The Shophound was naturally looking forward to checking out 3x1 (Made Here), the new jeans store tucked away at the bottom of Mercer Street near Nike's Sportswear store, the new Agnès B., and VPL. After all, the store's mastermind is Scott Morrison, the denim guru who created Earnest Sewn and the once adored now nearly vanished Paper Denim & Cloth and was coming off a somewhat fizzled attempt to revamp the Japanese jeans brand Evisu.
Is it possible to add anything new to the already heavily saturated jeans market in New York? There's an abundance of everything here from Levi's and The Gap to increasingly banal premium boutiques like 7 For All Mankind to connoisseur destinations like Self Edge. the new 3x1 store is impressive in its quiet way. It's main angle is that the production facilities are all on the premises —behind glass, as a matter of fact. the privilege of watching workers slaving away over sewing machines and cutting tables is something of a dubious one. Though it ensures that your jeans are not secretly constructed in some offshore sweatshop, the idea that production staff also serves as a selling tool somehow does not sit well with The Shophound. We hope they get a commission of some kind. The rest of the store is pristine white, with basic denim models displayed in plexiglass cubes on the walls, and under glass tables. in a nod to the latest technology, the cash register consists of two tricked out iPod Touchs sitting neatly on a counter. Ready-to-wear product is found in tidy stacks under the tables, but the focus here is clearly on custom options.
Morrison pioneered custom orders in his Earnest Sewn shops, but here he has taken it to a new level. One wall is covered with bolts of imported selvedge denim for your perusal. Production items are made only in runs of 8 to 24 units at the most, and fewer than 25 pieces are manufactured in total on the premises on any given day. Order your own and choose from over 60 different denims and choose you own rivets and buttons, and imagine the possibilities when it comes to stitching colors. So your 3x1 (Made Here) jeans, culled from the finest, most coveted materials with the most meticulous manufacturing standards, will be a very special pair of jeans.
Except that they are jeans. And everybody has jeans. Everybody wears jeans. Everybody.
Sure, all jeans are not created equal, and The Shophound has fallen victim to the need for the perfect pair from the right brand in the right silhouette. At times, we have stalked the ones we wanted until we could afford them on the last day of the Barneys Warehouse Sale. But after more than a decade of educating ourselves about selvedge and chainstitching, and enduring an ever more sophisticated obsession with denim, we found ourselves standing in the middle of 3x1 (Made Here) mildly intrigued but hardly gripped with the feverish need to trash all our Nudies and Earnest Sewns and get ourselves a new pair of magically perfect jeans that would have easily overtaken us only a few years ago. We are officially no longer jonesing for jeans.
We get it. We are still able to fall down a rabbit hole of sartorial minutiae when it comes to all sorts of clothes. Maybe it was the day we realized that no matter how amazing the denim, all of our jeans were destined to wear through embarrasingly at the crotch, that our obsession was downgraded to passing interest. OK, that particular concern is really mostly between us and our thighs, but somehow, with 3x1 (Made Here) we have hit the denim wall. We're not putting them down. We appreciate the immense amount of work and expertise that has gone into developing the concept. We know that there are innumerable customers out there just waiting for the artisanal denim store of their dreams, but The Shophound, who is slightly embarrassed to report that our former obsession has left us with more than one pair of jeans tucked away, still waiting to be worn for the first time, is surprisingly... over it.
3x1 (Made Here) 15 Mercer Street, SoHo