Menswear label Double Eleven believes there’s a better way to create jeans – one that balances style, responsibility and price. And the result are products made deadstock fabrics, using 100% locally reclaimed Japanese and Italian fabrics, with each pair designed, cut, sewn, and finished within a 15-mile radius of Los Angeles, ensuring the smallest possible carbon footprint, and demonstrating that utility can be both smart and stylish.Nathan Bogle, former model and maker of the two brands Rag & Bone and Jardine and a real denim lover founded the brand in 2015. He saw a lack of really responsible manufacturing clothes and as this became an essential approach for his designs, he moved to Los Angeles and founded Double Eleven. With a broad role in the brand that extends from design, sourcing, production, packaging, and the marketing of Double Eleven, he is spearheading an evolution in the principles and ethics of conscientious fashion for affordable prices – the jeans cost around $125. Here, Bogle talked about his background, the importance of being responsible and the advantages of the direct-to-consumer concept.
Nathan - please, explain briefly your different business experiences in the fashion industry.
My family has been in and around the fashion and brand business for over a century. My great-grandfather worked in fabric mills in Northern England in the early 1900’s, so it’s in my blood!
I began as a model in the 90’s and moved to New York. In 2002 Marcus (Wainwright) and I founded rag & bone. We are both self-taught in design and carried out all duties in the brand from design, sourcing, sales, marketing, PR, you name it we did it. This is the way for any start up, you have to wear a lot of different hats, until you have the revenue to hire people to help. Today, these are the things I do, too.
After quitting Rag & Bone you have founded another label called Double Eleven? Why?
Before Double Eleven, in 2012, I founded a label called Jardine, which was a contemporary menswear label, named after my great-grandfather. We made high end outerwear, leather, shirting and knits. I enjoyed the process and am very proud of the product we made, but in August 2014, I hit a wall and did not like the way in which the traditional method of making clothes was so wasteful and inefficient. This is when I had the idea for Double Eleven.
Do you think the world needs another denim label?
The world doesn’t need more clothing, not just jeans! BUT it does need brands/clothing that are made in a different way. One which respects the planet a little more in its production process. Everything that happens from the field (the growing of the cotton) all the way to the factory. It takes 5000 liters of water to grow enough cotton to make ONE pair of jeans (that’s 4.5 years drinking water for ONE human!). There are 800 million people on earth who don’t have access to clean water on a daily basis. These two facts alone are very troubling and obviously need action, hence Double Eleven.
The apparel industry is 3rd to fossil fuels and agriculture in its collective pollution of the planet. It is simply not a sustainable system at the current volume (80 BILLION pieces of clothing made each year!), with little to no regulation in place to enforce a more responsible approach. There are alternatives available, the route is harder because there are limitations and sacrifices one has to make, but it is about problem solving. We have all the technology and options in place, we just need big brands (in particular Fast Fashion) to start using them on a large scale to make a significant impact globally and culturally. We can solve this but it needs a community effort led by the power houses of fashion (and the fashion media).
So no, we don’t need another brand, but we need more brands that are being very responsible in how they produce the product because we humans will continue to consume, so why not consume something that is positive for the planet and not harming it, OTHERWISE that’s just reckless and irresponsible in a world that NEEDS systemic change in its industrial processes to slow down climate change.
There are amazing and inspirational examples out there like Patagonia, Reformation, Maiyet, Stella McCartney etc who are leading the way through example.
What distinguishes Double Eleven from other brands?
We only use deadstock fabrics, we don’t make or import any new textiles, everything is sampled, sourced, cut, sewn and finished inside a 15 mile radius. We manufacture regionally, for regional distribution (so made in USA is for USA/Canada). We do not ship product overseas, we only use one label on the garment (made from organic cotton), any paper used is 100% post-consumer waste or recycled, all the runs of jeans we make are limited and different each time (depending on the denim we reclaim), the fabrics are always premium grade (originally from Japan or Italy), and the price is affordable at $125 per pair.
By implementing a strict production manifesto, we reduce our carbon footprint significantly, save thousands upon thousands of liters of valuable water and kilowatt hours of machine and human energy, whilst still offering the customer a superior product with absolutely no compromise to fit, style or quality.
Where do you source the fabric and where are the items manufactured?
We source from downtown LA and they are made nearby in Vernon.
Why do you go the path of direct-to-consumer?
Right now we are only offering direct through our website. In the future we would like to work with wholesalers, we want to talk to the right ones because our method is not seasonal or traditional. We make new product when we find new materials and depending on the weather, that determines what we will make. But it’s a nice program for wholesale because everyone gets something different and each batch is limited, so the customer won’t see lots of others wearing the same jeans he or she has. We like this idea, and at the $125 price point, it allows those who possibly couldn’t afford a premium jean the opportunity to own a pair that is exactly the same quality, if not better! We think it’s a win-win for all involved.
And are there any downsides to the direct-to-consumer business approach that you’re following?
No, it’s now just about awareness.
How to keep up the excitement about the brand once the initial curiosity cools down?
We introduce new product every couple of months or so and look for interesting partnerships, so these two things give us something to introduce into the conversation. We have just made some Utility aprons for the coffee house Intelligentsia, which was a fun little project. We are continuing to look for opportunities with brands or companies who think in the same way we do. Also, it’s about interesting stories and communication. In today’s world it’s obviously all about interesting content and you almost need to be a publishing company first then a clothing brand second.
What customers do you have?
We only sell in the US, so American! Aged between 18-45.
What plans do you have for the future in terms of expansion, retail, line extension …?
We are planning on introducing plant dyed t-shirts and knits quite soon, then chambray shirting and outerwear. Womenswear is always in the back of my mind, and my female friends keep asking me about when they will get their jeans, so that might happen soon!