Kirk Haines, owner and founder of Service Menswear, has been self employed in the menswear industry for over thirty years. At 21, he took his vintage clothes from his closet and put them on consignment at a local shop. Within a year, he was supplying vintage menswear to over a dozen stores in Upstate New York and had opened his own men's clothing store in Rochester. The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle compared the tiny shop to the well appointed closet of the character Bud, the teenage son on the 1950's television show, "Father Knows Best". The success of the store where he included his own designs convinced him to give New York City a try. In 1987, from a studio in Brooklyn, Haines launched the brand Service that he sold to men's stores across the country.
In the early nineties, Haines moved the Service studio to a cabin on 1200 acres in Bee Cave, Texas. And, in 1993, Service opened two retail spaces within existing Austin stores. Soon after, the first stand-alone Service Menswear shop opened on West 12th street in downtown Austin. For the last fourteen years, Service has remained a local fixture in South Austin on South Congress Avenue.
Several details set Service apart as a menswear retailer. In an effort to let customers know exactly what they are getting and how it will fit, the shop pre-washes many of the washable items. The process reveals the fabric's actual hand, pre-shrinks the garment, and presents purchases ready to wear. The principal prerequisite for inclusion in the store's well-edited product mix is that each item must be a good value, whether inexpensive or luxurious. The brick and mortar Service Menswear is merchandised much like a wholesale showroom with clearly identified brands and categories. Many selections are represented by a single sample with a crew member ready to retrieve a needed size from stock. The shop hopes to provide a "service" as efficient as shopping online with the added benefit of being able to try items on and leave the store with purchases in hand.
Word of mouth, and the support of local customers and press, have bolstered the success and growth of Service Menswear for over twenty years. Service has earned national recognition in numerous trade magazines, as well as GQ magazine and The Wall Street Journal. This smart and relevant men's clothing store has a history of being the first to offer many brands previously unavailable in Austin. In addition, the shop maintains local exclusives such as Deus Ex Machina, Gant Rugger, Hartford, Naked & Famous Denim, Mollusk, and Unbranded Brand.