Perhaps the only thing more exciting than slipping on your most well worn, perfectly faded pair of jeans is the prospect of working toward that blissful state with a brand new pair that are pure potential. I was doubly thrilled when that opportunity came my way from a brand in my own backyard, the Williamsburg Garment Company (WGC).
Based in Williamsburg Brooklyn, NY—arguably Ground Zero for hipster silliness—WGC makes decidedly unsilly, unbranded American made jeans (North Carolina denim, Los Angeles sewn, designed and shipped from Brooklyn) with the goal of making an affordable, high quality product. I’ve been spending some time in their raw denim Grand St. model, and I say, with but a few small exceptions and plenty of denimhead details, they’re hitting the mark nicely.
- Name: Williamsburg Garment Co. The Grand
- Fabric: Sanforized 100% Cotton RHT Cone Mill White Oak selvedge denim
- Weight: 12oz.
- Fit: Slim Straight
- Unique Features:
- Multiple coin pockets
- American flag pocketbags
- Branded hardware
- Available for $148 at Williamsburg Garment Co.
The Grand St. is stated as a slim fit jean, but they’re certainly on the outside edge of “slim.” I’m wearing a 35” waist (I usually wear a 34” or a 35”, so I’d say these fit true to size), and that tagged size plays out to 36.5” along the waistband, 43.25” at the seat (8” below the waistband), with a 10.5” front rise (including waist band), 26” thigh (1” below the crotch), 18.25” at the knee (12.5” below the crotch), and a leg opening of 15 5/8” and an inseam of 35”. (WGC’s Web site has an incredibly comprehensive fit guide for all their models.)
I’m 6’3 and 180 lbs. (OK, fine—185), and I wear these just below the hips with a 4.5” turn-up. For me, the fit is very comfortable, that is, with the exception of the fly.
What I do like is that it’s a zipper (YKK)—in my opinion, that’s just better technology than a traditional button fly. (When’s the last time you chose the “tradition” of the stairs over one of them new fangled elevators?) But, it’s just 4.5” long, which can make for some…maneuvering in the men’s room.
It’s not a deal breaker by any means, but a little more would add a lot. (Too much wriggling at the urinal is frowned upon, ever here in Manhattan).
The denim is a raw sanforized 12 oz., 100% Cotton 3×1 RHT, Cone Mills White Oak denim. WGC cites a possible one size, or 5% shrinkage. The feel is slightly stiff, regular to the hand, and is already beginning to give and break in with just over two weeks of wear (though as a writer, my “wear” is largely limited to squirming in coffee shop seats).
It’s definitely a lighter weight denim without feeling “light,” and as the New York City summer humidity is starting to kick in, these will be getting lots of wear.
The copper zipper, buttons and rivets (at pocket corners, sometimes over bar tacks) are all heavy duty and American made. The stitching is what WGC calls their “Classic Burnt Orange,” and I think that’s a pretty accurate description of this eye-catching color, though the chain stitching reads more “Jack-O-Latern,” but I find that more treat than trick.
These truly are an unbranded jean in the literal sense—while there is an embossed W where a patch would be on the back right waistband (so subtle you might miss it), there is no patch or label of any kind.
Nobody loves a logoless look more than me, but I honestly feel this is a missed opportunity for WGC. I’m a huge fan of the eclectic designs found in premium denim patches, and believe an unmarked patch design would have been worth exploring. However, the Grand St. has lots of exclusive details that make it unmistakably WGC.
Most notable are the American flag pocket bags (pulling these down reveal you to be a true patriot), and then there’s the screen printing and labeling along the inside waistband.
These feel like hallmarks of old school, early industrial revolution manufacturing and I really like it. Lastly is WGC’s signature coin pocket, or shall I say coin pockets.
There’s the normal coin pocket, then a mini pocket (a pocketette?) above that, and then a third that occupies some real estate heading back toward the right back pocket. The design is clean and the execution makes these pockets actually functional.
Like all the best details, you won’t notice it straightaway, but once you do it’s all the cooler. Keeping with the unbranded theme, there’s no stitching on the (unlined) back pockets. There are Lap Seams at the seat and inseams, and Chain Stitching at the waistband, hem, out-seams and Lap Seams.
No question, I’m a fan of these jeans. The lighter weight is perfect for warmer weather (no one–not even yours truly–wants to see my legs in shorts), the fit works for me (as it should for most lanky-lanky+ guys), and I appreciate the quirky WGC details.
However, there’s this: on the Web site, WGC founder Maurice Malone (a Detroiter and longtime garmento with roots in urban street wear) offers that his philosophy, “helped me design a clean and simple jean that I felt, does not give the consumer a reason to say no.” That may be the case, but is there enough here to give the consumer a reason to say yes?
You can go the no frills route (tough with what I feel is also a quirky fit) with a pair of Unbranded Denim at more than $50 south, or with a good old reliable pair of A.P.C. New Standards are just about $40 north. Of course, these WGC Grand St. jeans are American made (and available in both a big and tall size for $186). If Made in the U.S.A. matters to you (it does to me), then there’s no sleep ‘til Brooklyn in these solidly made, wildly affordable, instantly comfortable jeans.