Since London-based craft-jeans manufacturer Blackhorse Lane Ateliers complemented its Walthamsthow factory building with its first shop – in the storied Clerk’s House building at the end of Shoreditch High Street – it has been much easier for customers to view its full run of jeans (women’s from £135; men’s from £155) and try them on in person. But the concept is bigger than just a shop, which is rather interesting.
The space is called a “denim haberdashery”, and Han Ates, who runs Blackhorse, wants it to be a destination for people who’d like to make jeans as much as for those who buy them. So while the back of the shop has the jeans-stacked shelves of any denim retailer, the front is dominated by buttons, patterns and denim cloth itself.
The haberdashery is an extension of Blackhorse’s denim masterclasses. These have been running at the label’s Walthamstow factory for a while, and teach attendees to make their own pair of jeans over a weekend. Those students, and anyone else, can now visit the shop in Shoreditch to buy cloth, buttons, rivets, shears (from £32), thread and pattern books (£14.50).
Blackhorse is one of the most progressive jeans-makers in the world, researching old production methods to create the highest quality possible. There is the lining on the bottom of the rear pockets, for example, which makes them tougher. The leather patch on the back is sewn onto the waistband as part of a continuous stitch, which again is more secure. And the belt loops are sewn underneath the waistband rather than just on top of the denim.
When I visited, a customer was having a pair of jeans shortened with one of the machines on-site; another was having a small repair done. And hanging out in the front of the store, answering customers’ questions, was Mohsin Sajid, one of the masterclass teachers and all-round jeans guru – it’s such a refreshing approach.
Simon Crompton is a men’s style writer and consultant. He is the founder of the award-winning website Permanent Style and author of Le Snob Guide to Tailoring (Hardie Grant Books, £8.99) and The Finest Menswear in the World (Thames & Hudson, £24.95). To read more of his columns, click here.