Funded! This project was successfully funded on August 12, 2013.

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A benchmade line of jeans and leather goods. Made from American and Japanese denim and sewn one at a time in Austin, Texas.

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Want to see a pair in person?  See update #3 for details.

EDIT - Some of the new machines are rolling in, they're beautiful.

Hey y’all, I’m Richard Cole, owner/maker of Paleo Denim. I’m the one man behind a brand that crafts high-quality jeans and leather accessories out of Austin, Texas. I’ve sewn countless jeans in nearly six years, and now it’s time to launch Paleo Denim with a larger sewing studio.

To do that I’m offering three cuts in three quality fabrics along with a variety of leather goods to my KickStarter backers. But before you check out the rewards, let me tell you how it all started.

The name and spirit of my company come from fossil hunting with my father, an amateur paleontologist.  The difficult conditions faced while hunting fossils really shreds gear, so everything must be durable. The whole process speaks to change over time, development, decay, etc. — all the things that make denim so fascinating as well.

Every product is made with this in mind: Paleo Denim is a rejection of goods that are disposable — that exist without a history.

My use of high-quality materials creates goods that last and beautify with age.  This is true bootstrapping—Paleo Denim isn’t an established brand seeking easy wholesale orders.  This is a project dedicated to learning, craftsmanship and  hard work.









The KickStarter jeans feature many of the details you expect on high end reproduction jeans including

  • Patch made from your choice of screen printed canvas or stamped leather
  • Raised belt loops and raised rear pocket topstitching
  • Hidden rivets in the rear pockets
  • Copper rivets and buttons,
  • Serged and top stitched inseams (as opposed to flat felled inseams which are bulkier and more abrasion prone)

The Cuts

The jeans will come in a slim cut, a slim straight and a full straight cut.  For reference our model is 5'11, 150lbs

The slim cut
The slim cut
The slim straight
The slim straight
The straight cut
The straight cut

Size charts for all sizes won't be available until the patterns are completed. Once the patterns are completed, all backers will receive a detailed size chart and updated photos to customize comfort and fit.

Women's cuts are available at the custom reward level.  Custom jeans will have the option for stretch denim.

The jeans will come in size 28 through 36 and size 38.  Jeans will come with a 35 inch inseam unless otherwise requested.

The Denim

For the first run of jeans there will be three denim options, all 100% cotton.  From left to right

  • 12 oz Kaihara Mills loose weave redline selvedge.  Kaihara Mills has been producing textiles since 1893 in Fukayama, Japan.  They were early innovators of the rope dyed process, the indigo yarns wear with amazing depth and character.  This denim lighter weight and looser weave while still retaining drape and structure.
  • 14 oz Cone Mill White Oak redline selvedge.  Cone first began producing at their White Oak plant in 1905 and they are the only American mill still producing selvedge denim.  Cone denim fades slowly and develops a vintage look.  This denim is the heaviest option and it has the tightest weave. 
  • 13.75 oz SAFE Denim ringspun.  Grown in West Texas, sewn in Austin.  SAFE denim uses cotton from the American Cotton Growers association and the Plains Cotton Cooperative.  They've shown a constant dedication to reducing water and pesticide consumption over the last three decades.  This denim has a softer hand feel and a slightly irregular weave pattern.  If you're looking for a pair of jeans grown and sewn in Texas, this is it.
  • Stretch fabrics are available for all pledges at the custom level.  

There are no "washes" available, all the denim will come in an unlaundered raw form.  These denim all have plenty of indigo in the warp yarns, as you wear them the indigo will wear away in a pattern that reflects your time with the garment.  No two pairs will fade the same because no two will follow the same path, it's almost like a record of your life etched into a textile.  

Below is an example of the kind of fading one might expect.  The pair on the right started as dark as the new pair on the left.  I wore the pair on the right for five years - in school, on the job site, on my bike, on motorcycle tours - everywhere.  I want all the jeans I make to hold memories like this.

This project is about scaling my small operation - the goal is to bring prices and production time down while bringing quality up. With my current equipment it takes an entire day to make a pair of jeans. The product is great but that also means the jeans can't be made affordably.

The funds from the Kickstarter will be used to:

  • Rehab a small fleet of industrial sewing machines from shuttered factories
  • Purchase denim from Cone Mills in North Carolina, SAFE Denim in Texas, Kaihara denim from Japan and Hermann Oak leather from St. Louis.
  • Finish and grade patterns for production
  • Expand the sewing studio to an industrial space
  • Deliver a small range of excellent handmade products at accessible prices.



The bandana


Discharge printed on a 100% cotton bandana.

The Key Carry


Use as a lanyard or loop around your belt.  Comes with matching keyring.  Made from belt leather with 100% brass hardware.


The Money Clip

One of the first Paleo designs and still a favorite when travelling light.  Slide bills under the clip and tuck up to 10 cards in the pocket.  Hand stitched.

Bicycle Tool Roll

The tool roll prototype with a year worth of wear and tear.
The tool roll prototype with a year worth of wear and tear.

Made to carry a tube, patch kit, tire levers and a multi-tool.  Made from 15 oz denim with leather trim, these tool rolls pick up amazing character with the every mile.

The Travelbound Wallet

The Travelbound wallet was designed to carry a passport and boarding pass for your travels.  It can also accomodate a cahier like Field Notes or Moleskin with a tab for securing your pen.

The Stitch Belt

9-10 oz Hermann Oak saddle skirting cut to your measurements.  Made with 100% brass buckle and hand stitched.

There are three color options for leather rewards (from top to bottom): natural, timber and brown.  All of the goods in the photos above were either natural or timber.
There are three color options for leather rewards (from top to bottom): natural, timber and brown. All of the goods in the photos above were either natural or timber.
All natural leather products patina as they age.  Most will pick up a golden russet color as pictured above, but every item will uniquely vary.  Above — natural leather as new.  Below — a natural belt with a years worth of patina.
All natural leather products patina as they age.  Most will pick up a golden russet color as pictured above, but every item will uniquely vary. Above — natural leather as new. Below — a natural belt with a years worth of patina.

August

  • Begin production of leather rewards 
  • Place order for sewing machines 
  • Place order for fabrics 
  • Travel for sourcing/training 
  • Lease industrial space 

September 
  • Complete production of leather rewards 
  • Complete pattern grading and oaktag transfer 
  • Hire studio assistants to help with shipping and fulfillment
  • Take delivery of machines 

October
  • Complete studio buildout  
  • Train on new equipment
  • Begin production on jeans 

November

  • Continue production on jeans
  • Complete production on custom jeans 
  • Begin hosting DIY package members

December

  • Complete production on all jeans
  • Celebrate with studio open house for all backers

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

There are many challenges with this project, not so many risks. This project has been planned and researched for nearly two years.

And I’ve learned a lot in that time.

I’ve built a network of patternmakers, industrial engineers, professional mentors, suppliers and artisans to help me execute every stage of the project in a timely manner. There are still possibilities of unforeseen delays but all parties involved know about the project and are eager to help.

I have the tools and skills to begin crafting the leather rewards immediately. There are skills and best practices I will need to learn for the jeans. That’s where my mentors and industry contacts will be most useful.

The largest risk of delay could likely be the learning period once the sewing machines are delivered. I have training sessions prepared with my machine suppliers and mentors—this will probably be the most interesting aspect of the process, and I look forward to sharing it with project backers.

Once production is up and running things should progress quickly.

Product changes: Some of the product details in the photos may vary slightly depending on suppliers, learned best practices and other factors. The core details will remain the same. Changes in stitching and hardware will only be made if it improves the integrity of the final product.

FAQ

174
Backers
$29,475
pledged of $19,000 goal
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  • Pledge $5 or more
    You selected

    11 backers

    A handwritten thank you and access to exclusive backer-only updates as we set up the studio and get sewing.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $4 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $17 or more
    You selected

    11 backers Limited (14 left of 25)

    One screen printed bandana with the Paleo Denim logo.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $7 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $30 or more
    You selected

    11 backers

    One key loop. Key fob comes in natural, timber or brown. Made from 9-10oz Hermann Oak leather with brass hardware.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $6 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $50 or more
    You selected

    14 backers

    One money clip -or- one bicycle tool roll. Money clips come in your choice of natural, timber or brown Hermann Oak veg tan leather. Tool rolls are 15 oz denim with natural leather accents.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $7 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $70 or more
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    4 backers

    A sliding bifold wallet. Color choice of natural, timber or brown. Made from 4oz Hermann Oak vegetable tanned leather.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $80 or more
    You selected

    6 backers

    One Travelbound wallet. Color choice of natural, timber or brown. Made from 4oz Hermann Oak vegetable tanned leather. Comes with a Texas edition Field Notes notebook.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $95 or more
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    6 backers

    One stitched belt. 1 1/2 inches wide, made with premium 9-10 oz Hermann Oak leather, brass hardware and handsewn with waxed thread from Maine. Made to your measurements in natural, timber brown or black.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $175 or more
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    10 backers All gone!

    EARLY BIRD - Thanks for the support - grab a pair of jeans in your cut and choice of fabric for a special price.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $195 or more
    You selected

    50 backers All gone!

    One handmade pair of jeans. Support the first production run by Paleo Denim. Choose your cut: slim, slim straight or straight. Choose your denim:Cone, Kaihara or Texas SAFE. Comes with a leather or canvas patch. Hand numbered.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $196 or more
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    5 backers Limited (20 left of 25)

    SECOND PRODUCTION RUN : One handmade pair of jeans. Choose your cut: slim, slim straight or straight. Choose your denim:Cone, Kaihara or Texas SAFE. Comes with a leather or canvas patch. Hand numbered.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $375 or more
    You selected

    15 backers All gone!

    One custom pair of jeans. Made to your measurements, sewn with the fabric and hardware of your choice. I'll keep your pattern on file for the future. If you're interested in women's jeans this is the best option!

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $376 or more
    You selected

    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    SECOND RUN : One custom pair of jeans. Made to your measurements, sewn with the fabric and hardware of your choice. I'll keep your pattern on file for the future. If you're interested in women's jeans this is the best option!

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $400 or more
    You selected

    9 backers Limited (1 left of 10)

    Full kit - all Paleo Denim everything. One pair of jeans, one stitch belt, one Travelbound, one sliding bifold -or- money clip, one key loop, one bandana.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $20 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $750 or more
    You selected

    5 backers Limited (2 left of 7)

    A fully DIY studio visit. Spend a day in the Paleo Denim production studio learning the entire process - from patternmaking to final product. All backers at this level will help make their own pair of custom jeans. Travel and lodging can be arranged but not included.

    Estimated delivery:
Funding period

- (33 days)