American Giant Gets Into the Jeans Business

By Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch
Photo courtesy American Giant

Best known for its hoodies, the company is now offering men’s denim.

There’s perhaps no single item of clothing that is more quintessentially American than the blue jean.

But sadly, most jeans you find in stores these days are made overseas. Although there are a handful American makers out there — Chicago’s Dearborn Denim and workwear maker Round House Jeans come to mind — iconic denim brands like Levi’s now make the vast majority of their products abroad.

Enter American Giant.

Having already taken on the world of trendy sweatpants and T-shirts, the maker of the greatest hoodie ever made is now aiming to revolutionize denim.

The San Francisco-based apparel maker recently premiered its first-ever jean, the 218 Straight. It’s a product that is years in the making — American Giant entered into a “very long, multi-year process” with Mount Vernon Mills, one of the country’s remaining denim manufacturers, to create a product with just the right amount of stretch, durability and color.

American Giant CEO Bayard Winthrop tells Fast Company that the company “iterated on the design more times than I can count.”

“We wanted to make sure we were doing something special,” the company explains in a video on its website. “That meant something reminiscent of the blue jeans of years ago, but also updating it for today. That really came down to getting the fabric right.”   

Winthrop is proud to be working with Mount Vernon Mills, noting that “American factories just have more stringent regulations than those in many other countries. And this factory is well known in the industry for being sustainable.”

After Mount Vernon Mills creates the fabric, New Fashion Products in Los Angeles is charged with cutting and sewing the jeans themselves, California Apparel News reports.

The 218 Straight Denim sells for $138 — a bit pricier than a pair of jeans from Walmart, but comparable (if not cheaper) than other higher-end denim brands. The jeans are already getting good reviews, with Fast Company noting that they are “not skinny jeans, by any means, but they are cut in a way that is flattering and slimming.”

And don’t worry, ladies: American Giant is aiming to unveil women’s jeans this winter.