If you’re shelling out more than $100 for a pair of jeans, they were probably stitched and riveted right here. Nearly all of the premium denim brands—-True Religion, AG, Paige, Joe’s Jeans, J Brand—are manufactured in L.A. County. Part of the appeal is the ingenuity of local textile labs, where the latest finishing and detailing methods are regularly cooked up. Consider the coated jean, which is typically sprayed and then meticulously brushed by hand. AG bakes its jeans, Paige hand sands, and Koral applies wax that cures for several months. Workers use a pumice stone to create faded streaks, known as “whiskers,” on the thighs of jeans. From beginning to end, more than 100 sets of hands might touch a pair of jeans before a customer even tries to squeeze into them.
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A former fit model turned designer, Paige Adams-Geller launched her line in 2004. “Denim design is so heavily rooted in L.A. that the area has generated the best wash houses, experts, and creatives in the industry,” she says. Paige, $239.
It took David Koral minutes to persuade his father, Peter, cofounder of 7 for All Mankind, to plunge back into the denim business earlier this year. “While it would decrease costs to manufacture overseas,” says David, “it’s just not possible to execute to our standards outside of L.A.” Koral, $210, intermixonline.com.
AG is a vertically integrated denim company: The entire process, from design to manufacturing, happens under one roof. Creative director Sam Ku doesn’t intend to leave town. “There’s no better place to live,” he says. “I mean, in how many other great cities can you play golf year-round?” AG, $198.