Name: Mohsin Sajid
Daily work: Denim designer, Denim consultant & Denim lecturer
Who are you and what are you doing within the (denim) industry?
I'm Mohsin, I'm a denim designer. I have worked in the denim industry for 20 years. I started my career working for Levi's Japan and worked and consulted for many denim brands since from Evisu, Edwin, VF Timberland, Vivian Westwood, Jill Sander, Pringle and many of the high street brands too, only really doing denim and workwear.
I'm most known for my denim brand and consultancy called ENDRIME®, which I run alongside my wife Sadia Rafique. The last 10 years we have been consulting for many denim mills and fibre producers, helping with storytelling and custom designed collections, but mostly creating marketing collections and developing fabrics and directing over 20 fashion videos.
Some of the highlight last few years have been working for TENCEL™, CONE DENIM®, Kaihara, US Denim, Kassim, AGI Denim, AFM and Naveena Denim, Artistic Milliners and thankfully many more.
I am also a denim lecturer for the past 15 years and spend my winter months teaching on many industries denim projects with many of the best British universities from Central St Martins, London College of fashion, Ravensbourne and Westminster. And I'm organizer and host of Transformers Foundation educational series called Transformers ED - Geared to students of fashion who are still studying, which I have been involved with since 2019.
I'm also developing a master's and PhD course in denim, together with the Royal College of Art, hopefully should be up and running in 2023.
What are you currently working on?
I'm currently consulting for TENCEL™ and CARVED IN BLUE® / Blue Lenz Video projects. Each year we design concept collections, and help on all marketing projects on social, including pod casts, and video editing. We also work for Cone Denim and Transformers foundation. I'm also currently writing 2 books on, one on historical denim manufacturing and another about our ENDRIME® archive, which we have over 2000 vintage pieces…I have shoot 200 pieces so far…so I am excited about finally editing that book over X-Mas.
What is the biggest achievement so far in your career?
Being one of the 1st denim designers to use laser finishing in 2002 for Levi's Japan.
Being one of the 1st denim designers to be transparent, I have alway listed where my fabric and components come from going back as 2011… (many people including my business partner said I was mad for sharing so much information) I have always listed my fabrics and even the machines I have used in my styles, I also share patterns…
I'm most proud of teachings 100s of fashion students each year these past 18 years, many of which have gone one to amazing jobs.
I'm most proud that I have created an inspiring denim studio with over 2000 vintage garments and well over 25 vintage automated sewing machines, which means I can create a fully period correct garments all in West Sussex surrounded by nature.
What is/are your favorite denim brand(s), and why?
There's a Japanese brand called Warehouse which I love, founded by twin brothers Kenichi and Kenji Shiotani in Osaka, the duo previously worked under Mr. Yamane at Evisu, but pretty much all the brands I like are no more really, brands like Sweet Orr or Boss of the Road…so much creatively happened in the earlier period of denim manufacturing from 1873 ~1900.
I also enjoy the collections Levi's Vintage Clothing - LVC produces every year and the look books they make. There’s another two Japanese brand I love, one called Kapital and another called John Bull / polar opposites, from extreme creatively and tailoring. Every time I visit japan, I try and buy pieces from both.
What is your favorite denim store, and why?
In Europe, Son of a Stag in East London for sure. The owners Rudy and Linda have become good friends. There main shop is just amazing, every inch is covered in rare brands from Japan, USA and sewing machines. Besides myself, they also have the largest collection of vintage denim banners in Europe. They're one of the 1st stores that had a Union Special hemming machine in the shop, way before anyone knew what they were. They are authentic as they come…I've even traveled round Japan and China with Rudy, one way to get to know someone fast...
What do you think we can expect in the (near) future of denim developments as it comes to sustainability?
Less polyester, less petro chemicals, less virgin cotton, more Hemp, Tencel fibre, more laser and ozone finishing, more bacterial based dye solutions, more dupe dyed solutions (using 99% less water)…and more recycled cotton used in fast fashion.
More and more designers are waking up to the fact we should designing better with less waste. I've personally seen a number of designers explore doing zero waste collections, ( I just completed a zero-waste collection for Cone Denim called “Nothing Goes to Waste”– which was 99% zero waste. But, for sure we can all do our part by using less polyester, less petro chemicals, and safer plant-based dyes, these are things we can push for.
What's hard is polyester, petro chemicals, these components are cheap, so its going to most likely take a generation or two to move away from them. The previous two generations didn’t even care how we made or washed product, they didn’t care about the workers or the environments these garments were made in, it will take another two generations to fix it or more.
What is the most valuable lesson your have learned during your work?
To try and understand every process, and how long things takes. I'm a designer who likes to do everything; from designing, pattern cutting, sewing, filming, and presenting, but I have realized, it sometimes better to collaborate, and not to spread yourself out too thin.
If you could be someone else for one day, who would you be, and why?
I would love to go on an archaeological dig and dig up a few old relics. I also enjoy the history of art and would like to find out provenance of an old painting, or discover an old master…
Can you describe your ultimate pair of jeans?
Unsanforized, Northrop loom state selvedge, natural indigo bacteria dyed warp jean with ecru ID line, made from a TENCEL™ and hemp blend warp and weft, not using cotton at all, with a linen tex 60 ecru stitching throughout with a vegan Hemp canvas patch dyed with plant-based dye.
Do you have a life slogan, or one that inspires you?
Make mistakes with other people's money. (This is what I tell young students, so they don’t jump into making their brand straight after university).