Saturday, 17 April 2010


Jacob McCabe is the senior designer at COMUNE. Jacob is one of the most talented and genuine people I’ve met since I’ve lived in LA. He has a very clean and acute approach to fashion design. He draws inspiration from a variety of international resources including Britain, NY, and Japan. Since he began designing clothes for COMUNE he has been an innovator both in the cuts of the garments as well as the very fabrics and various treatments we apply to them. Jake is a denim guru, he’s made hundreds of hand made jeans and can sew just about anything. I sat down with Jacob to find out what makes him tick, what makes him happy, and the Zen of motorcycle maintenance.
Corey: What season are you developing right now, and what are some of your inspirations for the line?
Jacob: I have just finished developing the SS11 lines and heading over to Shanghai to complete it. I’m really excited about the 2011 Seasons, I have been messing around with juxtaposing different non-traditional details and fabrics, trims and smaller details placing them on different garments. So far its been working out really well. I’m also really focused on our denim program. We run a pretty tight ship that has it’s roots deep in the classic denim pant, modernized to fit the COMUNE aesthetic using quality base denim and building from there. With all the momentum COMUNE has been building I am definitely looking forward to this next year creatively.
Corey: How did you get into design?
Jacob: I’ve always been fascinated with making and creating things. One summer when I was about 13, I was grounded for 2 weeks and was stuck at my house with nothing to do. Luckily my parents had a pool (one of the only things not off limits), and I was able to hang out there. With some clever ingenuity, tons of glue, a five gallon bucket, dive mask, 90 pounds of weights, and an electric powered leaf blower, I made a rudimentary weighted dive helmet. It looked like a MacGyvered science project but it actually worked, well sort of. It was pretty cool, I could walk and hang out at the bottom of the pool for hours…
Basically, I have been making and creating little projects since I was a little guy and design just came naturally. I really enjoy it and I like the idea of bringing something into existence and creating its purpose. That concept is what pushes me and makes me want to do more.

Corey: What are you listening to these days?
Jacob: This sounds like a question you ask on a first date… so I really like it. If you were to ask me if I was a Stones or Beatles guy, I would say Beatles. Favorite Beatles? John.
On an actual real note, I think music depends on the mood you’re in. I really try to go with what I am feeling. In the morning when I am drinking my first cup of coffee I would put on any one from The American Analog Set, The new Spoon record or The Sprout Soundtrack. Once the coffee kicks in, some Wu Tang or Dre. l grew up with all that 90’s Hip Hop so it’s permanently cemented up there. I haven’t been into Electro too much lately; everything has gotten really hard and doesn’t fit with what’s going on with me, But when I do listen to electro I like Tiga, Proxy, and Boys Noize to name a few.
Corey: Tell me about your motorcycle and all of the modifications you’ve done to it over the past few months.
Jacob: The motorcycle projects always turn out to be a lot more work than anticipated. I got a really good deal (low balled a guy) on Craigslist for a ’04 Harley Sportster. It was completely stock, windshield and all including all the “Live to Ride” extra accessories. I have probably taken off around 50 pounds of “Dad Bike” products. In short I lowered it, new bars, saddle, tires, tank, air filter and brake light. I am about 90% finished, just need new pipes and spray paint a few things and it should be looking good. Then of course, next would be putting it on a rigid frame… but that’s down the road.

Corey: You’ve created a very unique look for the brand, how would you explain the COMUNE aesthetic?
Jacob: The COMUNE look comes from the collected minds that make up the brand. We happen to all be friends and have similar aesthetic that almost comes off like a gang when we are all together, which is cool, but I can see why we have been referred to as the COMUNE boys. COMUNE is essentially dark tonal colors mixed with warm wearable neutrals, classic menswear engineered fabrics, with modern tailoring details.
Corey: What are some of the pieces you’re most proud of?
Jacob: I always get excited about the outerwear. The Ethan, Edmonton and Parker are my favorite styles to date. They are the most technical pieces I have ever done. Also, some of the smaller details like the diagonal double welts, inverse pockets, and the reverse N belt loop have become COMUNE staples.
Corey: What’s your favorite place to travel, and how much does it affect your design inspiration?
Jacob: To be honest, it’s New York. It has an energy like no other place for me. I don’t know if its because the media has created this powerful metaphor that New York is the end all for American success. Who knows, probably. Whatever it is, I love it.
Corey: Who are some influential designers you admire?
Jacob: I’m actually really bad at remembering names, especially the difficult names of all those ostentatious designers. What I remember are the details, sort of like how people remember faces not names. Or I’ll remember where I saw a specific detail. Like I saw a really cool pair of printed denim (by April 77) in Korea at this mega mall. It’s the association game. But my fav 5 are APC, Yohji Yamamoto Comme De Garcons, Jil Sander and Robert Geller.

Corey: What makes you happy?
Jacob: Making my friends laugh, new bits, hearing people doing well, crossing off everything on my TO DO list, the “You should have been there last night“ stories, hero stories of WWII, learning new words, home cooked gourmet, walking places and creating memories.