Designer Scott Morrison shares his extensive collection of vintage denim at his self-renovated country home perched on a Catskills mountainside. An undisputed king of denim, the former golf pro launched the commercially successful Paper, Denim & Cloth in the 90s before moving on to Earnest Sewn, bringing modern silhouettes to strong, reliable jeans. His newest venture, 3x1, aims to offer the ultimate denim experience, from bespoke made-to-measure tailoring (with over 135 different stocks) to limited-edition runs of prêt-a-porter styles. With a factory in the middle of its Mercer Street store in New York, 3x1 can move from conceptualizing a new design to selling it within three days. “We produce everything in the store, you can see it all happening. We try to invite the customer into the process,” Morrison explains. On a visit upstate, Morrison introduced NOWNESS to his
Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs, Kurabo and Nishimbo (named after
Japanese denim mills) and downloaded his denim wisdom.
How important is fabric to denim design?
From a denim designer's standpoint, that's where everything starts. The fun of this project for me is the expressions of people walking in the door. People really don't recognize how denim comes to be, whether it’s washed or whiskers, graded or hand-sanded. We have 78 or 79 different denims on the wall, so you get to see all these amazing shades of blue or indigo with a direction of red or green or something.
Where do you find inspiration?
There's amazing, amazing stuff in Japan. Did you see the blanket out on the fireplace? It’s a handmade patchwork-style quilt, made out of indigo dye kimonos. They are probably some of the best things I've ever seen, especially for inspiration for patterns, or for stitch detailing, or any type of hand application. It's work wear, often from rural communities. They'll make these quilts out of scraps or leftovers as their kimonos get outgrown or damaged. They put them together and they make these family quilts. They're called Boro quilts. They have the most exquisite detailing, all done by hand, typically all dyed with indigo, which makes it more rare and beautiful.
What are your favorite jeans labels in your collection?
Levi’s Red was a deconstructivist theory of what a 501 jean could be. They built this team, largely based in Amsterdam, to make it fresh and new again. It’s one of the cooler things I’ve ever seen done in denim. Big chunky stitching and oversize label. But Denime is probably the most important to me. Evisu and Denime were the godfather brands of Japan. Denime is a really good example of a replica jean, designed to be a replica of a Levi’s 501 or some pre-1960s Levi’s. A replica quality jean made in the early 90s from Denime is as good as anything you’ll ever see from a vintage Levi’s product. This is as authentic as it looks, down to the rivets, the hand-hammered wash burrs.