“Typically, the most common denims on earth will be a 3-by-one right-hand twill weave, 10 to 12 ounces, red cast (vs. green cast), and – today – vertical slubs as opposed to cross hatch,” Scott Morrison said, standing in front of a wall of selvedge denim in his SoHo store, 3×1. He had not been speaking in tongues; he was in brief the language of denim. Morrison grew up in Rancho Mirage, California, played golf as being a kid, went along to the University of Washington to experience golf on a scholarship, drafted a business plan in college to launch a golf company, then finally relocated to Ny in 1997 and started in on denim.
He got to the party at the perfect time. “I remember going and buying a set of Replay Jeans and exploring the inside and going, ‘Holy shit, precisely what is Produced in Japan? Japanese Denim? Japanese Wash?’ These people were $125, which at that time was $25 more costly than every other product they were making.” This was an advantageous enlightenment; from the late ’90s – Morrison places it around 1999 – onward, premium denim has become booming. What started with Earl Jean, Frankie B along with his Paper Denim & Cloth then moved into 7 For Those Mankind, JBrand, True Religion. Then your wave really caught on and leading approximately the current premium denim companies have begun ad infinitum.
Back in 1999, Morrison and Ken Girard, head of Cone Mills product development, traveled to Japan. Morrison said that at the time, the Cone Mills selvedge shuttle looms in N . C . were. Selvedge, or “self-edge” denim (so named for the tightly woven band on the end of sheet of denim), was the classic style of denim – “it’s the record player from the denim industry,” said Morrison – and Cone Mills is one of the founding fathers in the fabric. Starting in 1891, these people were a premier fabric manufacturer, and throughout the early and mid-1900s, they made only one type of denim: selvedge denim on shuttle looms. But as technology evolved and the economy demanded faster, cheaper denim, the newest rapier, projectile and air jet looms took over production.
When Morrison and Girard headed to Japan, no person was ordering the slower, higher priced raw selvedge denim. “At enough time, the large brands, Gap, J.Crew, Esprit, Levis, Lee, Wrangler – every one of the American brands were focused on this moderate price point.”What Morrison seen in Japan were mills concentrating on premium denim from the sort The United States once made. He remembers it being better across the board, from fabrics to sewing to wash. And it also left an impression. “My dogs were named after Japanese denim mills – Kurabo and Nishimbo. I used to be a bit obsessed, to say the least.”
Next trip, Morrison’s travels in Japan (and also in Italy) continued, as did his study of premium denim manufacturing. He believed he wasn’t the only person who’d buy into this domestically born, internationally perfected practice. Morrison’s idea – shared by a couple other premium denim companies during the time – was to bring this quality back to American jeans. “The premise was, why can’t perform the same inside the States?” said Morrison. He did, but it didn’t catch on straight away. He says his first two forays into offering selvedge denim failed miserably; customers weren’t ready for $250 jeans. He remembers that things which we ignore on jeans today – oven baking, 3D-whiskering, hand sanding, bleach sponging – didn’t even exist till the early aughts. But Morrison held his vision, and through two companies, Paper Denim & Cloth and Earnest Sewn, Morrison evolved with America’s interest in premium denim.
Finally, this year, he started 3×1, his most specialized project up to now. 3×1, supplies the largest choice of selvedge denim on earth. They may have, at any time, 70 rolls of selvedge denim wholesale on their “denim wall,” and over the years have introduced a lot more than 1000 several types of selvedge denim, sourced from 22 different mills around the globe. “The denim luhoxj the mills are definitely the rockstars in the shop,” Morrison said. 3×1 focuses on specialty, plus they focus on a distinct, particular client. “I know our customer is the one guy that’ll walk in and become like, ‘That’s fu.cking awesome, that’s a few things i want,’” said Morrison.
To access that time takes a little bit of education. And without digging through the annals of denim geek forums, it requires a little bit of translating. So, Morrison accessible to give a lay of the selvedge land – an overview of what to consider when buying premium denim.