Haute Secrets: Project Runway’s Jake Wall Reveals His SF Guide

Jake Wall
Jake Wall

Photo Credit: Kelly Puleio Photography for JAKE

Jake Wall’s mother used to tell him, “If you are going to do something, do it well. Or simply, not at all.” He obviously listened. The Project Runway Season 14 featured designer is co-founder and creative director of JAKE, an upstart premium fashion brand for men and women that offers garments with classic proportions and modern conveniences. With a showroom located in the historic McRoskey Mattress Co. building in between San Francisco’s Hayes Valley and Mid-Market districts, Wall is the creative mind behind the eponymous brand’s custom and ready-to-wear clothes that are classic–yet modern–with a defiant twist. While fashion certainly suits him, it wasn’t always his career. After studying at UC Berkeley, he earned a Master’s at DePaul University and an MBA in international business and marketing at Pepperdine then worked as a marketing executive before receiving his style calling. In 2012, he and Nathan Johnson founded Artful Gentleman – which would later become JAKE – to develop fine custom suiting for the modern man. Along the way he added a women’s collection and last year he introduced a limited edition ready-to-wear line, JAKE by JAKE. His brand’s official mascots are his rescued greyhounds Echo and SCOTUS (Supreme Canine of the United States).

Where were you born: Well, my family is from here; I was born in San Luis Obispo according to the records, but from birth I always spent a portion of the year up here with my grandparents and ended up going to UC Berkeley for undergrad before coming back her to settle for good.

How long in San Francisco: Since 2008

Neighborhood: SOMA—I have, oddly, always lived on either side of the 24-hour Shell Station anchored by the freeway. What can I say? I like convenience.

Occupation: CEO and Creative Director for JAKE

Favorite Restaurant: Oro

Best Sushi: Sushi Zone

Best Italian: It means you have to skip down 101, but I can’t help but recommend Bertolluci’s. It is more Sinatra style Italian than authentic. But it almost feels like the place that time forgot and at the same time—it is absolutely perfect.

Best dessert: Any of the ice cream flavors from Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous.

Best place for a romantic date: High Tea at The Palace Hotel—start a good romantic date off early and in style. It sets the right now for anything and everything that comes after.

Best Sunday brunch: Skool in Potrero—always delicious and complimented by a perfect patio.

Best place for a power business meeting: The Battery

If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend? The Fairmont

Favorite shopping venue/boutique: Well, I have collected comic books since I was 6 years old and as any collector would tell you—comic book shops are like fine wines. No two are alike and it pays to be selective. My favorite shopping venue is Isotope—The Comic Book Lounge on Fell. I go every week and get to escape into a little fun and fantasy thanks to the assortment curated by owner James Sime.

Favorite place to buy jewelry/watches: You can only find them through trunk shows in the Bay Area and the occasional pop-up at JAKE, but I am completely in love with everything that CAKE does. They are local, they are amazing and the fact that they pop up in different places with completely new limited edition assortments always makes for a great find.

Best Spa: The Claremont

Favorite Charity Event: I would have to say that I think our annual “BESPOKE in RED” charity event is where its at—but taking away my own bias, I would say the Annual Red Cross Gala hosted by my dear friend Lillian Phan. She puts the “PH” in that event to make it nothing short of “Phancy.”

Favorite Cultural Event: The Modern Ball is an evening like no other here in San Francisco.

Favorite Cultural Institution: Well, some might argue with me on this—but I love taking people to Buena Vista Café for their first official San Francisco Irish Coffee. It was the first official drink my dad ever bought me when I was 21 (and my father never drank), and it was the first drink that his father bought him when he turned 21.

Best Steakhouse: EPIC Steak (formerly EPIC Roasthouse)

Best Pizza: ZeroZero

Best Lunch: Chez Maman West in Hayes Valley. It is simple, effective and lovely.

Best Gym/Athletic Facility: Who needs a gym when we have the Embarcadero? Get outside and go for a run! There’s no need to be trapped inside after all.

Best Massage: The Thai Therapeutic with Aroma Therapy from Suchada Thai Massage.

Best Limousine/Driving Service: I know you aren’t going to believe this—but I walk everywhere. This city is not that big and one has to get their steps in somehow. But in a pinch, I just call a cab. They are readily available these days thanks to the rise of Uber and Lyft.

Best Museum/Exhibit: The annual fashion focused exhibits that make their way to the de Young steal my heart every year. But I will always hold a special place in my heart for the Gaultier exhibition from a few years back.

Describe your city in three words: Bold. Unapologetic. Sincere.

Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore: Sutro Baths and Land’s End.

All-around favorite spot in San Francisco: Golden Gate Park—my great uncle was one of the head groundskeepers, so Golden Gate Park feels like of like my own backyard.

Best Aspect of San Francisco: That you really can find everything in the 7×7—truly, everything.

We couldn’t end this without showing photos of JAKE’s adorable mascots,

SCOTUS (Supreme Canine of the United States)
SCOTUS (Supreme Canine of the United States)