Maurice Malone is a Detroit native who knows a thing or two about making a good pair of jeans. Maurice is the founder of Williamsburg Garment Company, a denim line that uses raw indigo denim to create the Brooklyn inspired collection (fits are named after Streets and Avenues in Williamsburg). When WGC launched in 2011, the denim was manufactured abroad. However, Maurice has recently started to shift production back to the U.S. with a style called “Hope Street,” which is completely sourced and manufactured domestically. His decision to begin producing here has led Maurice to phase out imported jeans, and starting in 2014, all styles will be manufactured in America.
Maurice has had experience in the industry for over 20 years, and with that of course comes many learning curves and adjustments to get him to where he is today. In 1991, Maurice launched his first denim line called “Mojeans” which was geared towards the hip-hop market. Inspired to take his line to the next level, he moved to NYC in 1995 and began working jobs in the fashion industry: staging runway shows for NY Fashion Week, working on partnerships with eyewear companies, and launching his own consulting company for new upcoming fashion designers. His latest venture, the Williamsburg Garment Company, has brought him full circle with the added promise to sell quality jeans at a reasonable price.
Below is our interview with Maurice where he gives advice for new designers and his efforts to bring manufacturing back to America:
If you were to give one piece of advice to a new designer producing in the US, what would it be?
I often advise new designers to take it slow at the beginning, producing only what they can afford to produce within their own budget. Starting with one hit item can quickly grow into a full collection. Trying to start with a large collection can result in never getting started at all, or put a designer in the position of needing financial assistance.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome since creating your brand?
Since the beginning until today, the two biggest challenges remain managing time and money. There’s never enough of either to complete each day’s task in the manner that I’d like. I spend money to save time, while spending more time to save money. The biggest challenge is finding the right balance between both to achieve more with less.
Do you manufacture in Williamsburg?
We manufacture our Made in USA denim in downtown LA and source the fabric from North Carolina. Our goal is to open our own factory here in Williamsburg in the near future.
Where do you look to for inspiration?
I dream of the days when I use to surf the web, go shopping, read books, magazines and travel for inspiration. Luckily, I can find inspiration in everything around me because I don’t have that kind of time anymore. Being in Williamsburg helps me cover a lot of the people watching I still do for inspiration.
Describe WGC in 3 words.
Quality, Intelligently Priced.
What’s your favorite spot in Brooklyn?
I have to say Williamsburg of course. I love it so much I named my brand after it. My favorite thing to do is discover new places in the neighborhood.
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