T-Files 006: Andrew 3sixteen

Andrew helms one of the nicest and most consistent independent clothing labels around, in my opinion. 3sixteen offers t-shirts and accessories through to thoroughly well-made cut & sew garments tastefully designed with a sophisticated aesthetic. He generously took the time out for this Q&A when he was supposed to be relaxing.

Where are you today? Miami, FL. I’m taking a long-overdue vacation and escaping from the cold NY winter.

And you’re still working? I’m trying not to work on anything this week, but that never really happens. We’re tying up Fall 09 so it can be ready for the tradeshows, and I’m hoping that the relaxed atmosphere will help me brainstorm for future seasons.

Where have you been finding inspiration recently? I took some time to wander around in Miami’s art deco district tonight…. the buildings are beautiful and speak to an architectural era long past, but one that still has lasting visual appeal.

Looking at other brands, have you seen anything that was inspiring to you, lately? I am continually inspired and encouraged by any company that was started from nothing and was built off of innovation and hard work. I have friends in all different industries who are fighting to make their businesses succeed – frozen yogurt shops, record labels, photography studios, software companies. I’m familiar with the sacrifices that have to be made to build something from scratch, so I love to see friends pursuing excellence in something they are passionate about. The entrepreneurial spirit never ceases to inspire and amaze me.

What’s your favorite recent 3sixteen item? Probably our Salt & Pepper Field Jacket. I love the fabric itself and the fact that it was flipped as an unconventional material for an M65 body. The fit on the jacket is spot on, too. That’s the most important thing to me… that our product fits well.

How on Earth is it that 3sixteen’s cut & sew pieces are so well-made? There are a number of reasons for this – we work with an incredible fabric mill, some great factories and a talented production manager. Having a proper supply chain allows Johan and me to design with freedom, knowing that (almost) anything we dream up can be properly executed.

Any thoughts on the state of the game in ‘08? The economy has had an effect on the apparel industry that can’t be ignored. The sad thing is that the economic times are causing many talented labels to go under as well – ones that I never thought would be in trouble. It just goes to show you that good design is not everything…. without a proper business model or the right partners, companies will fail. This is true in every industry, but some people in ours are learning this the hard way right now.

Goals for ‘09? Get paid.

Anything else you’d like to rant about or mention? We have too much going on right now to waste time ranting…  Anytime I am feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, I have to remind myself that we are blessed to do what we love for a living and that these opportunities are not afforded to everyone. I am grateful for what we’ve been given, and I am looking forward to what is in store for us next year.

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