“Typically, the most famous denims in the world will be a three-by-one right-hand twill weave, 10 to 12 ounces, red cast (vs. green cast), and – today – vertical slubs instead of cross hatch,” Scott Morrison said, standing in front of a wall of selvedge denim factory in his SoHo store, 3×1. He had not been speaking in tongues; he was simply speaking the language of denim. Morrison matured in Rancho Mirage, California, played golf as a kid, went to the University of Washington to experience golf on a scholarship, drew up a business plan in college to launch a golf company, then finally moved to Ny in 1997 and began in on denim.
He got to the party at the right time. “I remember going and buying a couple of Replay Jeans and looking at the inside and going, ‘Holy shit, what exactly is Manufactured in Japan? Japanese Denim? Japanese Wash?’ They were $125, which at the time was $25 higher priced than every other product these people were making.” This was an advantageous enlightenment; through the late ’90s – Morrison places it around 1999 – onward, premium denim continues to be booming. What started with Earl Jean, Frankie B and his awesome Paper Denim & Cloth then moved into 7 For Those Mankind, JBrand, True Religion. Then this wave really caught on and leading as much as 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 claimed that at the time, the Cone Mills selvedge shuttle looms in N . C . were still. Selvedge, or “self-edge” denim (so named for your tightly woven band on the end of sheet of denim), was the classic kind of denim – “it’s the record player of the denim industry,” said Morrison – and Cone Mills is one of the founding fathers from the fabric. Starting in 1891, they were a premier fabric manufacturer, and through the entire early and mid-1900s, they made only one sort of denim: selvedge denim on shuttle looms. But as technology evolved and the economy demanded faster, cheaper denim, the brand new rapier, projectile and air jet looms took over production.
When Morrison and Girard headed to Japan, no one was ordering the slower, higher priced japanese selvedge denim. “At enough time, the big brands, Gap, J.Crew, Esprit, Levis, Lee, Wrangler – each of the American brands were focused on this moderate price point.”What Morrison found in Japan were mills centering on premium denim in the sort The United States once made. He remembers it being better across the board, from fabrics to sewing to clean. And it left an effect. “My dogs were named after Japanese denim mills – Kurabo and Nishimbo. I was a little obsessed, to say the least.”
Next trip, Morrison’s travels in Japan (as well as 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 only a couple other premium denim companies at the time – ended up being to bring this quality back to American jeans. “The premise was, why can’t we all do the same thing in the States?” said Morrison. He did, nevertheless 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 that we ignore on jeans today – oven baking, 3D-whiskering, hand sanding, bleach sponging – didn’t even exist until the early aughts. But Morrison held his vision, and thru two companies, Paper Denim & Cloth and Earnest Sewn, Morrison evolved with America’s interest in premium denim.
Finally, in the year 2011, he started 3×1, his most specialized project up to now. 3×1, offers the largest choice of selvedge denim on the planet. They have got, at any moment, 70 rolls of japanese denim on their “denim wall,” and over the years have introduced a lot more than 1000 various kinds of selvedge denim, sourced from 22 different mills around the globe. “The denim luhoxj the mills are definitely the rockstars of the shop,” Morrison said. 3×1 specializes in specialty, plus they focus on a distinct, particular client. “I know our customer is the one guy that’ll walk in and stay like, ‘That’s fu.cking awesome, that’s a few things i want,’” said Morrison.
To reach that time takes a little bit of education. And without digging through the annals of denim geek forums, it will take some translating. So, Morrison provided to provide a lay in the selvedge land – a review of things to consider when purchasing premium denim.