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Year in Review.

Year in Review.
The sun sets on a brutalist building overpass in Berlin.
A golden yellow room with a rug and a stool.

We're not sure why the holidays are especially conducive to self-reflection, but the end of this year has us feeling very grateful for many things. Grateful for our team, our manufacturing partners, our communities & neighborhoods that we work in, our industry friends, our mail carriers who have been working so hard to get our packages to their destinations - the list goes on. We are also very thankful for you. For the support that you showed us this year, but also for the ways that you've encouraged and inspired us and pushed us to do more and do better.

2020 has taught us so much. One lesson that stands out to us is that despite our best intentions to run a business with integrity and honesty, our efforts must match our intent; and moreover, we must continually reevaluate and refocus those efforts. As income gaps widen with frightening speed here in the US, those with less are finding themselves in ever-deepening holes to climb out of. We recognize that it might be weird for a brand that sells $200+ jeans to talk about stuff like this, but it's all around us and we'd be foolish to ignore it. The Bowery Mission is a quick walk around the corner from our NYC flagship store and the amount of New Yorkers they've had to serve since COVID-19 hit has been unthinkable. Friends of ours who've been employed by healthy, thriving businesses prior to the pandemic have had almost everything taken away from them through no fault of their own. We are a brand, yes - but we are citizens of our neighborhoods and our cities, and it hurts to see our neighbors struggle.

This summer's long-overdue reckoning with racial injustice in America is something we will never forget. As individuals, we were forced to confront and re-evaluable our biases and our shortcomings. As a company, we were forced to take a hard look at whether we were doing enough to change the status quo around us. We shared our journeys and our discoveries with you (and caught flak for it), and we also listened to your stories about discrimination, injustice and awakenings. Your comments and emails encouraged us to be bolder in word and deed even though we are just a "clothing company." We recommitted to our financial support towards organizations who are working towards social, economic, racial and educational equity. This year, through your support, we have been able to give to:

No Kid Hungry
Kids in Need of Defense
National Bail Out
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Campaign Zero
PATH Partners
The Marshall Project
The Bowery Mission
Exodus Transitional Community
Communities United for Police Reform

These donations haven't always been easy. Things were (and still are) tight this year; production delays due to global shutdowns at the mill level and factory level affected our ability to deliver seasonal collections on time and rebuild stock levels on our core offerings too. We also remained committed to our team and kept everyone on payroll throughout shutdowns that lasted for months; your 3sixteen Day purchases helped immensely with that. But this year really was like no other. At the current moment, we are working on three collections simultaneously: trying to finish producing FW20, starting production on SS21, and prototyping FW21. That hasn't ever happened to us before. This year has taught us new lessons about staying nimble, pivoting quickly, running lean, and rolling with the hits that seemed to keep on coming. 

One bright side of this year was a new relationship we built with a manufacturing facility in India that has thus far yielded a shirt and bandana in collaboration with Cody Hudson, as well as a Long Sleeve Linen Shirt that was a part of our FW20 collection. We have much to share about this new relationship in the months ahead, but suffice it to say that we are so excited for the opportunities they offer us moving forward. They've also been such a pleasure to work with. We grow close to our manufacturing partners, texting and chatting with them at all hours of the day. Our successes are closely tied together; if we do well, we are able to support their work for another season and if they excel at what they do, we are able to give you the best possible product we can. Building a strong personal and working relationship with this new factory has been a joy.

Another highlight of 2020 for us was the opening of our NY flagship this summer. We never could have imagined what was in store for us when we signed the lease to 190 Elizabeth Street this time last year, but the journey was worthwhile and we were able to open the doors to a space that we are very proud of in the middle of August. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of visiting yet, we got some great press coverage online. Here are some of our favorites:

Put This On
Essential Journal

Those are some of our company-wide reflections on the year, but we wanted to give space for some of our individual team members to do the same. We asked them to talk about about things they've learned, new skills they've acquired, and points of inspiration and growth this year. We hope that you enjoy what they have to share.

From all of us at 3sixteen: thank you for helping to carry us through an unforgettable 2020, and for giving us the chance to do what we do for another year. We are wishing you and your families safety and good health for the new year ahead. 

The white oak archway of the New York store under construction
A man eats a yogurt outside a cafe.

Brandon DaConceicao, Sales

Did you pick up any new hobbies or interests this year?

I started working out more consistently than I ever have. In the past, I relied on soccer and basketball as a way of working out, but I never tried pushing beyond that. 2020 was a year of deep self reflection, which ultimately lead to forcing myself out of my comfort zones. Major shout out to George for motivating me and helping me balance my workouts each week.

Where did you find inspiration?

I found inspiration from all of my 3s crew, stepping up every day to make a difference. This year was presented so many challenges both within the company and facing difficult topics in social change. I’m proud that all of us spoke honestly on this years current events and I feel that through all of the weighty conversations, we became better.

What’s something new you learned in 2020?

In the past, I struggled asking for help. I would be ashamed or embarrassed if I couldn’t handle something on my own. I wanted to change that this year and admit when I needed hand with something, whether it was with work or with things in my personal life. I learned that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness.

A close up look at an MPC beat machine.

George Caingcoy, Operations

Did you pick up any new hobbies or interests this year?

2020 has definitely afforded me the ability to slow down and reflect on myself - spending quality time with close friends and a time of discovery. This included listening to more and more music. From the 3sixteen guys and some of my close friends, I have been introduced to new genres and artists fueling a real interest in DJing. So far, it has been a very humbling experience. Understanding the intricacies of the art and the anatomy of a song has greatly deepened my appreciation of the skill. Like all things, it is and has been a process that I will continue to master. This year has not been perfect, but I am grateful to have had this opportunity and the much needed time to build on myself.

An Apple Watch showing a 4 mile run.

Eric Waggner, Operations

Did you pick up any new hobbies or interests this year? 

Exercise has been an essential part of my daily routine for years. But with the gyms closed in light of the circumstances at large, I have been forced to make some changes around how to get moving. I took up running early on in the pandemic, and though at first I thought that I would hate it, the experience has brought me much joy and satisfaction. The feeling of being able to just up and go is quite freeing. Also, I have taken to running at night, which may seem counterintuitive, however, during the day I tend to fix my sights on objects in the distance that to my mind stand as markers of reprieve. “Once I get to that lamppost, I will take a rest.” At night, being able to see only what is necessary to keep me on my feet, eliminates the involuntary goal setting that can make it difficult to keep a good pace, and allows me to have the kind of freeing experience I think one is meant to have while running.

Favorite album, movie or book?

The essays of D.H. Lawrence have been immeasurably important to me this year. A new collection, The Bad Side of Books, compiles many of Lawrence’s writings, ranging from book reviews, to his deep reflections about the death of a porcupine. But underpinning all of that is Lawrence’s remarkable ability to describe the spirit of a place. He really taps into what it feels like to be somewhere. And nowhere is this more penetrating than in his travel essays. Having not left home in over a year, Lawrence’s essays have offered as vitalizing an experience as one could wish for without actually visiting the place in question.

What’s something new you learned in 2020?

I learned this year that the most vital act I can perform during these times is to maintain friendships with people that I disagree with.

A piece of asian art pinned to a wall.
An exterior photo of Espo's Art World in Brooklyn.

Gabe Del Signore, Retail

Did you pick up any new hobbies or interests this year?

I got heavy into cycling along with a huge amount of other people. I mostly feel dumb for not getting back into it sooner!

Favorite album, movie or book?

Did "Uncut Gems" come out this year? I think it did. That was intense. Maybe too intense in hindsight. Also the new Aesop Rock album "Spirit World Field Guide" has been in constant rotation since it dropped.

Where did you find inspiration?

My former co-workers from the restaurant and live music industry, without a doubt. Watching them handle and adapt to essentially impossible challenges in their professional lives has made me extremely proud.

What’s something new you learned in 2020?

I got sober in 2018, and 2020 has really driven home the importance, comfort, and guidance that has provided me in my life, and I am very grateful for it.

A ceramic vessel on a pedestal.

Wesley Scott, Design

Did you pick up any new hobbies or interests this year?

After wanting to take up ceramics for many years, I finally took the plunge a few months ago and enrolled in classes. I enjoyed them so much I ended up becoming a member at my local studio and now spend about 8-12 hours a week making ceramics. It’s been an incredibly uplifting and positive experience throughout this whirlwind year.

Favorite album, movie or book?

There’s two albums that I’ve really been enjoying recently. The first is "Merit"  by GLOM, our friend Sean Dunnevant's band. Sean also works at Self Edge NY and helped model our Officers Coat earlier this year. I’ve had a lot of friends who play music but I’ve never enjoyed any of their albums as much I have Merit.

The other album is Harold Budd and Robin Guthrie’s new album "Another Flower" which came out just before Harold Budd’s death from COVID19. Harold Budd’s music was pretty much the soundtrack to my year- whether it was his work with Brian Eno, Cocteau Twins, or solo albums - so his death was a sad way to bookend the year, especially only a few days after releasing a new album.

Where did you find inspiration?

I was most inspired by the simple acts of community and kindness I was seeing day to day in NYC. New Yorkers are known for coming together during tough times, but this year was like nothing I’ve ever seen since I’ve lived here. Seeing the community come together this year has been extremely powerful - whether in the fight to end racial injustice, the support for small businesses in their time of need, or even the simple outreach and check in from neighbors. It would also be a disservice not to mention the amazing work that the various mutual aid groups and grass roots organizations across the city have been doing to counteract the brutal effects of COVID on our community. It’s inspired me to find new ways to get more involved.

What’s something new you learned in 2020?

This is a hard one to distill down into something concise because this has been a major year for learning and it’s also been a year of intense self-reflection that’s helped me better understand my own intentions, my goals, and just how privileged I am. I’ve also been able to reassess my real needs and what success and giving back look like. We’ve all been affected by the pandemic and its repercussions but my life has remained relatively unchanged on that grand scale. I’m still employed, I’m healthy, as is my family, and my marriage is better than ever. It’s been a tough and exhausting year but I’ve come to realize how, even in the hardest times and my lowest points, I have, and have had, so much more than so many. In a strange way, I’m not sure these realizations would be the same had I not been in NYC this year and because of that I learned just how much I love New York City.

Two kids sit in a messy room that is under construction.
A loaf of sourdough bread

Andrew Chen

Did you pick up any new hobbies or interests this year?

It's been well documented that lots of people took up bread baking in quarantine this year. The first month that we were all stuck in our homes, flour was sold out everywhere so I couldn't have started even if I wanted to. Towards the end of April, though, a kind lady in my neighborhood offered on Facebook to share sourdough starter with anyone who wanted it. I met up with her and this was back when we thought COVID transmitted easily via touch - she put it on the sidewalk and slowly backed away. I came home and wiped the bag down with Clorox. I still remember it clearly for how ridiculous it was.

Baking bread has been very rewarding because it's a brand new skill with infinite variables to experiment with. I enjoy taking on new hobbies to remind myself of how much work goes into so many of the things we enjoy day to day and often take for granted. My first few loaves were not so great but had enough promise for me to keep at it; I'm now pretty happy with my output, but I've learned that like with most skills in life, consistency is tough. I'll turn out a few good bakes and then brick one. It's a nice way to keep adjusting and improving at something new and unfamiliar.

Favorite album, movie or book?

"Live Drugs," the new live album by The War on Drugs, just came out last month and I've been listening to it a lot. The first time I played it was in the back room of our NY store with Gabe and about two tracks in, I remember looking over at him and saying, "Is it me or is this really, really good" and he replied, "It's really, really good." I'm not sure what it was, but that first listen really had me in my feelings. Maybe it was because I was putting the final touches on a pretty emotional blog post while thinking about a close friend I had lost earlier in the year, or maybe it was because the music was so powerful. I'm not sure. I think some of it had to do with the fact that I hadn't realized how much I loved and missed seeing a band live.

If you haven't heard the album yet, it's masterful. The band recorded countless live shows over the course of 5 years and really cherry picked some of their best performances to compile together into an album that flows together seamlessly - as though you saw them at a show one night when they were at their best for every single track. This year, I was scheduled to see a few bands and due to the pandemic, all their tours were canceled. I know that it's gonna be a minute before we can all be at live shows again, and this album gave me a little reminder of what it'll be like.

What’s something new you learned in 2020?

I started seeing a therapist this year. There were things about me that I didn't like, but I didn't know where to begin in terms of addressing them. Having the chance to speak to someone who is fully disconnected from my life from a personal standpoint, yet is fully invested in helping me see things more clearly, has been a breath of fresh air in a very difficult year. I've learned about where a lot of my insecurities come from and that has helped me to try and frame my words and actions in more productive ways.

A pile of basketball cards.

Johan Lam

Did you pick up any new hobbies or interests this year?

I bought my wife an espresso machine at the end of last year and it has been a Godsend during lockdown. Since then, I’ve been trying my hand at latte art and it is possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to learn in life. A year later, pulling 2-3 drinks a day and I still feel like I’m a complete novice. I’ve gained a lot of respect and admiration for all of my barista friends.

This past month, I’ve also jumped head first back into collecting basketball cards. I found my old collection of sports cards from ’89-’96 and was proud of my young self as to how well organized everything was and how pristine so many of my cards still are. The hobby now is completely insane, with the prices of cards, packs and boxes in a completely different stratosphere than when I was kid saving up lawn mowing money to grab a single pack hoping to pull a Michael Jordan. I’ve already spent an obscene amount of money the past few weeks but it has been a very welcome and needed distraction for me.

Favorite album, movie or book?

I’ve consumed so much content during quarantine that I can barely remember everything. One thing that sticks out that I remember really enjoying was the High Fidelity series with Zoë Kravitz. I couldn’t stomach anything that was too real (i.e. The Handmaid’s Tale) while things were so turbulent in the world and I found myself watching the news too much, so the show ended up being the perfect tone for me at that time.

What’s something new you learned in 2020?

All I need is my family. I don’t need to eat out at nice restaurants, though it would be nice. I don’t need to travel to far off places, though it would be nice. I don’t need to go to a concert or a sporting event or a party, though it would be nice. I just need my family. I need to know they’re healthy and safe and near and I’ll give up everything else if I can ensure that.

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