Red Cotton Denim - where does one start? Does one talk about a fearless founder who is pure in craft, product and motive? Does one talk about a philosophy that is drenched in the pursuit of perfection but is not blinded by it? Does one just focus on the product's quality, humility and the fact that you want this brand to win over and above many others? Well, guess what? There is no need for all of that - the below interview with Camillo Love (Founder/Creator of Red Cotton Denim) covers it all. The pleasure was definitely ours!
See the captivating and inspiring interaction below and enjoy the plethora of images that we blessed you with.
"It is important not to get caught up in the marketing pitch. It is important to know the people behind the brand ..."
Please tell us a little about yourself – your childhood, siblings, where you grew up, what you liked as a child, strange thoughts as a child/now, career, unique attributes, where you live now, etc.?
I was born in Oakland, CA on a naval base that is now closed. I moved to Berkeley, CA when I was 8 years old. I have one sibling, a younger sister. As a child I liked sports like any other boy.
One of the strangest thoughts I remember is wanting to be a filmmaker. I still enjoy movies and envy any person whose career is creating unique worlds on the big screen for all to see. Recently I watched Kill Bill and thought how cool it would be to be able to create such an amazing visual story. Maybe someday I will do something similar with my own denim commercials and photo shoots.
From time to time, I remember that I always wanted to do something big in life. My strange thoughts now are that I want to create a large denim brand. I also would like to use social media as a platform to help inform people about how small businesses are created. My unique attributes are that I make the clothes myself and have a strong desire to learn every aspect of making clothes. I recently moved from Oakland, CA to DTLA (Downtown L.A.). The Bay Area is a great place to create a fashion line but DTLA is where clothes are being made. I am surrounded by clothing manufacturing.
Tell us about Red Cotton Denim and what makes your product unique?
Red Cotton Denim is a denim line I started by myself several years ago. It started with one sewing machine in my living room. I was ignorant enough to think that it would be easy. When I decided that giving up wasn't an option, it opened up the doors to learning every aspect of fashion and business.
I am only just beginning to scratch the surface. Red Cotton Denim is unique because the product only touches two hands - mine and the customer’s. I know every customer’s first and last name. I know where they are from and what size they are. In most cases I have interacted with them directly via email.
Where does the name “Red Cotton Denim” come from?
The name Red Cotton Denim comes from passion. Red is associated with being strong, passionate, and powerful. Cotton is the beginning - the finished product is denim. Red Cotton Denim – “Passionate from Beginning to the End”.
How does your Navy background help you in the world of denim/fashion?
My Naval background helps me because it taught me how to work hard. In the Navy we worked 12 hours days. I learned how to put in long hours. There are times when I am sewing for 10 or 12 hours and it seems very normal to me.
I also learned how ships worked because as an engineer on an aircraft carrier, I was immersed in how a ship is powered and how it glides across the ocean. We learned everything by doing; everything was hands-on. This made it easier for me to understand how clothes are constructed, and gave me the fundamental understanding of how different industrial sewing machines function.
On your website, you talk about two integral ‘guys’ to your denim career: one (a sailor) who knew and explained everything about denim manufacturing, and another who was making jeans from start to finish – could you elaborate on these guys?
The first guy - the sailor, runs a denim manufacturing company in San Francisco. He was the first person I met on my denim line creation quest. When we found out that we were both in the Navy, he became very open and instrumental in getting me started. He took the time to show me everything I needed to start making jeans. I am not sure whether he knew this but because of our conversations I felt capable.
The second guy was an individual who was dedicated to perfecting his craft. When I think about how good this dude is at making clothes, I end up questioning my abilities. When I see his work, it reminds me of how much more work/time it's going to take to get better at this. He is very meticulous and pays great attention to detail.
Do you only make denim for men?
At the current time I make jeans for only men. I want to focus on building a good denim line for men before making jeans for woman. I do have future plans to make jeans for women.
What product varieties do you offer and what are your price points?
I offer a slim straight, which is very popular; a slim tapered and will soon release and athletic fit. My price point is $125 at the moment. I feel like there is a large market for men that want premium handcrafted denim at a price point that will not be too expensive. Personally, I don’t have a ton of money to spend on clothes - most of money is spent reinvesting in my denim line. So, it only makes sense to sell my product at a price I myself would be willing to pay for jeans. If I'm lucky enough to strike it rich one day maybe that feeling might change.
How does Red Cotton Denim’s bespoke service work?
I have some clients that I create custom jeans for. Naturally, they have to be local. I need to be able to see the client in person, measure them, and discuss what they are looking for in a good fitting jean. Sometimes I get emails from potential customers that have some special requests - for example, they need a waist size or a length that is not offered on the website. In most cases I can accommodate.
From your perspective, what is important to consider when purchasing a pair of jeans?
It is important not to get caught up in the marketing pitch. It is important to know the people behind the brand. You have to distinguish between who is actually making great jeans for their customer and those that are only focusing on sales. Some designers are very passionate about the process of making denim -if they are not cutting it and sewing it themselves, they are very involved with the process of making the jeans with the factory and they are using the best manufactures and the best materials. These are the brands you want to purchase from. Please research the brands you patronize.
What is your philosophy in life? What things (tangible or intangible) do you believe define a man?
You only have one opportunity at this life. You might as well do something worthwhile or at least try. There are no second chances at life. Make it special because when it's over, it's over!
What defines a man to me is doing everything to take care of himself and his responsibilities even if you are sometimes failing. I believe wanting the best and trying to be the best, is good enough. Nothing in life is perfect. So expect imperfection. But, try to do your best.
Are your products carried at any retail stores? How can people get a hold of your products?
No, my products are not carried in retail stores. I plan to do special collaborations with small store owners in the future. People can only buy my jeans from my website. By selling direct I have a one on one relationship with my customer. I can also keep the cost of the jeans lower this way. No matter how big this becomes, I still want that aspect to stay small, meaning, I want to always maintain that intimate interaction with my customers.
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