Founder of both Earnest Sewn and Paper Denim & Cloth, Scott Morrison's commitment to the raw essence of denim extends down to the brand names of each new project. His latest, 3x1 Made Here, borrows a name from the technique that gives denim its diagonal weave. Shoppers at his new 4,000-square-foot Soho space can customize a pair of ready-to-wear limited edition jeans, order a pair in their denim of choice or make an appointment to work with Morrison from scratch.
As a pioneer of the premium denim phenomenon, it makes sense that Morrison's next step would be to elevate denim fashion to a level typically reserved for high end men's suit tailoring. But don't worry, the project is setup for laymen and elitist denim-heads alike. Morrison says of the shop, "I think some people are drawn to the 65+ selvedge denims they can select from, others are just looking for a great fitting pair of jeans, while others are coming down because they've heard about this new store/factory/gallery space in SoHo that makes jeans while you watch."
The idea began back in September 2010 when Morrison started sewing the first patterns in his apartment. The line has continued to evolve and now includes a ready-for-purchase run of limited-edition styles for men and women, with the in-house production curbed at between eight-24 pieces per model. For these, the customer can still tweak the hemline and buttons, but to take it a step further, a second option is available. Patrons can choose an existing cut and then apply one of the 100+ fabrics on hand, coming from Japanese, American and Italian mills, delivering a tailored pair of jeans without going fully custom. Morrison reflects on his raw denim fascination we discovered during a previous interview, saying, "Thankfully we offer both [washed and untreated], but 3x1 is unique in that it's a raw denim fanatic's dream shop. There is simply no better place in the world to find the best selvedge denim than in our shop in SoHo."
I was invited to check out the studio and worked with Morrison for over an hour to achieve the perfect fit. Deciding to build a pair from the beginning, I chose a gorgeous red cast, 15.5 ounce denim from Collect (the coveted Japanese mill) as my base, adding a white button, silver rivets and two different hues of orange stitching. For the back pockets I went large and low with tight parallel run-off stitching and a fold-over top that gives a hit of selvedge. Two days later I was back in the shop, where the mostly-finished pair was perfectly arranged to my specifications (web visitors, check out the gallery to see the process and finished product). I was so enamored with the experience and the output that I ordered another pair on the spot, leveraging the fact that my specs are now on permanent file. This second, summery pair is made from a lighter weight, linen-cotton blend from another Japanese mill, Kaihara, and feature a rainbow-colored selvedge on a blue-green cast denim.
Curious about Morrison's own take on the ubiquitous material, we followed up our visit with a few questions about living the denim life. Read more about 3x1 and get some advice from the guru below:
How many pairs of jeans do you have?
I've probably got a dozen or two pair at home here in the city, but my denim collection (if you will) is at my house upstate. There are probably 300-400 pair—much of which are from my own labels—but far too many for anyone who's not in the denim industry to rightfully own.
Do you remember when your love affair with denim began?
My first pair of jeans were Levi's, but my love affair with denim started with my first pair of Replay jeans—which happened to be a limited edition pair made from Japanese denim (which were pretty rare at the time in the early-to-mid '90s).
What's your recommended denim care?
I rarely wash my jeans, but when I am I typically go one of two routes. If it just needs a little fresh air, then I spray with a little Febreze and hang outside. But if it needs a heavier clean, then I'll hand wash with Woolite Extra Dark (make sure it's inside out) and then hang dry.
How will the concept grow and evolve over time?
My hope is that the brand will grow slowly and steadily, as we've intended, and over the coming seasons we will slowly offer a few limited edition products to a select group of retailers around the world, and eventually add a second and third store for custom made and bespoke customers.
15 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10013
3x1 also makes their own bags for the bespoke jeans. They're made in an edition of 24 and then a new bag design is created.
The bag, folded over.
For the top button, which is only seen by me because I never tuck in my shirt, I went white.
I chose to use two shades of orange thread.
The sewing room houses 11 full-time seamstresses.
Work in progress
The white button and orange threads in place
The beautiful texture of Collect mills' 15.5 ounce red caste denim is highlighted by the slightly angled, fold-over selvedge pocket design.
Over 70 different bolts of denim from Japan, America and Italy are readily available in the store