This past week I had the pleasure to chat with Tim DiDonato, design manager of 1791 Supply Co. 1791 is a New York/Dallas, TX based denim company that also specializes in shirting and graphic tees.
Established in late 2011 the brand strives to embody the feel of vintage Americana and work wear with its collections. So sit back, relax, and enjoy all that 1791 Supply Co. and DiDonato have to offer.
RD: Please state your name and role within the brand and what it is that you do.
TD: My name is Tim DiDonato. I’m the design manager for 1791, which means I do everything from sketching to sourcing fabrics, product development and choosing hardware. I pretty much see the product through from beginning to end.
RD: What first sparked your interest in the selvedge and raw denim world?
TD: My interest started when I was working at Bergdorf Goodman in NYC and they had a denim shop on the men’s 3rd floor. We had all these denim designers like Simon Spurr, Eric Goldstein (owner of Jean Shop), George McCracken and Marcus and David from Rag & Bone coming in talking to us, telling us the history of selvedge denim and why it is so quality.
After talking with them I was hooked. Having learnt a lot about selvedge denim and knowing who the king pins of the industry were, it was a no brainer choosing Cone Denim Mills to be our denim supplier.
RD: What is it about raw and selvedge denim that makes it so interesting to you?
TD: Its unique imperfections of the warp and weft yarns that really make each pair of jeans one of a kind. But it’s what happens over time that makes it so special. While most of the things that we buy wear out, raw denim wears in. When you buy a pair of raw jeans, you get to break them in just by doing whatever it is that you do every day.
The little rhythms of your life, where you put your keys or your wallet, how you move at your job—all of these things leave visible patterns in the denim that are unique to you. Lots of manufacturers put imitation whiskering and other marks on their jeans, but there’s just no substitute for authentic character that comes over time.
RD: What’s the history and inspiration behind 1791 Supply Co.?
TD: Our name, 1791, refers to the year that the bill of rights was ratified. We started the company in the summer of 2011 because we wanted to do something good for Americans. It’s not hard to see that the vast majority of our clothes are made overseas, and, frankly, that bothers us. All of our denim is manufactured, cut, and sewn in the US, which provides jobs here.
Plus, we’re providing a quality product. Our jeans aren’t cheap but we think that they’re a good value, and we’ve kept the price reasonable enough that anyone who really cares about where their dollars go could probably afford a pair of 1791 jeans.
RD: Which piece out of the collection is your favorite?
TD: My favorite piece would have to be our straight-leg fit selvedge jean. They’re a traditional cut with a comfortable, generous rise. I like that, the way the jeans look. It compliments the way they’re made and how each pair of jeans were painstakingly sewn together. Traditional methods, traditional lines.
RD: What does 1791 have in store for the future? Are there plans to expand the line into different fits? Perhaps even a women’s selvedge line?
TD: We’re working on an additional fit for men. We’re going to start offering black selvedge from Cone Mills and yes, we’re excited to be working on a line of women’s selvage jeans. As a young company, it takes a lot of work to roll out a new product, but each one is so exciting for us.