May 23, 2015

San Francisco Men’s Denim: The Raw Deal On Premium Jeans

Tellason Denim

It should come as no wonder that denim is in San Francisco’s blood -  after all, the town gave birth to a little company called Levi’s back in 1853. But now more than ever, San Francisco is becoming a hub for small, independent denim labels that rival the freshest denim sources anywhere in the world.

In recent years, the popularity of locally-grown denim has become greater than ever, particularly for men’s dry and selvage varieties. In that spirit, we’ve sought out the latest and greatest denim from local sources to help you suss out a supreme pair of jeans that will make a serious style statement. You might say San Francisco has you (and your legs) well-covered.

Check out these local labels and stores, many of which have a great selection for guys:

  • Tellason, one of the latest pet brands championed by San Francisco’s Durable Goods Concern — the same guys that brought us The Common in SoMa — these babies are designed with substance and durability over style in mind and crafted with artisan authenticity using fabric sourced from North Carolina. In short, these jeans are built to last.

Tellason Denim

Tellason Denim

  • To get your hands on denim from a local label while surrounded by cult brands from around the globe, venture up to North Beach and duck into A-B Fits.  In addition to its eponymous line, you’ll find a wide assortment of handpicked labels, including Dope & Drakkar. Look for Howard if you can catch him in the store — he knows his denim, and is just plain friendly.

A-B Fits

A-B Fits

A-B Fits

  • Gustin Quality Garments sums up its personal style in three words: understated, honest, and timeless. The raw selvage jeans promise a modern straight fit, made entirely in San Francisco. Mark your calendars for the spring, when San Francisco designer Josh Gustin’s first denim collection hits stores (including San Francisco’s A-B Fits).

Gustin Quality Garments

  • Oakland-based oneculture brings a lot of love to dry denim. With a mission to unite denim lovers around the world, the company might just be the place to find your next favorite pair.


  • Academy of Art graduate Noah Landis created Kent Denim in 2008, putting his stamp on the premium denim market with forward-thinking, minimal style that would tell a story as these jeans endure the test of time. For more on Kent Denim, check out our previous coverage.

Kent Denim

Kent Denim

  • Also check out the raw denim Sons of Britches pant from Betabrand, the new and improved branding from the people that brought us those whimsical Cordarounds. Only sold online, these jeans are a sensibly priced option for denim from a local source.

…and hit these stores to find most of the above, plus more:

  • The Blues Jean Bar on Union Street is your denim store with soul.  Instead of a drink, ask the bartender for your flavor of jean, and they’ll serve you a brand to fit.  Find local brands Kent and oneculture here, along with other up and coming labels Crate, Naem and Castle.

The Blues Jean Bar

The Blues Jean Bar

  • Self Edge Denim in Mission’s Valencia corridor may be your definitive source in San Francisco for raw selvage denim.  Perhaps more raw denim than you might know what to do with, but it’s safe to say these people firmly comprehend denim. Among its 17 available lines are all handmade jeans by Roy and recycled denim by Sugar Cane. You’ll also find 10 special collaboration designs from Self Edge and its various labels, like the Flathead RingRing, pictured here.



Sugar Cane & Co. X Selfedge


  • Owner Todd Barket delivers a definitive collection of vintage Levi’s at Unionmade Goods. One example: the 1947 501 Lonestar’s below. For a rare treat, check out the special Levi’s selvage deadstock jeans. Tellason is also carried here, among some of the most rugged spirited jeans that embrace American heritage.

Levi's 1947 501 Lonestars

  • Revolver in the Lower Haight offers a special selection of hard-to-find newcomers to the denim scene. Get into a pair of Railcar jeans here – designer Steven Dang actually created his L.A.-based line after repairing railcars for a living, believe it or not. Other exclusives here include Denham the Jeanmaker–think well-tailored with a vintage attitude–and Them Atelier, a stylish affordable line that will please your wallet.


  • Get an intimate experience at Jack’s on Chestnut, tucked on the Marina’s main drag, where you can nab a pair of Simon Miller’s, Hudson’s, or J Brand. Roll over downtown to Post Street  for some discounts at their equally intimate sister location.

    Jack's on Chestnut

  • For the latest from big designer players like Naked & Famous, Nudie, or Acne, head over to Azalea in Hayes Valley or visit Villains Vault in the Upper Haight. At Azalea, check out the Nudie nook in the back, and if you’re looking for G-Star, Villains is your spot.

Azalea SF

G-Star at Villains Vault

  • For the male perspective, less than a block up Gough, Azalea recently opened spin off store Welcome Stranger, which describes itself as “a new men’s store with an old soul.”  Look for a sophisticated extension of men’s labels here like Spurr and Rag & Bone.

Welcome Stranger

Photos of Azalea and Welcome Stranger courtesy of Kizza Chadiha. All other photos courtesy of each designer or store.

Shopping for Man Kind: Man Up


When we met with Mike Maher of Taylor Stitch earlier this week to discuss this weekend’s first Man Up pop-up menswear market, we were immediately sold on the ethos behind the event.

“I like to know where everything I buy comes from. When I purchase things, I purchase for them for the long haul,” explained Maher, who runs San Francisco custom men’s shirt company Taylor Stitch with co-founder Barrett Purdum and Michael Armenta and, with Purdum, is one of five guys behind the Durable Goods Concern, the entity responsible for conceiving of Man Up and making it happen in a mere 25 days.

As readers surely know, we’re big believers in conscious consumerism, buying local and putting the dollars we have (which often aren’t as plentiful as we’d like) into apparel and products that are not only made to last longer than a season, but also hail from companies whose principals and practices we believe in.

And then there are aesthetic concerns to consider. Who doesn’t appreciate a well-dressed man? Barring that, the benefits of cruising around looking like the male equivalent of Debbie Dumptruck are elusive at best.

Putting it plainly, Maher says, “It doesn’t pay to walk out the door looking like a slob.”

If you concur (and even if you don’t), we recommend making a dapper dash to the Man Up this weekend for dude-friendly shopping made easier through the promise of free buzz-inducing beverages, live art and vendors such as AB Fits, Union Made Goods, Xetum, Taylor Stitch, Marine Layer, Cordarounds, Room 4 Vintage, Sui Generis and many others. There’s also a contest you can enter to win a free $220 pair of raw selvage denim jeans.

More upcoming fashion and shopping events

And a few pics of the Durable Goods Concern fellas (Michael Maher, Michael Armenta, Jeremy Smith, Barrett Purdum and David Mongan) horsing around in SF:




Video: Get Ready for the Man Up Pop-Up Shop

The Man-Up Menswear Pop-Up Shop arrives in San Francisco at the end of the month. In the meantime, the dudes behind the destination for guy’s clothing and accessories from such local sources as AB Fits, Paul’s Hat Works, Taylor Stitch, Unionmade Dry Goods and Beckel Canvas have put together this snazzy little video showcasing the Man Up ethos. Guys running around town in cool clothes, driving cool cars, with 70′s cop show tunes in the background like they’re involved in some kind of very stylish caper – that’s something we can certainly get behind.

More videos on SF Indie Fashion

Upper Grant Boutique Crawl


More San Francisco shopping and fashion events….