups who trade corn or derivatives.  And there are usually like one or two cool guys in the group, guys who you think, ‘Yeah, he’s got great taste.’  I think we’ve been lucky to get the cool guy in the group who really gets it.

Even though you are completely customizing a suit for a client, there is still a very recognizable ‘Miller’s Oath-ness’ to your pieces.  How did you come by that aesthetic? Was it a targeted inspiration - something you admired and aspired to?  Or has it been a process of refinement?

A little bit of both.  The first suit we did four years ago doesn’t look anything like the one we just did.  It’s evolved and gotten better.  Even now there are things about our pattern that we are refining.  Each element.  And that is something I like: we can always get better and make things even closer.

Is there some Platonic ideal of the suit you are trying to approach?

Not really, with the custom.  As much as I would like it to be identifiable, there are some guys for whom this works and that doesn’t.  Until we do a ready-to-wear line we are working with a moving target.

So, much like crafting Oliver Peoples frames, say, you are creating these sort of living sculptures that have to meld with their owners.

Yeah, that part is fun, because it is solving someone’s problems, seeing something new.  And then my favorite thing is when we get an email like this (holds up a glowing note from a client) and it feels pretty cool.


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