In 2006 I worked at a store that was selling PRPS jeans made in Japan for $400. I couldn’t understand why this was but they were selling like hot cakes. I had been a designer and sewed my own clothing since I was a kid. I already had several sewing machines and started drafting patterns based on a vintage Levi’s jean. I figured the best place to start was with the original fabric and fit Levi’s used in the 40’s. I started using Cone White Oak Mill fabric the following year. It was 2007 and the market was dominated by brands out of Japan. I knew of no one making jeans in America with all American materials and trims. To me it just made sense to bring home the art of jean making to it’s original local. Fast forward to 2014 and now artisan jean brands making jeans in America are a dime a dozen. A large percentage don’t make the jeans themselves. They contract out the production to downtown LA factories and sell to top retail door’s creating as many mark ups as possible. I own my factory (In the Ironbound section of Newark, NJ) with 14 industrial sewing machine and do all the cutting myself. I specialize in Raw Bespoke Self Edge Denim. Check out my website http://www.markmango.com if you need custom bespoke jeans send me your measurements. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.
In or around 2008 I ran into the owner of Gilded Age at a trade show in Vegas. The girls from Witty Pioneers hired me to build there trade show booth for there client Nylon Magazine. At the time I was a set builder and met them at The Space photo studio above Chelsea Market in NYC. I started making jeans in 2006 when PRPS commercialized the $300 Japan imported jean market. Gilded Age was looking for a cheaper American option. I had a relationship with Cone Denim and we made jeans with White Oak Mill 14oz selvage denim. This is a photo my friend took of a jean Barney’s was selling for about $250.
Ipe’ Brazilian wooden buttons, Oil cloth canvas, hand sanded chemical free stone wash.
My Cone White Oak mill 140z after 1 year of wear. Washed twice.
Our copper rivets from Kentucky are applied with a cast iron foot press that is circa 1930’s. Found in a mid town Manhattan small machine shop. It didn’t work and needed to be restored. I took a chance and bought it. I was able to fix it and know it works great. The best rivets are the kind that have a post and ring. The ring sits at base of the post. The foot press cause the post to mushroom over the ring. This permanently attaches the rivet to the jean. The common modern way is with a cap instead of ring which occasionally falls off like most caps!