There are few things I love more than one man brands. One of the most appealing aspects of the heritage menswear world to me is the love and energy that passionate people put into the clothing that they make and to my mind, nothing exemplifies this more than a good one man brand. As such, I am always on the hunt for new solo makers.
During one of the many opinionated, informative discussions between myself and my friend Rob, AKA @raw.denim.ocd, we discussed jeans that had a high number of unique features. Rob spoke very highly of Grease Point Workwear, a brand I had known very little about beforehand, but my interest had been piqued and it was not long afterward that I ordered my first pair of jeans from them.
Grease Point Workwear is a one man outfit by Amos Culbertson and is unique in that it does not operate year round. During part of the year (around fall-spring), Amos makes jeans, chinos, shirts, and jackets and during the other part (summer overlapping into spring and fall), he works on his family’s farm. However, during the time that he does make jeans, Mr. Culbertson makes some impressive gear.
On his website, Amos says that he “makes clothing with work in mind” and this very clearly shows. One man brand products not only need to be extremely well made, but must also be unique in order to truly set themselves apart from other small brands and from larger work wear companies with more marketing ability. Fortunately, Grease Point has this in spades. From what I can see and have experienced, the main feature of this brand is durability. Sure, being American made and sourcing many US parts is important. It is certainly impressive how detailed the brand gets about specifying exactly where the materials are sourced from, but a look at the features of these jeans shows just how much durability plays a role.
Most obviously, all the bottoms in the GPWW range come with double fronts as standard. Personally, I am not partial to the aesthetics of double front trousers, but one welcomed aspect of ordering from a one man brand is that you can make some custom specifications and I was thankfully able to order my work jeans sans double front. Even with this feature eliminated, these jeans are still built to last more than any other jeans I have owned or even seen online. These features include:
- Triple stitched, hand-felled seams
- All seems are felled, including the seat, inseam, etc
- Back pockets cut on selvage and lined with 12oz canvas
- Unique, turn-of-the-century inspired front pockets
- Selvage fly
- Double thick, single needle belt loops
- 14.5oz dark olive sanforized denim from Kaihara Mills
- 12oz caramel canvas pocket bags from Mt. Vernon Mills in Georgia
- Sewn with tex 80 poly thread (considered quite heavy) from A&E in North Carolina
- Raw copper rivets and tack buttons from YKK in Kentucky
- Very thick USA sourced veg tan leather patch
- Knife pocket on right leg
- External rivets
In complete contrast to my beloved Conner’s Sewing Factory jeans, these are all about practicality rather than vintage detailing. The thread is one color and one size and none of the seams are overlocked stitched. This is not a subtle approach, but I love it. The expose back pocket rivets, the double thick belt loops, 12oz canvas pocket bags and rear pocket lining, and the thick leather patch make these some seriously tough jeans.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of these jeans is that it feels as though every aspect was thought of in terms of durability. I have always wondered why more Japanese companies do not fell their inseams and why American brands don’t fell other seams. Amos has thought of everything. Even the front pockets are felled and everything is selvedge. The outseam, the coin pocket, the fly, and even the rear pockets all have the selvedge line. As a result of all these durable details, these work jeans feel incredibly substantial.
The denim itself does have something to do with this. It is a 14.5oz dark olive sanforized denim from Kaihara Mills in Japan and while I don’t buy sanforized indigo jeans, I am perfectly OK with sanforization in this situation. Firstly, colored denims are rarely available unsanforized. Secondly, from a functionality point of view, it makes more sense and these jeans are certainly functional. This fabric is quite crisp and rigid, even after several wears. It is not uncomfortable, but it feels tough and seems heavier than it is.
The color is what is most unique, however. Not quite olive, not quite green, not quite grey, this fabric has a very cold, almost steel-like appearance. While this is not something I would generally go for, it feels like a breath of fresh air in my very warmly-colored wardrobe. For those who do not like this color, Grease Point does offer quite a few other fabrics. Keep in mind though that they are all substantial fabrics and appear to all be chosen to be worked in.
That theme of work continues in terms of practicality. The details aimed at longevity were what initially drew me in with these trousers, but after wearing them, the practical details are what I am enjoying most on a day to day basis and have everything to do with the pockets. The front pockets are cut in a unique way that is not only beautiful to look at, but also extremely easy to use. In my experience, the majority of raw denim jeans have horrendously impractical front pockets that are impossible to utilize. This is somewhat forgivable on repro jeans, but considering that most jeans do not fit in this category, it annoys me that more companies do not do a better job with this.
Grease Point Workwear on the other hand, has a nicely slanted front pocket design that opens up easily and perhaps more importantly, is supported by a cavernous pocket bag that easily holds my Google Pixel XL with room for a flip phone on top if I am feeling all the wrong kinds of nostalgia. This means that I can actually sit down comfortably with my phone in my front pocket.
What’s more, the coin pocket is angled and unlike most “coin” pockets, actually opens up so you can use it to put things like coins in and then be able to take them out instead of forcing them inside and then losing them forever like you do in most jeans. While not large enough to completely engulf my phone, the rear pockets nearly cover it, but are also very easy to open and access and are quite large horizontally. The knife pocket is nice to have, but with California being paranoid about anything that isn’t a spork, I have actually found an even better use for it- stuffing useless receipts inside of it so they don’t crowd the actual important items in my pockets.
Comfort and practicality continue with the fit. This is not a classic fit, but nor is it slim so I am quite happy and the measurements for my size 34 pair are as follows:
Front Rise: 12.75”
Back Rise: 16.25”
Leg Opening: 8.25” listed, 8.7” on mine
Hem: 30” (on my pair)
The rise is fairly high, the thighs are generous, and the legs are what I would call a modern slim/straight fit with a slight taper, especially on my pair where the hem is obviously wider than listed thanks to the shortened length. What results is a quite comfortable fit that I think fits well into my style while still being a slimmer variation of what I usually go for.
In keeping with the themes I keep repeating like the lyrics in a Rage Against the Machine song,* the construction is straightforward and practical. The sewing is not quite at the same density, straightness, and level of beauty that Roy and Ooe Yofukuten have attained. There are some areas where the stitching is not perfectly straight and doesn’t look wonderfully clean, but none of it is actually wonky at all. There are no true mistakes and nothing that would compromise durability in any way. For denim, this is actually quite good. The fact that these jeans have no loose threads anywhere and the pocket bags have probably the straightest stitching of any pocket bags that I have means that these are solid jeans.
These jeans from Grease Point Workwear ended up impressing me even more than I thought they would. With a unique fabric, practical pocket details, a fantastic cut, solid construction quality, and seminal durability details, Amos Culbertson has a real winner here as the people who own his jeans already know. There really are no big flaws from where I am standing. The only issues that I can see are people possibly not liking the cut if they want either a truly retro fit or a skinny fit and the fact that the details and denims are so geared toward practicality. Basically, unless you are either a streetwear raw denim fan, someone who needs sikk fadez, or are even more vintage oriented than me and must have classic, period correct details, you would probably like these, especially when keeping in mind that you can order them without the double front.
In terms of comparing Amos with the other one man brands, I have to say he does have his own niche as do all of the other brands that I have reviewed so far, with his being durable, practical workwear- something none of the other one man brands are going for. As stated before, the stitching is not as existential crisis-inducing as the work of Roy Slaper or Hiroko Ooe. Still, it’s still fantastic and more impressive in some areas than many of the most revered brands (seriously, how is it that a dude who spends a third of the year farming sews pocket bags better than all the high end Japanese brands that I’ve experienced?). Although the fabrics and details may not be for everyone, this is another one man brand that I highly recommend at least checking out.
Grease Point Workwear Website:
*I know that repetition is part of the point of Rage lyrics, but that doesn’t stop it from being more annoying than meaningful. They’re excellent musicians, though.