DenimBlog Exclusive: Interview With Williamsburg Garment Co.
We got the chance to catch up with Maurice, the man behind Williamsburg Garment Co. to see what was in store for the brand! For those of you not familiar with Williamsburg Garment Co., we also asked Maurice to explain more about his brand, his history with fashion and denim as well as what styles are his favourite from the brand and more! Carry on reading below to find out more!
DB: Hi Maurice! Thanks for doing this interview with us, could you tell our readers about Williamsburg Garment Company?
Williamsburg Garment Company designs denim for men & women with a tagline cash only to trade, which means WGCs selling price to the trade is so low that we use a cash and carry business model in order to survive finance charges, unpaid invoices, returns, and other common costly expenses that usually drive up the prices to the trade at the wholesale level. This allows us to offer an incredible mark-up to Retailers while allowing them to price the jeans at an attractive price to the consumer.
We do high quality denim using the best fabric quality and some serious neighborhood pride (all fits are named after Streets and Avenues in Williamsburg, Brooklyn). We make both domestically produced and imported styles with a goal of producing the core of our collection in our own factories based in Brooklyn in the near future.
DB: So what’s your history working in the denim industry?
I’m from Detroit, Michigan and my career extends back to 1984. With aspirations to be a special effects artist, my career plans changed after seeing the British 80s group JoBoxers music video, Just Got Lucky. The singer wore a hat that I couldn’t find in any stores so I taught myself to sew to make my own. At age 19, I then started a company named Hardwear by Maurice Malone and began selling the hats to local stores.
In 1991, I entered the jeans industry with Mojeans and targeted my line at the hip-hop market. This brand helped establish myself as one of the founding forces behind the birth of Hip-Hop fashion. By 1997, I was staging designer fashion runway shows during NY Fashion Week and my debut tailored mens collection drew wide spread ovation, earning myself a nomination for the Perry Ellis Award for New Menswear Designer of the Year.
From 2004 to 2006, I presented collections during a short-lived partnership with my eyewear licensee. Later, with backing a factory I re-launched the Mojeans collection under the Black Label name, which featured a skull-winged logo for the Premium Streetwear Market.
From the later part of 2006 to 2011, I worked out of sight, mainly earning freelance and production work through my company DenimWork.com. Williamsburg Garment Company, Inc was originally set-up in 2009 to raise capital for a tailored collection called Fat Mattresses &nd Golden Underwear but exhausted with the process of seeking investors, I decided the time had come to take my own advice that I had given to many young designers seeking my guidance and approach launching a new collection as a new designer with limited funds.
Following my advice, the Williamsburg Garment Company brand was born and launched in November 2011. Williamsburg Garment Company is currently establishing a foundation in the worlds top designer boutiques and denim specialty stores.
DB: If you could describe you brand in just 3 words, what would those be?
Bargain Quality Style.
DB: What can we expect from your AW13 collection?
I plan to make more basics non-basic while still remaining very basic.
DB: Do you have a favorite cut/jean you have designed?
For Men, the Grand Street which is slim with a tapered leg opening and eased knee & lower thigh area. For Women it would be the Metropolitan which initially was suppose to be a unisex jean but landed firmly as a relaxed fit rigid straight leg for women. In this style we offer our only Raw Denim for women.
DB: What makes your denim brand so different to the others?
1. The lack of branding while still being branded via our coin pocket detail.
2. Our incredible fit. I didn’t go out and copy other brands fits, during my time with no product on the market I found good fits and improved them. For the Grand Street, I found a popular brands slim fit too big in the waist which caused too much bulking of fabric at the waist when wearing a belt. I also made the leg opening smaller for a better look with high top sneakers, boots and rolling the cuff for low cut shoes. I tweaked the knee and thigh areas as well.
3. Last and most importantly, when I started this brand I knew I couldn’t compete with big brands in the traditional ways of doing business so I decided to go back to the old days of doing business with a high level of customer / personal service. A small time operation but in the modern world using technology as a aid. About 40% of my time is spent on my website, customers and their orders. I think no major brand can say their designer or company owner personally answers every customers email as well as ships and inspects 95% (sometimes I have to go out of town) of web orders.
DB: How many jeans do you personally own?
I dont know, but I usually keep 1 pair in heavy rotation, wearing it nearly everyday until it’s worn enough, until it’s retired as a wash master copy.
DB: What makes you love denim so much?
I dont know. Runners run, Singers sing, I like to do denim.
DB: Thank you so much Maurice!