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3sixteen + Thomas Hooper, the Decade Collection

NYC-based denim experts celebrate 10 years with limited, collaborative offerings

by Hans Aschim in Style on 05 September 2013

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In the fast-paced world of fashion, brands come and go with the seasons. NYC-based 3sixteen is one label that continues to stand strong with its commitment to craftsmanship and quality. Specializing in denim, 3sixteen is celebrating its 10-year anniversary with the launch of the limited edition Decade Collection, that honors both the brand's journey and features collaborations with some of its closest creative friends. CH got a first look at 3sixteen's limited edition denim and bandana collaboration with Austin, Texas-based artist and tattooist Thomas Hooper, who is known for his intricate, detailed style.

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"Our goal for the Decade Collection was primarily to celebrate the friendships and relationships that we've built in these past 10 years of running 3sixteen," says co-owner and founder Andrew Chen. "That's probably one of the best parts of doing what we do: Getting the opportunity to meet amazingly talented folks who approach their work in a way that inspires us and pushes us forward." The collaborative pieces with Hooper represent a true partnership. Hooper, a longtime customer and fan of 3sixteen, opted for the heavy duty 14.5 oz double black selvedge Japanese denim. "I do wear them hard," says Hooper, "as ink, abrasion, heavy washing—due to the blood in my tattoo environment—destroy my clothes." These jeans are built to last and can take a beating—from the tattoo parlor to everyday grime, wear and tear.

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Hooper and 3sixteen further customized the handcrafted jeans by incorporating original prints made specially for the Decade Collection. A laser-etched patch, made from chromexcel leather by Tanner Goods, adds a geometric detail to the classically styled jeans. Meanwhile, the pocket bags of the front-two pockets feature a dual-color screen print of another of Hooper's unique meditation-inspired designs. To go along with the simple yet detail rich jeans, 3sixteen is also offering a bandana that puts Hooper's design at the forefront.

In addition to being each other's clients (Hooper has tattooed both Chen and co-owner Johan Lam), Chen says partnering with Hooper also seemed natural from a process perspective. Hooper is interested in the traditional Japanese style of tattooing, where the same tattoo is repeated with minor changes according to body variation. "Each tattoo is done with the intention of trying to surpass the previous one. To the untrained eye they may look the same, but there are changes being made with each piece," says Chen. Creating handmade denim is often a similar process, says Chen: "Although we make the same jeans year 'round and retain the exact same fabrics season in and season out, we are constantly working together with our factory to make small tweaks to ensure a better product."

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Celebrating relationships forged over the past decade is not the only thing 3sixteen hopes to accomplish with their new collection. The brand is keeping its commitment to giving back by donating to the neighborhood that's given them so much. 3sixteen plans to give 10% of its proceeds from the Decade Collection to the Bowery Mission, a non-profit that provides assistance and care for New York City's homeless people, based in the Lower East Side.

The Decade Collection features additional collaborations with Converse, Sightglass Coffee, Kiya Babzani of Self Edge and more. The denim collaboration with Hooper is available in a limited run of 100 in both slim and straight cuts for $240 while the bandana is available for $15. Shop the Decade Collection online beginning this coming Saturday, 7 September 2013, from 3sixteen and keep an eye out for 3sixteen's special pop-up shop, also opening this Saturday, at 162 Allen Street in NYC.

Images by Hans Aschim

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