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Made In Detroit Blue Jeans

March 21 2013 | no comments

The Motor City is becoming a manufacturing home for some specialty denim.

With the exception of a few places, the apparel industry has largely left the United States.

But on the second floor of a former letter graphics printing company in Corktown, Eric Yelsma is at work.

He’s the founder of Detroit Denim Company–and he makes hand cut, handcrafted blue jeans.

“Not everyone wants it but some people really want it, and really appreciate it,” Yelsma told Detroit 2020.

It takes over 20 pieces and roughly three hours to make a pair of these jeans—which depending on wear—can last for years.

“This is raw denim, unwashed, there’s no treatments or distressing involved in it, so, you put ‘em on, they’re tight, they’re stiff, I wouldn’t say they’re uncomfortable, but you know you have a new pair of jeans on,” Yelsma said.

Hand made jeans—made in Detroit. And the materials—all come from the U.S.

“From the denim, the thread, the hardware, everything that goes into these jeans has been sourced in the U.S. In the 60s, 90 percent of all of our apparel was U.S. made and not it’s less than 3 percent.”

Making jeans started out as a hobby—but when Yelsma lost his job as a salesman for a chemical company—he decided to follow his passion.

“If I never did it I would regret that but if I did it and failed miserably, I’d be totally content or happy with the fact of actually doing it or trying it.”

His goal for 2013 is to produce 100 pair of jeans a month. That’s a small number now it figures to grow with planned but planned distribution in cities like Chicago, New York and San Francisco. This is not a race, this is not about cranking them out as fast as you can. It’s about doing them as best as can be done. That’s the goal.”

Detroit Denim jeans are available at:

Detroit Mercantile at Eastern Market

City Bird in Midtown and

Caruso & Caruso in Birmingham.

Click here to go to the Detroit Denim Co. website.


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