In the ten years 3sixteen has been in business, co-founders Andew Chen and Johan Lam have endured an evolution of menswear tastes ranging from streetwear to workwear to a simple selvedge jeans, crisp cotton shirts and waxed cotton jackets. Not to mention a worldwide economic downturn and the explosion of social media and fast fashion. But all the while, the New York-based brand has quietly represented quality jeans and cool, casual clothing with a rugged sensibility. It's what solidified their spot in a world where men are looking for something that will last them. To honor ten years in the business, the guys have released the "Decade Collection," a selection of specialty denim along with collaborations with some of 3sixteen's favorite apparel and lifestyle brands, including a handsome pair of Viberg boots, launching today. We caught up with Lam for some insight into how 3sixteen has found its way, and what it takes to succeed in the style game today.
Take us back to the beginning ... How have those origins affected your work and products?
Andrew grew up in New York and spent some time in Chicago, where he was living when he founded 3sixteen, eventually moving back to NYC. I've spent nearly my entire life in California, growing up in the Bay Area and spending the past 10 years in LA. We've always operated on two separate coasts, which has played a huge hand in shaping our brand. We've had the opportunity to grow distinct networks of friends and supporters, and have gained access to more resources because we operate out of two offices. We've used factories in New York City, LA and San Francisco and have worked with printers, pattern makers and fabric suppliers all across the country.
Dsptch key fob, $24
You're spread in several different shops all across the globe, but who is the guy that's coming in to buy your jeans?
When we partnered to open Self Edge New York and Los Angeles, we got the opportunity to meet and interact with a lot of the customers that buy our jeans. It's amazing to me how diverse the people that buy 3sixteen products are—older men who want jeans that match the quality of what they wore when they were younger, teenagers who save up their allowance to buy their first pair and everything in between. Because of the minimal branding, they aren't buying them to stunt on other people. It's solely for themselves. They appreciate the fabric, the details, the construction and know that it will continue to look better over time.
service boots, $720
Walk us through the process for putting together the Decade Collection.
When Andrew and I were in Berlin last year for Bread & Butter, I brought up the fact that this would mark our 10th year. We began brainstorming on what we could do to commemorate the decade. The ideas flowed freely and naturally, really. Because everyone we collaborated with has played a crucial role in the success of 3sixteen over the years. Jeff Hamada served as our head graphic designer for years and created much of the graphic language that we still use today, including our signature and pickaxe logo. Tanner Goods has supplied our leather patches since we first started making jeans and also produces our belts and bracelets. The entire collection became a sort of retrospective of everything that we've created over the years and the journey we've taken as a brand. And it was definitely a goal to have a wide price range of products for sale, and I think we were able to accomplish that. We wanted everyone who came into the shop or visited the website to be able to take something home with them, whether it be a cool mug or a badass pair of Viberg boots.