If you are not familiar with the world of raw, Selvedge, Bespoke Denim, it might be easy to get stuck on cost. If a product (in this case a pair of denim jeans) cost can be purchased for $40 why pay $400 (or close to that) if they are essentially the same thing? Well we are here to say they are not the same things. Not even close. But if you don’t believe us you can head over here for a little primer on why most jeans today are not made like they once were. Hopefully these images of the amazing little shop Traveller Denim Co and it’s talented craftsmen (Selenia Rios, Erik Untersee, and Tony Drummer) will help you see that all denim is not created equal, because if there is a scale of quality in the denim world, these guys are at the top of the top. “If the large majority of the other brands are dancing the Waltz, Traveller is doing the Tango on a tightrope with a rabid tiger balanced on their shoulders. Or something like that.” – Taylor Welden. In their own words, an introduction: “Traveller Denim Co. was born through drunken nights in Austin, TX while dreaming of ways to make our lives more fulfilling and struggling with our discontent of disposable America. We use the finest Japanese and Cone Mills selvedge to bring you the best pair of jeans you’ll ever own. The devil is in the details and that’s where we live. All of our garments are produced on vintage industrial machines. They are our employees, paying homage to a better time, when quality mattered.”
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The process as described by Eric “Making a fully bespoke/made to measure garment on vintage industrial denim machines from shuttle woven selvedge denim is a pretty special thing. If there was an order to it it would go something like this-
The client comes in and selects every component of the jeans or jacket, we spend some time getting to know them, find out what direction they want to go in stylistically take in depth measurements of there profile and help them select fabric etc. From there we hand draft a pattern from scratch for each client completely from scratch from our own mathematical algorithms and systems we developed. (no basic templates that get altered)
The pattern heads over to our micro factory( new to us and super exciting) where we gather the materials and cut/ prep them. Then either Seth, Melissa or I sew the jeans on our vintage machines, inspect them, and send them a few blocks away, back to where they started in the shop for a second fitting with the client to confirm everything is perfect. They get hemmed in store and start the second part of their life with a new owner.”I spent some time in Austin this past January observing the crew at Traveller Denim in their eclectic shop on Chestnut Avenue. Color, textures, and light made for a very visual experience as I documented various elements of their workflow, capturing both stills and video. Erik, Selenia and the crew are certainly true craftsmen in every sense of the word.I was excited that our short film, edited by Minneapolis based Nathaniel Schmidt debuted as part of the opening of their new shop during SXSW. These guys are making waves and they are definitely going to raise the bar for quality denim.