Denim Unspun, a newcomer to the SFMade community, uses a fun, 3d body scanner and snazzy algorithms to make 100% unique, custom-fit jeans. Founded in 2015, the company stands for inclusivity, sustainability, and efficiency, and it attracts customers who appreciate customized, intentionally-made garments and who support a cleaner, more sensible fashion industry. The fast-growing company currently employs 10 people and expects to add an additional 5 jobs in the next six months.

Denim Unspun believes manufacturing locally is critical to supporting the local economy, “circulating money” back into the community, creating local jobs, and magnifying pride in the City. The company credits SFMade for helping it find a local sewing partner, National Apparel, a long-term San Francisco business that was founded in 1997. From a scan, Denim Unspun creates custom patterns, and National Apparel puts the jeans together, keeping the supply chain very short and local.

SFMade interviewed Denim Unspun’s Co-Founder, Beth Esponnette, in March 2019.

COMPANY FACTSHEET Denim Unspun, Inc SEWING PARTNER FACTSHEET National Apparel, Inc
Full-time employees 10 Full-time employees 11
Part-time employees 3 Part-time employees 9
Founded in 2015 Founded in 1997
Useful links Website, Instagram, Facebook Useful links SFMade Company page
Store info 300 De Haro St #352, SF. Open 10am-5pm M-F

 

Part of the team at Denim Unspun, including Beth Esponnette, Co-Founder, center, wearing a light blue jean jacket.

Linda, Manager at National Apparel.

 

Beth, what is your background, and how did you get the idea for Denim Unspun?
This has been such an inspiring company and project for me because the problems we are trying to solve are so frustrating and the solutions we are creating seem so obvious to me. I have a design background, specifically in the fields of product design and fashion, but with little bits of engineering and science sprinkled in.

It was difficult for me to thrive in the fashion industry because I felt personally and professionally stifled by its current configuration, a result of years and years of supply chain evolution. To me, there has been a challenging mismatch between what we make and what is sold (and even more so with what is used!). We are stuck in a downward spiral of producing clothing en masse and just hoping that someone will want to purchase and use it, because we have come to expect dirt cheap prices for our clothing. Of course, since this process creates so much excess inventory (which is truly just waste) we end up paying more at the end of the day on the price tag, and pay much more when it comes to the health of our suffering planet.

Being able to make clothing for someone when they purchase it ensures products are made intentionally and will be what the customer is looking for.

 

Visit Denim Unspun’s store to get your lower body scanned.

The scans are made into custom patters, then sent to National Apparel and cut into the different pieces that will be sewn into a custom pair of jeans.

 

Can you tell us more about your business in a few facts and numbers?

  • We have 10 employees at Unspun (and are steadily growing). Our team is made up of designers, engineers, operators, and creatives, and we hope to add 5 more people to the roster in the next 6 months.
  • When you scan your body, an avatar made up of 100,000 data points is generated of you.
  • We once sold gift cards for 15 pairs of jeans to one person. Custom-fit jeans for you, custom-fit jeans for you, custom-fit jeans for you…!
  • We made nearly 100 pairs of jeans in January 2019 (a small number but we’re growing fast!)
  • It takes 30 seconds to get to a digital pattern through custom software working around your 3d scan point cloud (which happens at our retail store at 300 De Haro St in SF), and just under 3 weeks to get to final garment by cutting and sewing the pattern from denim (which happens on Market St in SF with our sewing partner).
  • To develop a new style, it takes about a week of development and then about three weeks of testing (if we’re lucky!). We need to try our styles on all sorts of body types before we launch them because no two bodies are alike.

 

Who is your sewing partner?
We found a sewing factory thanks to SFMade: National Apparel, based right here on Market Street! We are developing a great relationship with them, and the Owner Johnny and Manager Linda are a pleasure to work with.

National Apparel started in 1997 and counts 11 full-time and 9 part-time employees today. Most of their employees have been with them for a long time, and we are happy to keep them busy and to participate in the longevity of their business.

 

All the custom patters making a single pair of custom jeans are tied together until they are sewn together

Many sewing machines are used in the process; here, the pockets are sewn by one of National Apparel’s master sewers, Hoi Ming.

 

Who are your main clients today?
We stand for inclusivity, sustainability, and efficiency so we find that we attract a crowd that sees a cleaner, more sensible future for the fashion industry and the way it treats its customers. We also find that the ease of finding fitting jeans has led people to us who would rather spend their time doing other things beyond jeans shopping (read: busy people). We of course also find that anyone who recognizes and wants to celebrate their uniqueness loves getting product made just for them. There are a few ways to purchase custom-fit jeans from Unspun: visit us at 300 De Haro St, Suite 352 to scan and purchase, find us at a pop-up around the bay area to scan and purchase, or visit one of our partner scanners for a body scan and purchase from our website.

 

Denim Unspun’s store at 300 De Haro

 

What should we look forward to from you?
The future is looking up! We have to make changes if we are going to correct the course we’ve set for our planet and people. In the coming years at Unspun, we will launch new manufacturing methods for the clothing industry, because the future is asking for both customization and sustainability, neither of which can be offered by our current clothing industry. We feel very lucky to be in a position where we can flip the norms and offer fresh new viewpoints and opportunities for customers.

 

A group of Unspun jeans waiting to be finished at National Apparel.

 

Why manufacture locally?
So many reasons! I am sure we are preaching to the choir here, but still worth enumerating. To us, and probably to you, local manufacturing is a no-brainer all things considered. We manufacture locally so that we can better understand and appreciate our products, and so our customers can as well. We manufacture locally to support our local community: circulate money back into the people around us and our local economy, deepen and sometimes even revive skill sets, and open up local jobs. We manufacture locally to ensure responsible practices, both socially and environmentally. We manufacture locally to diversify our city and keep making alive despite the recent onslaught of software companies. We manufacture locally to reduce shipping time and more importantly reduce the abhorrent carbon footprint clothing transit leaves on the planet.

 

 

Why did you join SFMade?
We joined for the incredible community! It’s a dream to be included with these go-getters who really love and lift up San Francisco from the bottom up. It is so easy in the frenzy of our current world to overlook the things we use around us. SFMade helps to instill appreciation back into the products we use and rely on every day, and magnify the pride we have for our city. Through SFMade, we want to help merge the tech and local manufacturing industries: more of San Francisco needs to directly benefit from the success of the tech industry. We are a newcomer to SFMade and have already been so impressed with the ambition and wealth of knowledge from the entire SFMade community.

 

~An interview by Pierre @ SFMade. Thank you Beth and Linda!