Raleigh Denim isn’t just for North Carolinians. These jeans are being sold all over the world, primarily at Barney’s department stores. Raleigh Denim proudly manufacturers high-quality jeans made from 100% local materials by the people, for the people. In fact, inside every pair of these pants you will find a tag that reads, “Raleigh Denim Handcrafted in North Carolina by Non-automated Jean Smiths.” According to the News and Observer, “Almost every part of Raleigh Denim is from North Carolina. The jeans are cut and hand-sewn by a crew in a production space in Stewart’s building on Bloodworth Street in Southeast Raleigh. The denim and labels come from Greensboro, the zippers from Oxford, the thread from Mount Holly, and the screen-printed pockets from Raleigh. Raleigh Denim is a model for socially and environmentally responsible textile manufacturing.”
Sarah and Victor Lytvinenko are the brains (and heart) behind Raleigh Denim. Rumor has it they met in college, Victor was teaching himself how to sew so he could make his own jeans that fit just the way he wanted and Sarah was finishing up her degree in Design. In the beginning they made jeans for themselves, friends, local celebrity rock stars; and now they ship to Barney’s all over the world. What’s the secret to their success? Some say its hard work, some say dedication to their art form but most people agree its the key ingredient to producing the best pair of jeans money can buy–love.
Besides being successful entrepreneurs, Victor and Sarah are a powerhouse couple who have had an amazing impact on their community. After living in New York and traveling through Europe together the two decided to settle in Raleigh where their friends and family are. They are cultural icons in Raleigh. This year they participated in Raleigh
‘s grassroots cultural conference and festival, SPARKcon. In October, they curated an art exhibit for the Designbox; showcasing the original Raleigh Denim prototypes, including Victor’s first pair which were worn for 9 months and washed only 1 time. Victor is well known for stimulating the First Friday bike ride through downtown Raleigh. Every month he rallies the troupes at the NC State bell tower and a couple hundred friends take off to tour the art galleries and get some exercise. Leading such a large crew can be challenging, especially when they tend to be 21+ and thirsty. The galleries often will not have enough refreshments for the mass of bikers and Victor has been known, on occasion, to supplement their supply with cases of PBR…he is just that thoughtful.
The best part about Raleigh Denim is that they are actually made in Raleigh! I was lucky enough to have visited the original building which had no windows and poor ventilation but plenty of questionable characters milling about the property. After spending some time in a dilapidated warehouse in one of the seedier parts of downtown Raleigh, Raleigh Denim needed a new home. There was talk of them moving to Durham where things are more affordable. (Glad they didn’t!) After months of searching, the Lytvinenko’s signed a lease on a space in the Warehouse District of downtown Raleigh. The new home of Raleigh Denim is 319 W. Martin St, a neighborhood booming with creative enterprises including Designbox, Centerline Productions, Gamil Design, Media Two and the 311 West Martin Street Gallery.
This video explains the production process in greater detail:
You can also visit Raleigh Denim at their new home!
In other news: Raleigh Denim will release their first line of woman’s jeans this month!
PBR is a proud supporter of local businesses including Raleigh denim.