A Conversation with Kirk Miller of Miller’s Oath

Posted by: on Oct 10, 2011 | One Comment

At the tail end of the summer I sat down in the far-West village with Mr. Kirk Miller, founder of Miller’s Oath.  Having cut his teeth at some of the best brands in menswear, he’s out on his own and making some of the best American tailoring.

When I walked into Kirk’s West Village shop, I was invited in, plopped down onto a leather sofa, leaned back on a tweed pillow, and kicked my feet up on a…bear pelt.  At least I think it was a bear.  This pretty much defines Miller’s Oath, a healthy mix of soft English tradition and American edge.

Kirk, a native of Minnetonka, Minnesota, has been in New York for quite a while a now, and over the years has worked with menswear powerhouses Paul Stuart, Thom Brown, Seize Sur Vingt, and Barker Black, which he founded with his brother Derrick.  ”I grew up doing clothing, it’s always been sort of my thing.”  Kirk’s not exaggerating.  He’s worked both in store and behind the scenes in various capacities and has run a custom program or two in his time.

When I asked him why, at the height of a recession, he decided to get into the bespoke tailoring game, Kirk stated totally matter-of-factly, I’ve only ever been around really high-quality clothing.  My father was a big Anderson & Sheppard customer, which is obviously very much about quality and craftsmanship.  It would never has occurred to me to do anything else.”

That Anderson & Sheppard influence is certainly noticeable, although one would never mistake a coat from Miller’s Oath as having come from Old Burlington Street.  Miller’s Oath’s “house style” is a distinctive combination of classic soft-tailoring techniques and sharp, modern edges.  In short, a high armhole, natural shoulder, slightly angular sleeve head,  dramatically cut quarters, and a one button fastening are all hallmarks of the Miller’s Oath suit.  ”At first glance it’s very English looking,” says Kirk, “But detail-wise it’s a lot more complex than just that.  A little bit of everything.”

The other Miller’s Oath signatures are their cutaway-club collar shirt and pickaxe emblazoned accessories.  ”I like the idea of having a symbol of something.  And the pickaxe tells our story”  - Kirk loosely based the shop on his grandfather’s gold rush era general store in South Dakota.  As for the collar, Kirk wanted to do something just a little bit different that would still look great with his classically-inspired suits.  Again, the contrast between the modern collar and the classic tattersall cloths is quintessential Miller’s Oath.

Ultimately though, it’s not just his own clothes Kirk is excited about.  ”Guys are finally realizing all the parts to a suit.  Sure you can go out and get a suit for X number of dollars, but the question becomes ‘What I am giving up at that price?’ instead of ‘What am I getting for that price?’  Guys are starting to have an understanding of the possibilities and know what to ask for.  And the conversation is what I’m excited about.”

You can find Kirk and Miller’s Oath at:

510 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013

1 Comment

  1. Nills
    October 10, 2011

    Hi Stephen,
    I have discovered your blog yesrerday! And I am pleased to note that your posts are savvy and enjoyable for reading! I wonder how I have managed to miss your blog for so long!


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