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Tellason Designer Tony Patella on Made in USA and Durable Goods

Blue jeans are the original American garment, but it has become harder and harder to pin down a pair of jeans with a “Made in America” label. Tellason is one of the few companies still producing true American jeans.

In 2009, Tony Patella and Pete Searson shipped their first order of jeans made in San Francisco, the hometown of Levi Strauss and the effective birthplace of denim. However, as Patella explained, “Made in San Francisco” is not that simple. The company sources components from all over the US—denim from one place, twill from another, pocketing from yet another.

Patella explained that an added sourcing difficulty for the company is operating on a relatively small scale. He said, “Fabric is difficult to source in the US because the best mills have yardage minimums that are pretty high. That said, I understand why their minimums are high and we’re willing to support them regardless.” He added, “We are very passionate about Cone MillsWhite Oak plant and making our products in San Francisco.”

Tellason places a greater emphasis on quality and the appreciation of durable goods, rather than emphasizing trends and introducing new styles. “We’re definitely not in the fashion game,” Patella said. The brand generally brings some new items to trade shows, which are available at once or within a few weeks of the show.

Tellason is currently working on a new fit for women’s denim made in Japan, which will be available on the Tellason site this fall. From there, the designer will gauge interest and decide if they want to expand their women’s products further. The brand is also expanding its international footprint with a new store that their Japanese distributor is opening in Tokyo this fall that will be primarily a Tellason and Tanner Goods store. Patella said they would like to one day open a Tellason flagship.