J.W. Hulme Co. | Leather Bags & Luggage

Meet Tastemaker Steve Kang

STEVESteve Kang is the owner of the Twin Cities’ trend setting menswear store, BlackBlue, which has carried J.W. Hulme leather goods since the store opened in 2009.

Tell us about BlackBlue’s beginnings.
I opened BlackBlue in September of 2009, so just over four years now. The tipping point was when I started looking for a design studio space to start designing clothing. The idea was to find a space to design clothing and have a place to sell it.

How do you describe—and hope others describe—BlackBlue?
Honest. Approachable. Constantly evolving and changing. Layered. Edited. A place where pretty much anyone can shop and appreciate what’s in it.

Tell us your shop philosophy.
The philosophy has always been to share a personal lifestyle/style that is authentic and doesn’t focus on trends. Also, to offer products that are high in quality, timeless in design, and will last a very long time.

How do you decide what makes the cut for the shop?
It has to fit the mission and my aesthetic. I have to be very selective.

Why do you love J.W. Hulme and why do you carry it in BlackBlue? 

The product speaks for itself. Like most things sold at BlackBlue, J.W. Hulme’s leather goods and products only improve with age. Their product is designed to be used and you get what you pay for. I like that. Also, it is super sexy, practical, bomb proof, guaranteed for life, made right here in Saint Paul, and their staff is really nice. Great things are happening there.

Why do you support American-made products? 

The main thing that gets me going about American made products is the quality of products that are manufactured here. This is due to way higher quality control/standards and higher wages to the workers who are crafting these products. Designers here are also able to more easily manage the quality of their products due to proximity. The idea of reducing a tremendous amount of waste by producing and selling in the States is also a big thing for me.

What do you do when you’re not manning BlackBlue?
Most of my time goes into the store, but when I have time, I like to be outside and in nature. I love canoe camping and fishing. I would probably do that two months out of the year if I could.

What is your personal style philosophy?
To dress so I don’t have to “go home and change.”


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