Carlos Morin owns and operates Scissors & Cloth in downtown San Francisco, where he painstakingly transforms mere fabrics and materials into incredible, beautiful, and wearable pieces. It’s all in the details, and Carlos knows how to do it right. Focusing on sublime customer service in addition to the meticulous handcrafting, a visit with him will ultimately result in a perfectly tailored, perfectly executed, perfect-for-you piece of clothing. And trust us -- you’ll definitely be back for more.
An Interview with Carlos Morin
Please, do tell us a bit about your journey to becoming a meticulously-handcrafting- shirt-making-master.
CM: It’s interesting actually. I used to be an apprentice electrician in Texas…doing construction in the Texas heat. I hated it. I thought electricity was magic because I couldn’t see it and since I couldn’t see it, it didn’t make sense, so I was horrible at it. But I needed a hobby and something to get my mind off of that crappy job. So one Saturday, I was taking a nap and I heard a voice say, “You need to make clothes for people.” So I woke up, put my feet on the floor and decided that’s what I was going to do. I hit up my mom for basic sewing lessons the next day and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since. I quit my job as an electrician, moved to Dallas to attend fashion school, and have been literally following my dream ever since. I’ve had numerous jobs but the entire time, I’ve been working towards this one and only goal. And I’m still not done.
What is the most satisfying detail of a meticulously handcrafted shirt?
CM: A freshly pressed seam. It’s funny to think about, but the second I stitch a seam, I press it with heat. Whether it’s a straight seam or a curved one, the fluidity of an unwavering line really turns me on.
Besides quality, of course, customer satisfaction is a pivotal priority in your business model. How do you find your clients respond to this in our currently antithetical environment?
CM: My clients don’t receive the type of customer service shelled out in other stores. I take my time with my clients and really try to understand their wants and needs. I’m a consumer too -- when I walk into a store and I’m going to spend money in your spot, then I want to be treated accordingly.
I think good customer service is a lost art and I feel a lot of people miss it so I do what I can to bring it back. So far, they love it.
What’s the absolute craziest piece you’ve ever made? Pics or it didn’t happen.
CM: I think one of the crazier pieces that I ever built was a custom-tailored lined hoodie with leather details and a detachable hood. It had a laser engraved leather label inside with my scissors logo burned into the label. It was for one of the founders of a startup. I met this cat while driving for Uber a year ago. I was reppin’ my brand in a similar piece and he was digging it, so he asked what I did. We got to talking and his secretary hit me up a couple weeks later. At our first meeting, we sat for 3 hours going over every detail. I have a white board that I was using to design “highdeas,” so when he saw it he laughed -- he could totally relate. Anyways, I got us a six-pack so we got drunk and just talked design all night. We met three times over the course of three months while going over samples and refining the piece. When he came to pick it up he was stoked and actually asked for the samples, which was funny because the samples are unwearable. He just wanted them to showcase the process it took to get to the final piece.
Would you give us a little insight on your designing and making thought-processes?
CM: I process everything for a while before finally sitting down to build. I’m really into balance and consistency, so a particular piece can’t have too much of one thing and not enough of the other. I really struggle over pieces when it comes to design and how it should be constructed, so that’s why it takes me so long . My design philosophy is combining elements of formal wear with casual elements, resulting in a piece that you can appropriately wear in an office environment and then out to happy hour after work. A lot of people try to do this, but I feel I’ve really captured that look. For instance, take your average red and black lumberjack flannel shirt and formalize it up by adding an English spread collar with angled cuffs. Now you’ve taken that basic casual flannel shirt, combine it with formal elements, ie, the collar and cuffs, and you’ve got a piece that’s unlike any other flannel you’ve seen. Or perhaps I’ll take a formal weave such as a houndstooth or herringbone fabric and build it in a casual manner, adding topstitching everywhere and pockets on top, a button down collar, and now you have a piece made from a formal fabric, but the casual elements make it a really interesting piece. I feel that I’ve been able to do this very well.
And... just for fun: A) How long have you been growing that beautiful beard? B) Any beard care tips for the stylish, contemporary man?
CM: HA! I’ve had it for eight-and-a-half years. It’s just like anything else on your body… you need to take care of it. I use various oils, from coconut oil to jojoba oil, grapeseed oil and even olive oil. There are plenty of beard oils you can purchase that contain all these ingredients but since I live with 3 girls, there are endless hair-care products sitting around. I always shampoo and condition it in the shower and when I’m done, I rub coconut oil throughout to include my beard, hair and then my skin. I love the way it feels and smells and it makes my hair silky smooth. The ladies love it too, and the oil keeps my skin looking young.
CM: Although one time, I was in a hurry at Trader Joe’s picking up a bottle of olive oil for both cooking and my beard. Instead I grabbed a bottle of GARLIC olive oil unknowingly... and smelled horrible all day. Taught me to slow down a bit and pay closer attention.
All images are used with permission by Carlos, from the Scissors & Cloth Instagram page.