Deep Ellum Denim is a menswear denim company specializing in raw and selvage denim that uses some of the finest textiles reminiscent of the durable higher quality jeans from the 1930s. After a year of researching the best fabrics, cotton, machinery, designers, and the entire denim industry, Deep Ellum Denim opened its doors in July 2017.
The new business is different from other denim companies in that it helps educate men in the Dallas area about how to spot quality denim and how to also evaluate it so that the jeans are always a perfect fit. The retailer also sells denim hats and shirts and offers complimentary beer to their customers for a unique shopping experience.
Deep Ellum Denim works with four denim designers across the globe to bring Dallas men premium value jeans. The denim mills reach from North Carolina all the way to Japan, giving shoppers a chance to experience the different methods of creating denim around the world. The denim designers are: Momotaro, Japan Blue Jeans, Tellason, and Naked and Famous.
Momotaro and Japan Blue Jeans are two of Japan’s iconic denim brands. They source their cotton from Africa, create their own denim on vintage shuttle looms originally used by Levi’s in the 1920’s, and design, cut, and sew them all under one roof.
Tellason is an indie brand from San Francisco who makes an incredible pair of all-American jeans. They work with Cone Mills White Oak, a legendary denim mill in North Carolina. Together they design and create tough and durable jeans, with a modern fit.
Naked and Famous source denim from legendary mills in Kojima, Japan–which Deep Ellum Denim said is “arguably the denim capital of the world.” From their shop in Canada, they design, cut and sew every pair to insure the highest quality.
Come check them out and get your own perfect fitting jeans. They are located at 2803 Taylor Street Suite 150 in Dallas. Read on for our Q&A with Jeff Kauffman of Deep Ellum Denim.
- You work with three denim designers that are very spaced out geographically. How did you find these brands? Did you travel to all these places and meet these people in person?
In terms of finding these brands, it’s pretty simple actually. We are denimheads at heart. Before we ever considered starting a business, we were in search of quality denim. What we discovered is that all of the brands we loved didn’t have representation in Dallas and if we wanted to buy a good pair of jeans, we needed to do it in another state.
You won’t be able to find the brands we carry in DFW, or anywhere in Texas for that matter. We’re very excited to bring this level of quality to our home town. In 2018, we will visit our favorite denim craftsmen in Japan and will share the expedition on Instagram.
- You said to “come by, say hi, have a beer and check out our denim.” Do you sell beer in the shop too? If so, what types and for how much?
The beer is complimentary. If you’ve ever been to High and Tight barber shop in Deep Ellum, you’ll get a complimentary beer while your hair is being cut. That’s a cool experience. There’s something fun about having a beer along with casual conversation while nerding out about denim.
- Are there any plans to add denim geared towards women to Deep Ellum Denim?
It certainly is a possibility down the line. We don’t have a timeline to add women’s denim to our line up at the moment, but it would be cool if that happened one day.
- Why do you think that the “most iconic item of clothing produced in the last 100 years is now the least important item in any retail store”?
Once you’ve spent the time that we have researching and buying denim, you begin to see all of the flaws in the system. Too many retailers just “check-the-box” when it comes to adding denim to their inventory, rather than making it the sole focus of their store.
As consumers ourselves, we weren’t happy with the quality, variety, or fits offered in Dallas. We might find a good pair of jeans, but the fit wasn’t right, or vice versa. The reality is, there are so many combinations of fit, style, and quality that the only way to get it right is to put 100% of your effort into it, and make denim the number one pillar of your retail experience.
- Why is it so important for Deep Ellum Denim to make a love of high-quality denim with a great modern fit popular again?
We think high-quality denim with a great modern fit is already in demand. There just isn’t a place in Dallas to find it. We have a motto, “to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.” So rather than wishing there were a store in Dallas, we decided to create one. For us, Deep Ellum is our favorite area in Dallas. We spend most of our time here and Jeff has lived in Deep Ellum most of his adult life.
- People can buy Levis for $65, and you are fans of that brand as well. Why should customers buy your $200 jeans? What is unique about Deep Ellum Denim that makes it stand out from other denim retailers?
We are a fan of Levi’s heritage, not the current product. Levi’s brought denim to life by making durable workwear for miners in California over 100 years ago. But they lost their way when they began mass producing jeans in the 70’s and quality has gone down since then. Levi’s is most likely the brand you were exposed to first in middle school or high school. And for $65, it is a solid product. For some people, that works just fine and that’s OK. There’s a great documentary on Netflix called “Blue Gold”, and it tells the story of denim very well.
There are a handful of new brands that have emerged over the last 15-20 years that have spent an enormous amount of time and energy into re-creating vintage denim–a higher quality and more durable pair of jeans reminiscent of the quality in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.
We need to be clear that we aren’t into “designer” jeans. The jeans we carry aren’t in the $150 to $300 price range because they have a designer’s label on them. The brands we carry put an enormous amount of time and attention into creating the highest quality denim they can while staying current with modern fits and styles. The jeans we carry will last at least 4x longer than any $65 pair of jeans. The most important thing we can say to drive this home is, “Buy Quality. Buy Less.” We’re not interested in fads or gimmicks. We’re interested in bringing our brotherhood of customers something they’ll own and appreciate for years due to its quality and craftsmanship.
The worst thing about operating a business in this category is dealing with the “here today, gone tomorrow” fads. Big mass market companies put more money into marketing cheap products than they put into the product itself. In the long run though, we believe that our focus on quality will matter most to hard working guys and that’s what motivates us.