Need a pair of gluten-free jeans? Austinite Richard Cole has your ass covered. Literally.
According to a local daily newspaper, Cole is “a one-man denim brand” who hand-makes jeans under the name of Paleo Denim. Despite the Flinstones-esque name, Cole uses vintage (but not that vintage) sewing machines to make his one-off trousers.
Cole studied media production and documentary filmmaking at Syracuse University. But, according to our daily fish-wrap, he realized that he “couldn’t produce anything if the lights went out.”
I have bad news for you, sir—unless you’re using your grandmother’s treadle-powered machine, you won’t be producing jeans, either, if the lights go out. And if you are using granny’s Singer in the dark, you’re likely to lock-stitch your fingers together.
This would hurt like a bitch, and would also make it hard to raise a craft farmhouse ale to your mouth.
When he set out to make his first pair of jeans, he deconstructed an old pair and studied how they were put together. After about a week, he emerged from his basement with a wearable pair of jeans.
Sounds like a lot of work to me. The last time I needed a pair of jeans, I emerged from the mall in about 20 minutes, and that included a stop at Cinnabon.
Cole spent six years learning how to make jeans. In 2013, he launched a Kickstarter campaign that raised nearly $30,000 and allowed his dream to become a full-time reality. Since then, he has schlepped his vintage sewing machines from shop to shop before recently finding a home for them in South Austin.
The fact that he settled in the once-funky South Austin and not the über-trendy East Side is a reflection of how much the ATX has changed. Ten years ago, the south side was where you went to get your muffler replaced or to sell your recycled Pearl beer cans. Before long, live-bait shops began to be replaced by sushi bars; today it’s home to an artisanal jeans atelier.
To be fair, being able to make jeans (or anything else) is hella cool. It’s easy to mock creative people like Cole (especially for me; since I have no real skills, mockery is my brick-oven baked multi-grain bread and grass-fed, locally sourced butter) but I honestly respect anyone who hones a skill in pursuit of a dream.
To realize my dream, two things would have to happen. One, I’d have to learn to play guitar and two, Keith Richards would have to die. And honestly, either of those is about as likely as the other.