Brand Profile: 3x1, Transparency & Mass Customization
Originally published March 2, 2012
The biggest problem with clothes these days is that we have lost touch with the art of the process, the craftsmanship. We no longer really know where our clothes come from and how they were made. Yeah the label says 'Made in Bangladesh', you read it and think no further. That label does not tell the whole story.
The raw material is most definitely an import, then you have thread, trims, embellishments, rivets, zippers etc. It does not tell us the conditions the garment was made it and we don't see any of the after-effects of what happens when the dye bath is poured out into environment sans treatment (waste water treatments). Will it pollute waterways where people and animals alike will drink from? What are the health effects from textile dust and chemicals on the workers? The countries where most of these garments are produced do not have the regulation or the infrastructure to deal with the clean-up. They have problems getting toilets for every household in India, never mind finding the money to build the infrastructure to protect society and environment from the pitfalls of economic development through the clothing industry.
That brings me to 3x1, created by Scott Morrison. You may know him from such labels as Paper, Denim & Cloth and Earnest Sewn. The concept behind mass customization is the type of model on where this industry needs to head to survive. There are just not enough resources to keep the industry functioning at the present status quo. Mass customization invites the consumer to be a part of the process, it creates value and delivers a unique product. It is also made locally by workers who are paid fair wages per hour as opposed to per piece. You can bring in old jeans that you love the fit of and have them re-made, buy a ready made pair where zipper, length and button are customized (custom made), limited edition (ready to wear) or a completely bespoke pair option. You have the ability to choose the stitch, the thread colour, pocket design, pocket stitching, how you would like belt loops etc. Price can vary and they are not cheap ($295 - $1,200) but I feel like this is the type of piece you invest and wear for a very long time.
Imagine the time savings, jean shopping is the worst and I know every woman can attest to this. Yeah, it is only jeans, but at the same time it is the go-to option in most wardrobes and probably the item that gets the most mileage. I am however a hard core denim fanatic, it is my favorite material to work with. I love designing and making jeans so it comes to no surprise that I would love3x1. I'm a uniform girl and I find one pair of jeans that I love and wear them to death. I do not wash them often and use a variety of methods to keep my environmental impact low and extend the life of my denim: throw them in the freezer, spot wash, cold water wash, hang dry (not all at the same time obviously).
All the denim used by 3x1is high quality, hailing from supreme denim capitals such as Japan and North Carolina. The supply-chain is transparent, as the consumer you can see exactly who makes your jeans and where they come from. It also supports the resurgence of the New York garment industry, preserving an important part of NY cultural heritage. With the emerging local 'Made In' pride trend, this brand has hit the mark spot on.