MADE TO AGE
You’ve probably passed by it on E. Second Street unaware of it was. Without a determined eye, the intimate space can easily be overlooked as the sun creates a reflective camouflage along the large factory windows. There is no signage, just instructions to buzz the code: 102. Once dialed, you’ll be greeted to the openhearted squeak of an industrial door entering a flagship defined by another set of numbers standing for this emporium of stylistic simplicity, 3sixteen.
Inside feels like an art exhibit devoted to a modern man seeking the highest form of style and function. Stacks of white bricks meet smooth concrete and wooden shelves serve as platforms for the brand’s collection. The focus here is 3sixteen’s masterpiece, the denim. First and foremost, this is a denim brand and has been since the team turned its attention to developing the finest men’s denim nine years ago. “It’s not about making jeans for a specific type of guy, but rather, a blank canvas for every guy to make their own,” stresses co-owner Johan Lam.
Hanging single file are different fits and designs conceptualized from the team working with Okayama based Kuroki Mills in Japan to produce a custom fabric. Classic straight, or slim tapered are just a few choices offered in different tones and fabrics made to emulate a specific lifestyle or taste. Johan’s go-to? “The pair that I’ve been wearing for the past few years is our ST-100xk. It’s a slim tapered cut, in an unsanforized denim that we spent a year developing.”
Like a collection of mint-conditioned vinyl, sift through the jeans with wandering hands and let go of time as it’s meant to be enjoyed. Johan revels in the standard that “Committing to a pair of 3sixteen jeans is an intimate process, we like to spend the time deserved with a customer, the pair you leave with — you will have for life.”
When asked about the choice of location, Johan glanced over the flagship with a definite grin, “My wife and I lived here in the Arts District for several years and have watched it evolve. As rents in the neighborhood skyrocket, I think it’s important that independent businesses plant roots here and maintain a strong and committed presence.”
Johan is connected to his community,“We have grown together with our clientele through all these years.” Seems like a fitting statement, as the pieces offered from 3sixteen are meant to evolve, to “age but never feel old.” Deep down, isn’t that how we all feel as men in Los Angeles? The items we chose to wear can assist in defining our brave Angeleno spirit, keeping us courageous at heart.
Johan affirmed that 3sixteen is a blank canvas, so get to work and make it your own. From the creases around the cuff after riding a Triumph down Spring St, or a deepening fade from sunlit gatherings on rooftops, let the denim from 3sixteen age with you, and all your endless California stories will forever be written in the fabric.
Written By Travis Platt
Photographed By Eric Cacioppo