Doublewood – Denim Made Well in China
In almost every industry, the phrase “Made in China” is often cast in a more negative light as it is associated with lower quality goods although at generally lower prices. It’s a justified viewpoint since that outsourcing has become the standard for most companies so they can increase production while cutting costs significantly when compared to producing in the US.
While a large percentage of goods being made in China can be considered lower quality, there is a small sector of Chinese brands (see Red Cloud) that have been quietly focusing on slower production to create expertly made goods that brings pride to the phrase “Made in China”.
For the last 30 years, Jade Lam’s family owned factory has made denim for various high end brands. They built a reputation of making clothing that matches, if not surpasses, the quality of many other reputable factories while maintaining a good environment for their workers.
After moving to San Francisco from Hong Kong, Jade partnered together with Jeffrey Lee and Robin Chan to create their own house brand, Doublewood, which continues to be run from San Francisco. Named after the Chinese characters that appear in their last names (their logo is also derived from their name), Doublewood is their first foray into making a product exactly the way they want using the fabrics and materials they’ve always wanted to use.
Starting with a 13.75oz selvedge rope-dyed right hand twill denim made specifically for them by Kaihara Mills, Doublewood has 3 different fits: Narrow (a slim tapered), Straight (slimmed down straight cut with a slight taper), and Comfort (classic straight cut with a higher rise) that uses a left twill version of the denim.
The details in their jeans show off the advantage of having your own factory: hidden rivets, 8oz. vegetable tanned bridle leather patch, individually stamped and numbered pockets, engraved pocket rivet, slanted button holes on the fly, and different colored inseam stitch for each style and batch of jean. The biggest advantage of owning your production facility though is the ability to control your costs. And Doublewood is able to do that very well: their jeans are all priced around $149.
Not content with just two fabrics and a three cuts, they’ve recently developed a fourth fit, Super Narrow (skinny). Each of those fits use a 11.25oz selvedge Japanese stretch denim made from 98% cotton and 2% stretch.
And they’ve also created their first women’s cut, a skinny jean that utilizes a 10oz. stretch selvedge Japanese denim available in both a raw and one washed version. Add to that a 13.75oz black warp/white weft denim for their men’s fits and Doublewood’s got a pretty well rounded collection.
Despite their varied offerings, Doublewood is still a young brand. And like most companies in their first few years, they have quite to uphill battle ahead of them to break through the noise of the ever-growing number of brands on the market.
While they do have a low price point on their side, all will be for naught if their a few dollars saved came at the cost of a sloppily made product. Fortunately, the details are well executed, the construction is clean and solid, and the quality control is managed very well. It’s also worth noting that each jean, regardless of where they were purchased, come with a 10oz unprimed canvas dust bag (women’s jeans come in a tote version) which features their logo and in the future will feature some limited addition artwork from different artists.
With over 10 stockists under their belt now in their first year, they’re definitely catching people’s attention and slowly but surely, they’re showing that being made in China can actually be a very good thing. Learn more about Doublewood and their products on their website.