Committed to making the best jeans in the world, one pair at a time, denim label/boutique/atelier 3x1 knows that raw denim is not for everyone. And so this New York-based label with its cult following has forged a relationship with Merino wool, developing a Wool Denim capsule collection exclusively for The Woolmark Company.
Collaborating with renowned New York denim designer and 3x1 owner Scott Morrison, The Woolmark Company is addressing the increasingly global trend of casualization and blending the conventionally formal fibre of Merino wool with traditional cotton denim.
“I love denim, because it’s probably next to white T-shirts the most classic Americana item,” explains Morrison. “We’ve used wool intermittently since we started 3x1. Wool has a totally different hand feel; it’s a bit more sophisticated, a bit drapier and obviously for the warmth properties.”
Whilst blending wool with cotton is not necessarily a new concept, improved commercial manufacturing processes and a wider acceptance of denim apparel in both social and work places has given wool the opportunity to have a greater presence in this area. Wool Denim is strong and versatile like regular cotton denim, but has the extra resilience, elasticity, a softer handle, odour resistance, moisture management and most importantly warmth found in wool. By replacing some, or all, of the weft yarns with wool, a higher performance and more cost effective fabric can be produced.
“The wool denim that we’ve been sourcing is done on a shuttle loom which is fantastic,” says Morrison. “The fabric itself feels incredibly drapey, incredibly soft and luxurious.
“Often you’re thinking of wool as a heavier, kind of rougher, type of fabric, but what we found is they’re actually the opposite – super smooth and really beautiful. The hand feel in all the wool products is incredible.”
But Morrison isn’t the only denim guru championing Wool denim. Sartorial commentator and self-confessed “free agent” Nick Wooster believes that fabric composition of a piece of clothing is becoming more and more important to today’s discerning consumers.
“Fabric innovation, properties of yarn, the actual components that make up a garment are becoming more important,” Wooster tells Morrison.
“To me wool is the most important fabric as a base of any gentleman’s – and quite frankly any person’s – wardrobe. When people have the opportunity to put it on their body, and then to live with it for a while, they’ll be really surprised; it’s super comfortable. It really is a performance fabric.”
With 15 years of experience in the denim industry, Scott Morrison knows jeans. His wealth of knowledge culminates in the perfectly matched fit, fabric and finish on every pair of 3x1 jeans, and his quality standards and meticulous attention to detail can be matched only by the finest luxury ateliers in the world.
With less than 50 pairs of jeans made each day, by hand, 3x1 has its own unique and exclusive world of denim.
For The Woolmark Company, the 3x1 collection comprises both mens and womens styles working with different fabric compositions including 100 per cent wool yarn dyed indigo selvedge twill and wool blends, as well as different wash techniques including resin and 3D hand sanding.
“On the women's side, we wanted to push the boundaries of this particular denim's 'character',” says Morrison. “And with authentic washes making a popular resurgence in the US for next Spring/Summer 15, I wanted to emphasise the 3D technique, yet maintain the softness needed for a women's jean and jacket.
“For the men's version, the technique was the same, but we went a bit more aggressive. Still adhering to denim's authentic nature, we ramped up the hand sanding intensity and wet abrasion time to exacerbate the vintage effect.
“Most people were surprised to learn that the softness they felt was due to the wool, and the 1 per cent Spandex gave us just enough recovery to keep things in shape, and prevent unnecessary growing."