Clinton James Topley is a bona fide denim enthusiast. His career with DENHAM dates back to 2011, when he began working as a sales assistant in London. He since relocated to Amsterdam, where he heads up the men’s denim bar and Service Co. Here, he shares insight into his role as a denim repair artist.
Name: Clinton James Topley
Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Number of years working at DENHAM?
In your words, what’s the concept of the Service Co?
It’s customer service on steroids. It’s very practical — not a gimmick or a sales tool. It’s something the customer can respect and appreciate as soon as they walk in the store. You get the feeling that we’re hands-on; it’s the visual signature of the brand, without speaking about it.
How did you become involved with the Service Co.?
I am a hands-on guy, and like working directly with the product and machinery. The Service Co. is what set DENHAM apart for me.
What do you like about your job?
It’s never the same day twice!
What type of equipment do you use?
Not many companies give their staff the types of the sewing machines that I get to use here. We have a Singer darning machine 153B1, a Union Special (mainly for raw and colour block denim) and a Durkopp sewing machine (great for stitching patches and hems).
What’s the most challenging repair you’ve ever done?
The first repair I ever did, which was a women’s jacket that she always wore with a bag carried over her shoulder. The fabric was totally worn out, so I took it home and worked on it for three days — all repaired by hand.
Do you have a repair specialty?
I think I’ve spent the most hours on the Singer 153B1 sewing machine. I try to bring “The truth is in the details” to the repair shop.
What’s your best Service Co. memory?
My first tour of Asia on a Service Co. road show. We went for a week and did pop-up Service Cos at different Lane Crawford stores in Hong Kong.
What’s the most unique service request you’ve ever received?
A customer had had an accident, and the medics needed to cut his jeans off. They were only two weeks old and hardly worn, so I resealed the denim from the top to the bottom.
What’s your favourite pair of jeans?
Have you ever had a jean that was so worn-in you couldn’t repair it?
A few times. I try to never turn people away, but sometimes when a jean is dead, it’s dead. I’ve never turned a rigid jean away, but sometimes with stretch you aren’t able to repair it anymore.
Photos courtesy Iris Duvekot.