Of all the wardrobe essentials, the perfect pair of jeans is, oddly, the most elusive. Few men understand that as well as Scott Morrison, a fashion entrepreneur who has established and sold two successful denim brands, Paper Denim & Cloth and Earnest Sewn. Now Morrison has opened 3×1, a denim boutique in Manhattan that is dedicated to making the perfect pair of jeans, measured and cut to order, and ready to walk out the door within days.
Morrison’s 4,000-square-foot SoHo store has a fittingly loftlike vibe. Bolts of limited-edition denim fabrics line the walls, as do finished, one-of-a-kind jeans framed in glass like artwork. Also on display are the patternmakers and sewers, busily tailoring custom jeans behind glass walls. "I want to get people excited about denim, and I want them to see the craftsmanship," says Morrison, 39, who also takes a hand in the process himself, meeting with each customer to determine his or her style and fabric preferences before sketching a pair of custom jeans.
Morrison has spent his career researching denim from around the world, and finds that some of the best fabric is made in Japan on antique American shuttle looms from the early 1900s. This type of denim has a slightly looser construction than commercial denim, and most of the 140 fabrics on offer at 3×1 are American shuttle-loom denim. Because it is produced much more slowly than commercial denim, it costs significantly more—as much as $30 per yard, compared with a few dollars or less per yard. Its telltale selvage edge has a fine finish, as opposed to the cut edges in most jeans. After more than a decade perfecting the fit, Morrison is sensitive to nuances such as the placement of the back pockets, which should be determined by the wearer’s shape, size, and height. For example, a long pocket will make a short man look shorter, while a tall man will look out of proportion if the pocket is cut too wide or placed to high. Morrison is also attuned to "age-appropriate" denim, and advises men "of a certain age" to eschew jeans that are cut very loose or very skinny, and to avoid torn or worn denim at all costs.
A bespoke sample is ready for a fitting within three days, and usually the jeans are finished within minutes of the customer’s approval. The digitized pattern allows repeat clients to phone in requests for new custom jeans and have them shipped within 24 hours. Bespoke jeans start at $1,200. The store also offers two semicustom alternatives: Limited Edition styles ($295) made in runs of eight to 24 that are then individually hemmed and finished with a choice of buttons and rivets while you wait; and Custom Made options ($525 to $775) consisting of five fits for men and 40 fits for women that can be finished with the customer’s choice of fabric, thread, and pocket details.
The choices vary widely, and among those who take full advantage of the options are two of the shop’s best customers: Marco Bizzarri, president and CEO of the quietly luxurious Bottega Veneta fashion house, who stops in to have jeans made before returning to Italy; and Tony Parker, the red-carpet-ready point guard for the San Antonio Spurs, who orders his custom jeans in multiples, to keep a perfect pair in each of his many homes.
3×1, 888.355.7887, www.3x1.us