Worn In: Andrew Chen’s Flat Head F380 Denim

While it’s easy to find photos of new product, it’s not very often you come across photos of pieces that have been worn in and well loved for years. Denim is a fabric that conforms to the wearers lifestyle and tells a story through its various fades so it was a logical place to start for this first ‘worn in’ feature.

I caught up with Andrew Chen who is a jack of all trades in the menswear business. He’s a co-founder of 3sixteen, owner in Self Edge New York and also runs the brand new Chapter & Verse agency in New York. No stranger to quality denim products, I took some snaps of him in his his pair of Flat Head F380’s and interviewed him on everything from his favorite pair to what he considered when it came to designing denim for 3sixteen.

How did you come to own these jeans and how long have you worn them?

These are the first pair of jeans I bought as an owner of Self Edge NY. Prior to partnering with Kiya, Demitra and Johan to open up the NY branch of the shop in 2009, I had bought several pairs directly from Kiya – but being on the sales floor and having constant access to all these great jeans every day led me to start trying many of them on. The Flat Head F380 was the perfect cut for me, a mid-rise straight leg with a slight taper from the knee down. I was also anxious to see how the Flat Head denim would wear in over time firsthand. I’ve had them since January of 2010; I took them home with me the night before leaving to Paris with my wife to visit family.

See the rest of the feature after the jump

When it comes to dry denim what is your favorite part of the process, breaking them in right at the start, wearing a pair thats well faded and worn, or somewhere in between?

The best part of breaking in a brand new pair is adding a new fit to your arsenal. As I mentioned before, we stock a lot of jeans at Self Edge so each purchase for me is pretty highly considered. A new pair needs to fill an area of my wardrobe that I currently feel is lacking – since most raw jeans start out looking the same, I am usually focusing on trying out a new fit. This is why I rarely buy the same pair of jeans twice in a row; I’m excited to try something new. Of course, having a pair of jeans that are heavily worn in is great because there are some outfits that just look better with a trashed pair as opposed to a brand one one. The in between is not so interesting, but is a part of the process so I don’t mind it. It’s like growing your hair out, no one likes it very much but you have to get through it to achieve an end result.

You’ve seen plenty of jeans come and go, which pair is your personal favorite model?

Honestly, these jeans I’m wearing today are up there. They are the perfect cut to wear with sneakers and boots, and the greyish cast that a well worn pair of Flat Heads take on is a thing of beauty. It’s hard to say which jean is your favorite though, it’s like singling out one of your kids as being your most cherished. Unless a jean has totally fallen apart on me and is not fit to be worn in public, I still wear most of my jeans from time to time.

What did you want to achieve with your line of 3sixteen denim when it first launched? What is on the horizon?

When we launched our jean collection, our goal was to create a clean, classic silhouette with minimal branding and top-notch fabrics. Of course, we were limited at the time due to low quantities and unknown demand. I have a few friends with pairs from our very first run of jeans and I can say with certainty that 4+ years later, they look amazing and have held up great over time.But growing demand for our brand coupled with what we’re learning as co-owners at Self Edge has allowed us to really improve our jeans from year to year – the product we offer today is far superior to the one we first put out in the Fall of 2008.

We’ve refined our fits and tweaked details to what we feel looks and functions best. We obsess over eighths of an inch when it comes to things like selvedge pullouts and stitching details. We also started working directly with Kuroki Mills in Okayama, Japan about two years ago to design our own custom fabric for our jeans. Today, we’re proud to say that the denim that we use on our jeans was designed by us and is manufactured exclusively for us. In a business where so many brands share the same mills and the same fabrics, it’s hard to tell what’s unique about a pair of jeans anymore. It was important to us to offer a jean that is truly unique, from fit to detailing to fabric. But we’re not done; each season we continue to make small tweaks to the jean construction – things that the average consumer won’t even notice, but we believe will make an even better jean.

Photos by Rocky Li