Bay Area/ San Francisco
Published on July 27, 2015
Inside Klein Epstein & Parker, A Hayes Valley Resource For Custom SuitsPhotos: Nuala Sawyer/Hoodline

Hayes Valley is known for its fashion scene, with shoe stores, bag dealers and high-end boutiques located every few feet along the main drag of Hayes Street. Turn the corner onto Gough and you'll come across a small storefront with two mannequins in sharply tailored suits outside. This is Klein Epstein & Parker (K.E.P.), a custom suit shop that caters to a wide variety of clients, be they lesbian brides or businessmen. 

Miray and Jeroen Bik founded K.E.P. in Los Angeles in 2011, with the goal of offering a highly individualized custom suit experience. After launching a pair of stores in LA and Newport Beach, the duo decided to open a third location in Hayes Valley, with the help of store manager Aaron Cordell. It debuted in 2013, and was joined by another Hayes Valley suitmaker, Kipper Clothiers, in June of 2014. 

The shop serves a diverse clientele. One of Cordell's clients was an 11-year-old boy who needed a bar mitzvah suit, and chose an African print to reflect his mother's heritage. Transgender and lesbian clients also flock to K.E.P., as many shops that focus on men's suits don't produce cuts that can accommodate female bodies. First suits, business suits, and suits for weddings and other special occasions are also common.

The company itself doesn't have a branded aesthetic. The customer helps play the role of designer, and the custom suits are just that—custom, to fit each individual's needs. For example, there are over 150 lining options to choose from, ranging from professional pin stripes to paisley or pin-up girls. 

In addition, each suit can include custom embroidery, such as this piece of text hidden under the flap of the suit's collar.

While novelty can be part of the fun, K.E.P. prides itself on quality. "If your aesthetic is a floral suit, it's going to be best floral suit out there," explains Cordell.  All fabrics are sourced from manufacturers in Italy and the UK, which the company prefers due to their higher quality. Once an order is placed with K.E.P., the suit design is sent to Holland, where the suits are custom-made. (Dress shirts are made in Poland.) Once the suit is complete, it's shipped back to K.E.P., and any additional alterations are done locally. 

Two-piece suits start at $798, sport jackets at $598, and dress shirts at $198. Cordell notes buttons and other custom details don't increase the price—the cost of the suit only changes with fabric choice. 

When asked what advice he'd give to someone buying their first suit, Cordell said, "It can be very overwhelming. It's important to keep an open mind." Staying open to possibilities, he says, helps break down barriers to creating a suit that is 100 percent reflective of the person wearing it. "You'll only hear from me if it's a bad decision," he says.

Klein Epstein & Parker is open Monday-Saturday, 10:30am-7pm, and Sunday, 11am-6pm. If you're in the market for a new suit, you can swing by the brick-and-mortar location at 467 Gough St., or schedule an appointment online.