More than an other category, denim inspires people to dizzying madness. Take for instance the North Carolina based Raleigh Denim; the husband and wife team behind the brand — Sarah and Victor Lytvinenko — who over the past year have quietly built a loyal following among denim lovers and retailers like Barneys and Steven Alan. I first learned about Raleigh a few months back when my buddy from Cone sent me a list of new brands for The American List that are using the mill’s denim. I was intrigued, but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago when Victor and Sarah stopped by my office to give me a guided tour of the product that I was really convinced. There are a lot of denim brands in this world and I found it amazing that all of the design, development, pattern making, sourcing and even the construction is done by hand by Victor, Sarah and a small staff from their workshop down south. The folks at Raleigh pride themselves on the fact that 98% of what goes into the company’s jeans are from North Carolina. In fact, Victor even seeks out the original machines that are used in the production, traveling around the North Carolina and Tennessee border looking for old factories and needle towns. And he is into it. Victor’s eyes would light up when talking about an old chain stitch machine or another vintage mechanical acquisition. It was like a kid talking about his baseball card collection.
It is refreshing to meet self made people with a true passion for what they are creating. Through hard work, skill and a little luck Victor and Sarah are accomplishing things that huge companies couldn’t do. The quality, craftsmanship and the love are all there, so one would have to be a fool to not respect a company like Raleigh Denim. We could use more of that in the world. Get a closer look at a pair of men’s Raleigh Denim jeans at Barneys Co-op.