Amos Culbertson’s story reads almost like a summary of a novel or a study in the idea of the modern renaissance man. Born in Colorado, he grew up on his family’s organic cotton farm, working the land in between going to school and skateboarding. After getting his BS and Master’s degree in geology, he taught himself to make jeans. And from this last effort came Grease Point Workwear, based in Seattle, where he moved on a whim, after eschewing work with oil companies and the pursuit of a PhD.
We’ve covered a number of One Man Brands, and what comes across in nearly all of the stories is that designing and making clothing was almost an accidental craft, one born of an interest in some other area. In Culbertson’s case, he grew up skating, and his interest in the fashion—and function—of skate culture gave rise to his interest in setting out to marry form and function. He relates, “Skateboarding was all I thought about and part of being a skateboarder was looking like one. I partook in some of the goofy styles in skateboarding, but through almost every era of skate fashion, jeans and pants were the staple.”
Those of us who have ever skated know it wears hard on your clothes, what with the constant movement and the (hopefully occasional) eating of pavement. Add in the time spent wrenching on trucks and other gear, and you definitely need a functional and hard-wearing pants.
Culbertson also spent time working on the farm in true workwear, along with his undergrad and graduate career climbing around on rocks in Colorado, Utah, and Texas. He explains,
“I think what this all amounts to is that I spent a lot of time wearing the kind of clothes that I make now but was continually dissatisfied with the quality, the fit, or the design in one way or another. When I began teaching myself to make jeans, and then eventually starting a clothing company, I continually sought to make the clothes I wanted to wear but didn’t exist.”
Grease Point pants also offer some unique features. The Work Trouser–available in both indigo warp/charcoal weft 12oz. selvedge denim from Nihon Menpu Mills and 11-ounce olive selvedge twill from Cone Mills–features both a reinforced knee panel and a knife pocket.
Culbertson says he likes the aesthetic of the knee panel, but, as we all know, the knee is one of the first areas to see serious wear on a pair of pants, and the reinforcement offers an extra layer to take punishment. It also offers an opportunity for a distinct wear pattern along the seams. The knife pocket was born of pure utility: Culbertson always wanted one on a pair of pants because he found carrying and accessing his knife was difficult with the standard five-pocket.
In addition to the noticeable unique features, Grease Point also avoids all overlock seams, opting instead for felled seams, which is, according to Culbertson, “cleaner, more durable, and better-looking.” Add this to clean-finished outseams and it sums up Culbertson’s view on design: “I certainly believe in the idea that really nice clothes should look good on the inside as well as on the outside.”
He sources most of his raw materials aside from fabric in the US, but he faces the challenge of all small brands when it comes to fabric: he will go with Cone Mills as a first choice if the fabric is available, but the small-yardage options are limited, so he also works with a variety of Japanese fabrics. Thoughtful details like a double-stitched waistband and self-enclosed selvedge fly serve to offer another layer to the craftsmanship.
Citing other one-man brands like Roy Slaper of Roy Denim and Zach Meyers of Zace USA, Culbertson hopes to expand Grease Point while keeping the production in-house, adding a handful of styles to his core offering, the above-mentioned Work Trouser. In his own words, he relates, “The bottom line is that I get a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction out of the whole process of making clothes . . . and the ultimate reward is someone telling me he really likes wearing my stuff. I’m just hoping to go onward.”
Check out Grease Point’s website for more information.