Paleo Denim Looks to the Past

Paleo Denim

The past has always fascinated Paleo Denim’s founder Richard Cole. Growing up in Cleveland, Cole would hunt for fossils with his father—an amateur paleontologist—in creeks and stone quarries. “It’s a strange activity–you literally hit the dirt with a pick axe, trying to find evidence from millions of years ago,” Cole says. “But it’s a way to interact with the past.” He applied a similar approach when making his first pair of jeans as a college student, ripping up some old Levi’s seam by seam to reconstruct a pair of his own.

As the sole producer of jeans and leather goods for Paleo Denim, based in Austin, Texas, Cole opts for older garment-making techniques.  For his jeans, he uses Selvedge denim produced by Cone Denim Mills in North Carolina and several factories in Japan. A fabric popularized in the U.S. between the 1890s to 1960s, selvedge “tends to have more character than modern fabric. It’s less rigidly precise and a little more wabi-sabi in the total construction.”

A good pair of selvedge jeans will last you forever. “It becomes a precious object,” Cole says. “It’s not like mall jeans that will be in your life for only 6 months before they fade.” He’ll soon launch Kickstarter campaign in hopes of adding onto his 3 sewing machines. Belts and wallets will start at $50 and jeans (in slim, straight and regular cuts) will cost about $185. Interested buyers can sign up for an email to be notified of the campaign’s kickoff. In the meantime, check out Paleo Denim’s blog for a behind-the-scenes look at Cole’s work.