His first denim memory is about a gift received in 1982: his uncle brought to him a length of denim fabric, and he brought it to a local taylor, that made a pair of jeans for him: “It was my first ever pair of jeans, and I wore it for two years or so”. From that moment on, Han Ates’ passion for manufacture was born. Blackhorse Lane Ateliers manufacture their ready-to-wear line of selvedge & organic raw denim jeans, putting quality first, using a mix of tayloring innovation and heritage construction. The brand also works in a way that is totally open to the public: in fact every local person can step into the ateliers and see everything that is going on.
On one of our trips to London we met with Han, the generous and community minded man who opened his factory doors to us and showed us around.
So Han, why did we take your portrait right here?
We chose to shoot the portrait at our atelier, as it is the beating heart of our brand.
Community is one of the keywords that best defines the brand. Han and his team firmly believe in growing the maker community in Walthamstow, London. They employ local machinists and offer shared ownership to each employee. Furthermore, their atelier houses craftpersons are working in artwork restoration, fashion design, weaving and even a pop-up restaurant.
What do you love about your job?
I guess, creating jeans that I know will last a long time. Offering a free repair for life guarantee shows that we have integrity in everything we do.
We want people to buy less and buy responsibly. We want to create a movement where people think twice before they buy clothing. They would buy clothes that last longer, that are seasonless, and that are made better.
Why did you pick this particular denim outfit for your portrait?
My E17 chore coat and E8 jeans are my daily outfit. I’ve worn them both daily since the start of Blackhorse Lane. They’re now hanging up in the shop window for others to see.
What is your relationship with denim, how often do you wear it and why?
I wear denim every day. The most practical garments are made of denim. It works regardless of your style. Denim takes me back to different memories that were made while wearing the garment. This makes the article of clothing special to me, and I couldn’t imagine parting with it.
Another belief that strongly defines Blackhorse Lane Ateliers is eco-consciousness. The brand, during its production process, tries to minimize the environmental impact of making denim garments by using organic cotton and denim woven by ISKO Mills, and it doesn’t stop here. The Blackhorse Lane Ateliers in fact offer also a lifetime repair policy: with this conscious (and convenient) practice they can give new life to their customers’ favourite jeans, and at the same time discourage fast fashion.