Denim profiles: Scott Morrison.
You are known as “the man behind nearly every denim brand we’ve ever loved“, someone that “knows what he’s doing when it comes to denim”*. How do you feel in this role? Is the denim industry the kind of place you have always wanted to work with and fit into?

I’m not sure anyone can really say I was behind ‘every denim brand we’ve ever loved’, but I’d be excited if people loved at least one of them! :) Seriously though, denim and jeans were just something that I could identify with, especially being a Southern California kid who grew up wearing jeans and t-shirts and flip-flops. It’s more than just what I do. For me, jeans are simply a part of who I am and I’m fortunate enough to work in an industry and with a product that I love. I wear denim every day, and have for the past 25 years.

You have quite a background coming from the golf scene but the skate scene as well: did your previous experiences have had an influence on your professional outcome as well?

I’m sure they both play a role in me becoming who I am, but it was my love of golf more than skating that lead to a career in denim. When I was in college I told my golf coach, (yes, I was on a scholarship for golf at the University of Washington - crazy right?) that I was interested in getting into the clothing business after school… possibly starting a golf-clothing line when I graduated—mainly because I hated golf clothes. My coach did something that forever changed my life, and that was introducing me to my mentor, Charles Fancher. I started working on business plans and interning for apparel companies in and around the Seattle area every summer. It was those experiences that helped start me down the path of being an entrepreneur and making something of my own.

"I’m a huge fan of whats happening at Manifattura 1887: I love the idea of high quality products, especially ideas with a unique point of view. Manifattura 1887 is trying to address both, and I think it serves a very special purpose."
3x1 is a concept store and a bespoke-denim shop: what do your clients ask for when they enter your world? Do they know what they are looking for or do they prefer to ask for your advice?

We get a huge range of clients in the shop at 15 Mercer (NYC): from athletes, to stylists, to denim enthusiasts, to regular people who just love jeans or are curious about what we do and how we do it. So the needs of the person vary, but with that in mind, I’ve always maintained that we’re simply here to make the customer’s wish come true - to point them in the right direction so to speak. If they want something to fit a certain way, we can do it. If they want to learn about denim, or shuttle loom weaving, or how to correctly size a jean, we’re happy to teach. The idea behind the shop was to bring people into our world… show them something they’ve never seen, educate and inform, and along the way, with any luck, make a fan or two of the brand. For the most part, customers know what they like and dislike, but I’ve yet to meet someone who didn’t want some advice or a few pointers.

Who would be your ideal jeans wearer?

I can’t say that I know ‘who' my ideal jeans wearer would be, as I can think of too many, but I can tell you that I’m always inspired by people who feel confident and self-assured, especially when it comes to their personal style.

As a company, Manifattura/Berto has to face different challenges nowadays: what about 3x1? Can you tell us the highs and lows of your project?

With any business or endeavor, you’ve got to keep perspective on the journey itself, and try not to get too wrapped up in the moment - good or bad. 3x1, like every one of the brands I started, has had it’s ups and downs. This project was even more of a challenge as creating a concept store around Bespoke and Custom Made had never been done before. Managing all the moving pieces, especially the customer interface, the training, the factory component being in-house… these were huge challenges to overcome and took considerable time to build efficiencies. There’s a level of precision that has to be maintained in order for a business like this to function properly. You have to be precise and detail oriented as we're asking each of our pattern makers, cutters, and sewers to interpret the nuance of something without having exposure to it before hand. The development costs associated with getting a product up and running are where most of the costs lie in manufacturing.

“Less but better” could be read as an endorsement for purity in design but in fashion design too. Do you think it’s possible to create information and education about reduction and sustainability in the denim industry?

Sure, absolutely. I think the best place to start, at least within the denim community and among consumers is simply, wear and repair. A great pair of jeans, if properly maintained should last a very long time. I have jeans that I’ve worn for the past 15 years, and I’m expecting that I’ll be able to wear them for another 10+ if I keep them from going threadbare. Water utilization, chemical processing, excessive waste, etc. are all things that need to be addressed and discussed. But those are huge pieces to move: the most progress in mind, the fastest progress, would be to think about keeping our clothing longer. Avoid the disposable nature of fashion whenever possible.

Technical elements: what kind of features do you think a proper denim fabric should have?

I think quality denim starts with quality cotton, and therefore yarn. ELS cottons and ringspun yarns are always a favorite, and obviously I’m also a big fan of the classic 3x1 RHT, hence our brand name. But it's also worth nothing that the 3x1 world was founded on the idea of marrying the best of yesteryear with a modern customer’s needs and expectations. So shuttle-loom weaving is a mainstay at 3x1, and we pride ourselves on maintaining the largest collection of selvedge denim in the world (we have offered more than 800 different types since launching nearly 6 years ago).

Talking about Manifattura1987: what’s your point of view on our products? Is there any fabric that you like the most?

I’m a huge fan of whats happening at Manifattura 1887: I love the idea of high quality products, especially ideas with a unique point of view. Manifattura 1887 is trying to address both, and I think it serves a very special purpose.

Trend forecast: which is the best trend of the season for you? Are there any kind of trends in denim that you don’t like and you would prefer to avoid/ignore?

We’re really excited about what’s happening with the women’s business, and specifically the movement towards more authentic denims and washes, even 100% cotton denims. It’s nice to see that trend resurface in an exciting new way.

What’s the story behind your favorite pair of jeans and how do you wear them?

My favorite pair are my 3x1 M3’s, which I usually wear with a t-shirt and sneakers - just like I did 35 years ago. This particular jean was worn from rigid, and broken in on a trip to Tokyo a few years back. It’s only been washed twice, and like all of my jeans, and they get better with each wearing. It’s also been repaired a handful of times, and the inseam has been shorted more than once to. What’s not to love?

* source: Coveteur

Photo credits: Esquire, Jeanstories, SurfaceMag, The Woolmark Company, 3x1 blog.