Been a bit of a mad one these past two weeks (madder than usual, anyway) trying to get every cog in the clobber-calm machine finely tuned & then keeping said cogs oiled up.
You may have seen that we sent LIVE our first couple of podcasts, aptly named the clobber-casts, and they’ve had a healthy audience whose time & feedback we’ve greatly appreciated! We’re also in the process of ironing out some creases in the new website which should be done in the next week, or so…exciting times.
With this in consideration, the blogs had a well deserved holiday last week (trust me, they needed it) BUT are back with a bang tonight as we focus on our steel city brothers Forge Denim.
Forge are just around the corner from us, here in “sunny” Sheffield, and it’s great to have these champions of similar values, to ourselves, rocking it in the North. They’re a brand built on good, honest Sheffield steel and their story is a stellar tale focussed around creating quality, ethically aware raw denim, and other, garments. Plus Alex, who take the reigns tonight, is one of the nicest blokes you could wish to meet…
MEET THE BRAND BEHIND THE MENSWEAR
NAME: Alex Mir
BRAND NAME: Forge Denim
LOCATION: Sheffield, England
SIZE OF TEAM: 2
SPECIALITY/COMPANY FOCUS: Quality and ethical clothing
1. Straight forward, please tell us, how did your company Forge Denim start out? (For people that don’t already know)
Forge Denim was founded by Richard Mappin and myself. Richard has been collecting jeans for over two decades and has a ridiculous level of knowledge about anything to do with denim. My background is in retail which has given me the opportunity to work with and learn from many of the really iconic denim brands.
Our friendship developed over hours of conversation about the details that made for a really great pair of jeans, and it seemed a natural next step to think about setting up our own company, Forge Denim. We know that there are a lot of great jeans company already out there, so if we were going to launch our own company we wanted to make sure that we were offering something a little bit different. From the beginning we decided that we’d run Forge Denim based on three key ideas:
We wanted to incorporate the craftsmanship that is part of the denim heritage, but take a modern approach to design and fit.
All our clothing would be made in England using companies that we selected for the quality of their work, and the care that they showed towards their staff and the environment.
Our aim was to make the very best jeans that we could, not the best jeans for a set price. We wanted our clothes to look right and feel right from the moment you put them, with every element spot on. When we were designing the first collection we kept saying ‘every detail matters’ and it’s a phrase that’s come to sum up our whole approach.
2. Tell us. What does a day in the life of yourself look like? What’s your daily work routine?
We don’t have a typical day as such – working for ourselves we’re constantly multi-tasking! Usually I will start with a meeting in the morning with Richard to discuss the day’s plan, then head off to the office to pick up emails and check orders. Then it’s processing the orders, co-ordinating with our factories, looking at product design and working on our new collections. If I have time I’ll do some work on our social media, and check out the feeds of other brands and bloggers that we like.
3. What are your top 3 bestselling items? And why do you think this is?
Our Slim (FD001) 12 oz Japanese Stretch Raw Denim White Selvedge has been really popular. We were able to source a fantastic stretch raw denim from the Kurabo mills in Japan. It has 1% elastine, which when you try it on feels very rigid unlike other stretch jeans on the market, but has enough flexibility for comfort.
Our Hoodies have also gone down well. For our Hoodie we sourced an English yarn knitted especially for us, which is soft and comfortable with just the right amount of stretch. We have added ribbed sections to the hood, shoulders and sleeves, and the laces on the hood are finished with stainless steel aglets, made in Sheffield – a nice little touch of quality.
Finally there is our Foreman jacket – our take on the basic chore jacket. We didn’t want to try to be too clever with the design – we’ve kept it nice and simple and just paid attention to getting the details right. For example, we use buttons made in England by Courtney and Co from the Corozo nut – an environmentally friendly alternative to horn
4. What’s your personal favourite garment when it comes to the items you manufacture?
Jeans are at the heart of what we do and for me a pair of raw denim jeans are the most personal item you can buy. Based on how you wear them, your jeans develop an individual fade and look – the variable texture of the yarn, the pattern of the fade and the slight twist to the seams which will be unique to you.
So – jeans are definitely my favourite. I love seeing the way a particular pair of jeans develops from a sketch on a piece of paper, through all the different processes, to the finished product. The steel button although is not an piece of clothing itself, was very rewarding to manufacture. We are the only denim company in the world to make denim buttons in England and this was a massive task for us to be able to do. We searched high and low for a companies to do this for us, it turns out in the end we used a company that are based on the same road as I was born fate eh? We could of gone abroad and this would have been cheaper and much easier but we always wanted to have steel buttons on the jean made in Sheffield. The result is a beautiful button that we are very proud of and this single achievement although small emphasises our motto of every detail matters.
5. What are your thoughts on the rise of Instagram fashion and the chaps that post their clothing on there to help spread the word of their fave brands?
I love it, it helps me in finding new brands but most importantly I love fashion and you can learn so much from people showing and talking about their clothes and different brands. One of the reasons we started Forge is that we wanted to make great clothes that people would appreciate and want to share with others.
6. Has it made an impact on your business at all, do you think?
As a new business Instagram is a brilliant way of bringing your brand to people’s attention. It is still early days but we have had some lovely feedback to date.
7. Is there any feeds on IG that you particularly like to check-in on regular. What brands are you fond of on there? What menswear feeds to you like to peruse?
The feeds I particularly like to check out are @swissjeansfreak, @welldresseddad, @nico.mantzke, @denimdude, @longjohn_denimblog and, of course, @clobbercalm! As for brands, three of my favourites are @Benzak, Nigel Cabourn and Barnes and Moore.
8. A quick one about you. Other than the business, what passions do you have in life? What flicks your switch and helps you relax?
After a busy day a work I love to go to the gym and workout. I find it really helps me having some time alone and reflecting on the day’s work, some of my best ideas have come while running on the tread mill. I’m big into my TV series and movies and currently watching Peaky Blinders – I know I’m a bit late on this one but I’m loving it!
9. What do you consider to be the best thing about your business and why?
I love jeans and I love fashion and I feel so lucky to be able to be involved in something I am so passionate about. It’s really satisfying to see someone wearing and loving our clothing like we do. Oh – and I get to work with my friends, which is a real bonus.
10. And Lucky Last, You’re going to be stranded on a desert island and you can take 1 outfit (4 items) only with you. And 1 choice of drink.
- Our FD-001 12 oz stretch jeans
- Our single jersey white tee
- Oliver Spencer sky blue chambray shirt
- Converse x Comme Des Garcons
It’s an outfit that looks great and works for pretty well every situation – and as we are on a desert island it has to be a Pina colada with an umbrella of course!
Really, really great Alex. Thanks for taking the time out, appreciate this man! As the popular chant around these parts goes “…oh Sheffield is wonderful…” we can only attest to agree, what with folks like Alex and Richard at Forge, plus all the other makers/creatives etc that we have the pleasure of speaking to daily in the shop. The North really is a-booming!
Now, onto this week and our collective forays…we have THE dudette herself, Amy Leverton, sitting in the clobber-cast booth this week plus we wrap ‘Project Threads & Fades 2017’ (finally) and we’ll be posting the first set of interviews from our Selvedge Run adventure(s). Stay tuned folks, we know we will ✌️
Much love people.