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.