The time has come for artisanal producers to take back the term "premium" from the fakers that are making pants out of denim fabric and not remaining true to the heritage of blue jeans.
State your name and occupation.
Tony Patella | Co-Founder at Tellason
My friend Pete Searson and I had been the apparel industry in many different forms for 20 years each and decided that we should do something of our own. Given my background in denim and his in international sales, we figured the time was right.
My first job after college was as a sales representative for Converse shoes in northern California. This was back when the Chuck Taylors and Jack Purcells were still made in Lumberton, North Carolina. A visit to the factory in Lumberton was an eye-opening experience. I realized that while the people making the product may not be passionate about the brand (some were wearing Adidas shoes!), that preserving these types of jobs is vital to our country/economy and that somehow, most Americans have become so caught up in quantity over quality and price over provenance. Several years after I left Converse in 1994, Nike bought the company, moved production to China, increased the price and built the revenues to eight times what they were when they bought the company.
How did denim become a staple in menswear?
The reasons are myriad: durability, comfort and for me, the metamorphosis that denim undertakes throughout its life. The wear patterns (when starting with raw, double ring spun denim) tell the story of the wearer's life.
Who is your style icon?
While I could never pull off some of the shit he wears, my friend Brian Awitan at Imogene + Willie has great personal steez that I admire. Somehow he makes a neck-kerchief, Chuck Taylors, rigid denim and ponytails look cool.
What is your personal soundtrack for the summer?
Besides the incessant Clash, Jam and Ramones playing in our studio year around, I'm really enjoying Japanther at the moment.
What is the process of crafting and creating a pair of jeans? Favorite style to wear?
The process is simple – spend a silly amount of time developing a great fit, cut beautiful selvage denim and and sew it with the best possible methods and machines and walk away. I'm partial to our original fit – our slim straight John Graham Mellor.
What’s your favorite indulgence?
Tacos de carnitas dorados con todos at La Taqueria in San Francisco. The finest use of swine on the planet (it kills me as an Italian to put it above prosciutto, but it's true).
Describe your Americana icon.
Best phrase or word?
“It's all ball bearings these days.”
What about yourself is reflected in the craftsmanship Tellason offers?
I'm a minimalist with OCD.
Beer, BBQ, or Brownies?
How about this: beer, beer, BBQ, beer, beer, brownies...
( 1/2 owner // Tony Patella )