Denim is a daily staple in closets all across America. It’s simple, versatile and built to stand the test of time. For many of our readers it also serves as a much needed anchor in their quest for a minimalist wardrobe. As with many other clothing items we wear each day though, there’s a dark side to denim. Everyday manufacturers compete for rock bottom prices through forced labor and thoughtless environmental practice.
There are a number of ethical denim brands from around the world that have actively fought back against this trend with thoughtful production and labor practices. Here in the USA this search for ethics and transparency has lead to a new wave of American Made Denim.
Purveyors of American Made Jeans don’t just get our attention for their transparency and local commitment, they also live up to an unmistakable tradition of durability and style. There aren’t very many things that feel more American then denim made right here in the USA. These 10 brands are setting their industry straight on ethics and making us feel downright patriotic in the process.
Since its 2009 brand launch, Baldwin Denim has made a distinct impression on the fashion world with both their men's and women’s designs. Husband and wife duo, Matt and Emily Baldwin, have earned top marks from GQ and Vogue and their designs have become regular staples for JZ, Ellen Degeneres and Jason Sudeikis. While Baldwin sources top of the line Japanese raw materials, its design and construction are a collaboration between teams in Kansas City and Los Angeles. Baldwin's quality, ethics and style make it a regular staple of the team here at The Good Trade.
Men's and Women's Starting at $198
Buck Mason was founded by Erik Schnakenberg and Sasha Koehn with the ideals of American Made quality at its heart. Their selvage denim is sourced from mills in North Carolina and their style ignores fashion trends while doubling down on timeless design and durability. What we love about Buck Mason’s designs is the simplicity. Their denim is made on a shuttle loom which gives the denim a weight and durability that sets it apart. After the raw materials are created the product is constructed in LA where the details are set in order. Buck Mason’s quality sourcing and manufacturing are all standout and for that they get our vote as one of the best American Made denim choices on the market.
Men's Denim Starting at $135
Imogene + Willie
Imogene + Willie was born in the back of a Nashville gas station with a distinct brand of craftsman grit. After spending years in a family denim business, Matt and Carrie Eddmenson created the shop in hopes that it would one day become a destination for like minded seekers of quality American Made apparel. Today the American Made brand hasn’t lost a bit of its stubborn passion and now has an army of followers that swear by the quality and aesthetic of the brand. I+W stands out for it’s personal approach to denim and for never losing sight of the little things. You can visit their store in Nashville or Portland or browse their selection online.
Men's Starting at $235, Women’s Starting at $195
Left Field Denim
Left Field Denim doesn’t make dad jeans. They make something way cooler. Denim your grandpa would be proud of. The NYC based shop was started from an apartment in Brooklyn in 1998 and today has a distinct line of denim meant to stand up to the test of time. The designs get top marks for durability and an aesthetic that somehow blends a heart of America patriotism with the street grit of Brooklyn.
Men's Starting at $190
Taylor Stitch boasts a completely American Made supply chain for every pair of the denim it sells. Each design is hand sewn in California with fabric sourced from Greensboro, North Carolina, hardware from Lawrenceburg Kentucky and leather from Curwnesville, Pennsylvania. Their handmade approach means that Taylor Stitch brings an almost nostalgic personal touch to it’s designs and even offers one of a kind test products to customers who shop “The Workshop”.
Men's Starting at $98
Rogue Territory began in 2008 as a custom denim workshop located within American Rag’s World Denim Bar in Los Angeles. They started out by offering fully bespoke one-of-a-kind denim pieces to a select clientele. In the fall of 2009 they leveraged their experiences to launch a brand for public consumption. Today, the brand's craftsman roots come to life in a unique way through their “Keep The Trade Alive” collection which focuses on collaborations and content that bring attention to LA’s maker community.
Men's Starting At $165
Tellason is made in San Fransisco and the brand seems to capture the mix of risk, tradition and imagination that defines the region. Founders Tony and Pete launched the brand in 2008 in the midst of the financial crises. They believed that no matter the times, attention to detail and quality were indispensable and 8 years later their passionate customers have proven them right.
Men's and Women's Starting at $220
Freenote was founded by brothers Matt and Andrew Brodrick. It’s headquarters are in the historic district of San Juan Capistrano. Freenote’s designs take inspiration from timeless American style icons and center on quality materials and durable construction. Freenote expertly walks the line between denim for the working man and denim for the stylish man bringing them together in an iconic way that we haven’t found very many places. Their raw denim is imported from Japan and constructed in the USA.
Men's Starting at $180
Stovell and Young
Stovell and Young is made in the USA from start to finish. Their denim is sourced from Cone Denim mill in Greensboro SC and their leather, comes from Portland. The design and manufacturing of the product is based out of San Fransisco where the city's modern take on lifestyle and apparel have lead to innovations like an expanded coin pocket to fit a smart phone and a signature grey or copper back belt loop. In summer months the Stovell and Young raw denim shorts are a Southern California favorite.
Men's Starting at $120
Bluer Denim is Designed in Portland, Oregon, and made using cotton grown in Georgia, denim milled at the Cone Mills White Oak facility in North Carolina, rivets and zippers forged in Kentucky. Bluer jeans are cut, sewn, washed and hand-finished in Los Angeles using eco-friendly ozone laundry processes. All of this makes bluer a standout option for quality denim but what really gets our attention is their innovative 1 for 1 give back model. For every pair of jeans you purchase, Bluer will buy back your used pair for $5, refurbish them and deliver them to someone who really needs them. We are a little bit obsessed with this simple model of waste reduction and community care.
Men's and Women's Starting at $95