ColumnEver since the art of American blue jeans sprang up in San Francisco during the gold rush of 1849, blue jeans have stood as a solid symbol of American contemporary style, freedom, and quality. This week’s On Trend features 8 of the absolute best made in America blue jeans companies. Each brand has its own special characteristic, but they all embody domestic manufacturing and quality that lasts.
1. Tellason, San Francisco, California — Menswear
Designed and produced in the birthplace of American blue jeans, San Francisco, Tellason jeans are American made to the core — 99.9 percent of all denim used is from the White Oak Cone Denim mill in Greensboro, NC, pocketing is sourced from Tennessee, threading from North Carolina, and leather goods from Oregon, using all Northwest sourced vegetable tanned leather. “We’ve become friends with our suppliers and feel it is the right thing to do to support them and their businesses as we build our products,” says Tellason co-founders, Tony Patella and Pete Searson.
2. Baldwin Denim, Leawood, Kansas — Womenswear and Menswear
Founded on modern design, quality textiles, and American manufacturing, Baldwin is a hip lifestyle brand producing the best quality jeans for men and women. “Baldwin’s growth has been fueled by its approachability, functional design, attention to detail, and inclusiveness,” says Baldwin. Their deliberate execution throughout all steps of the making process is as foundational to their brand’s signature today as when the label was founded in 2009.
3. Rising Sun, Pasadena, California — Menswear
Take a trip inside the Rising Sun headquarters in Pasadena, CA, and it’s as if you’ve stepped back in time: Rising Sun prides themselves in using period antique sewing machines for manufacturing all their goods. The entire pant is stitched with the same machine — a single needle stitch that dates back 80 years! Using all American made fabrics, founder Mike Hodis, former creative director of Lucky Brand, was recently named The Hardest Working Jeans Maker in America
4. The Stronghold, Los Angeles, California — Menswear
First established in 1895, Stronghold was the first brand ever to manufacture denim in Los Angeles. In 2004, Michael Paradise and Michael Cassell reopened the label after it had been shut down for nearly fifty years. The duo kept the authentic backbone, but added on a modern contemporary feel.
5. Left Field, Queens, New York — Womenswear and Menswear
Cut and sewn in the Garment Center, Left Field is a company with a hard edge for denim that lasts. “Although the brand has been through many phases over the years, making quality, American clothing that our grandfathers would be proud of has always been my number one concern,” says Christian McCann, founder of Left Field.
6. Raleigh Denim, Raleigh, North Carolina — Womenswear and Menswear
Perhaps one of the hottest made in America jeans right now, Raleigh Denim uses “old school methods and modern fit.” Husband and wife team, Sarah and Victor Lytvinenko, design, develop, source, and create their jeans by hand using a small and dedicated staff in their Raleigh workshop. Recently accepted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Raleigh Denim + Workshop symbolizes the craft of American jeans production.
photography by Sully Sullivan
7. Ruell and Ray, Blacksburg, Virginia — Menswear
Using high-quality deadstock denim from around the world, Ruell and Ray manufacture’s jeans that are “one of a kind… forever.” All threads, buttons, and work labor are sourced from within America, and founder Ashley James inspects and stamps each pair of jeans herself before they reach the consumer.
8. Imogene + Willie, Nashville, Tennessee — Womenswear and Menswear
Imogene + Willie started making jeans in an old gas station, which still stands as their headquarters today. Rising demand for their goods have pushed some production out of their tiny space, but they support a dying denim industry in America’s south by keeping production within the region. Imogene + Willie’s specialty lies in the cut and immaculate fit of the jeans.
Related on Ecosalon