by Kevin Mahoney
While we may not be on the coast, we do have 10,000 lakes, and Minnesota has always had a nautical feel to its culture. We love our lakes, our fish, and our boats. My mascot in high school was even the Skipper, not the Pirates or the Buccaneers, but the Skippers. We were simply non-violent sailors, although not altogether fearsome, we were pretty damn classy. If you’re looking to embrace your inner Ahab, a relatively new nautical brand emerging from New England can be found here in the Midwest.
The name of the founder and brand is Kiel James Patrick and it adopts the vintage New England style made iconic by the Kennedys. From the regal colors to the tartan patterns, KJP is simple but sophisticated. The brand specializes in accessories, focusing mainly on bracelets but also designing handbags, belts, neckwear, and headbands.
Kiel James Patrick began designing clothes while still in high school. He rejected his school’s bland uniforms and created radically patterned blazers and pants for his classmates. After finishing school, he starting making his own bracelets and selling hundreds of them at Crafters Markets in Cape Cod. Now all of KJP products are designed and handcrafted stitch by stitch in Rhode Island but the products are sold all across the world, including in Minnesota at the Stone Ridge Equestrian in Long Lake.
Along with sailing, New England is known for its horseback riding. And although KJP may embrace the nautical lifestyle more than the equestrian, Helen Hayssen, the owner of the Stone Ridge Equestrian, says the bracelets are “wildly popular” at her horse track. Hayssen even refers to the Archer Wrap style of bracelets as “horsey bracelets.”
In true sailing fashion, the different bracelet styles come in various knots and materials. They have the thinner styles like the Quartermaster collection, nautical cords twisted with high quality leather, and the Lanyard Hitch, solid brass surrounded in a simple cotton nautical cord, and the Triton Knot.
KJP embraces old-fashioned vintage looks while adding new elements. They make the classic hand-braided sailor’s bracelet, but instead of the originals that would shrink from the water and cling to your wrist indefinitely, KJP’s connect with gold anchors in the back, so they’re detachable. They make the same braided nautical cord style for their belts, with brown leather and gold buckles.
More than clothes, KJP is selling a lifestyle, a life of Nantucket reds and Cape Cod blues, a truly American look that spawned on the East Coast but was adopted all over the country. If your hobbies include looking through vintage clothing stores, antique shops, and old attics, then KJP would make an excellent addition to your wardrobe.
Featured image: Drift Knot Woven Silk Earrings.