Nudie Jeans Lean Dean US Selvedge Denim

The ethical Swedish brand teams with Cone Mills for their first run of made-in-USA jeans

by Steve Dool

As Nudie Jeans unveils their limited edition run of 14.75 oz. selvedge denim jeans today, it represents more than just a new product launch. The jeans, created in partnership with North Carolina’s revered Cone Mills, are the first Nudie Jeans product made entirely in the United States. For a brand as proudly Swedish as Nudie, it took a fair amount of persistence to bring their Scandinavian, eco-conscious sensibility Stateside.

“We had been in contact previously a few years ago, as there has always been an interest in Cone,” says Nudie Jeans co-founder and creative director Maria Erixon, noting that, at the time, Cone’s inability to work with organic cotton—a prerequisite for all Nudie Jeans denim—was the primary obstacle preventing the two companies from collaborating. Fast forward to early 2014, when an exploratory meeting in Los Angeles eventually led Erixon to discover both a selvedge denim in Cone’s existing collection that she particularly liked and, in turn, a renewed determination to work together. “Our direct request was for Cone to investigate within the company and operations how to make this particular fabric with organic cotton,” she recalls. “Around a month later, we got a quick response saying it was possible, and several months later the denim was produced as we desired with 100% organic cotton.”

The resulting jeans—limited to just 1,000 individually numbered pairs to be sold exclusively at North American retailers (including American Rag, Zebra Club and Azalea) along with Nudie Jeans’ own online shop—were made possible by utilizing organic cotton found in Texas, then woven at Cone Mills and assembled in San Francisco, with a design based on Nudie’s new, slightly tapered Lean Dean fit. Bringing them to life was a truly cooperative effort that paid tribute to both America’s denim heritage and Nudie Jeans’ own point of view—including what the brand refers to as its “typical Swedish stubbornness.” Or, as Erixon sees it, the jeans are a testament to the idea that “anything is possible as long as there is a higher motive.”

Lean Dean US selvedge is available for $250 at the Nudie Jeans online store.

Images courtesy of Nudie Jeans