Ken Hake is the creative mind behind Marine Machine. After more than a decade living the US, in southern California to be more precise, Ken decided it was time to go back to the old continent. Following a long work experience with a leather jacket company he decided to establish his own brand. The process included selling most of his sneaker collection via Flightclub, and the rest is just one of the parts of Marine Machine’s history, the all leather label that he then founded.
We talked with Ken about the establishment of the brand, the design and production process of their pieces and more. Check out the complete interview below and find out more about Marine Machine.
When did the Marine Machine adventure begin?
It was a long process of me moving back to Europe in 2009 after living/working in southern California for over 10 years, not really being happy with what I was doing, traveling & working non-stop for somebody else.
At the time I was a product manager for a company that arranged other companies leather jackets, from small local brands to big international companies. Meanwhile there were always small personal projects that I wanted to do more with. I then decided to sell 90% of my sneaker collection via Flightclub and finally maned up in 2012. Quit my job and instead of going back to the US, I started Marine Machine out of Hamburg/Germany, where I currently live with my wife and baby daughter.
What can you tell us about the name of the brand?
Marine Machine’s influence stems from the associated leisure activities of the water versus concrete way of life and the name just reflects that. It’s a combination of the authentic soul behind the brand. I’ve been skating and surfing for the past 25 plus years and since a young kid had a strong passion for air-cooled Porsches and the sneaker/streetwear scene. It’s never changed.
Your pieces are designed in California - can you share with us a bit more about the whole design and production process?
Marine Machine is a one-person gig, it’s just me behind it. I was fortunate enough to work through all departments at my old job from sales to production to design, to be able to take my work on the road. It’s usually at the beginning of the year that I go out to California to meet with some partners in crime and do the planning for the year. I am not really following the “normal” two-season approach to collections, a simple classic leather jacket is supposed to be timeless anyway.
Marine Machine also claims to have its pieces clear of all unwanted substances - can you please better clarify that statement?
It means what it says and it’s what unfortunately not a lot of companies do. I go well beyond the point of what’s required by the European law to make sure each fabric, leather, zipper, lining et cetera of a jacket is tested free of any unwanted chemical.
What are your impressions regarding the current state of the art of street style subculture? Is it possible that in the future high couture could be overcome by street fashion?
I don’t think so. The high couture is getting a lot of its input from the streets in this digital age and time, not the other way around. Each little movement or direction will keep on creating it’s own niche only to phase out and then one day be recycled again through different eyes. Some people are all for progress and others go back in time to get inspired. As long as you never let fashion triumph function, I am cool with it.
Can you share with us some inside info regarding the upcoming collection? Any important info about the brand or collaborations to come you might want to share about?
I worked with The Ampal Creative from L.A. on a jacket that I am really stoked on, which we will drop in July. There are also some new accessories in the works and a new locally produced jacket that’s in the planning stages, always keeping it quality over quantity.
Image credit: Cecil Arp