A little while ago, we had a chance to catch up with Pete Searson of Tellason. Below is the audio and transcription of a few minutes of the interview that we found interesting.
Pete Searson: “Now we’re designing our own fabrics and they’re exclusive to us…”
Eric Dickstein: “What do you have to do, a thousand yards, what is it?”
Pete Searson: “A lot more than that, the minimums are high – it’s more like 10 thousand, so you better like what you’ve designed, you know, ’cause it’s yours and we even buy the seconds so we’re nuts about it… you know, and one of the questions and maybe this is on your list too is like, “what makes Tellason different?” or whatever, it’s like hey, there’s so much great denim out there and good for everybody, that people are raising the water line for these qualitative notions of men’s blue jeans, you know, that’s what happening, that’s what really exciting about the denim market to us – not just what we’re doing, but like these other brands, they all have a real passion for this craft and good for them. But for us, designing and having the real privilege and direct contact with Cone Mills and to sit there and formulate a new fabric is just an awesome experience, and to think that we are so small and they are so big and they are like, going through the rigorous motions of making that fabric that we’ve formulated perfect by their standards is honestly like a real thrill, and we take it very seriously and going as far as buying the second quality just so we can control it all, you know – maybe we can use some of that second stuff…”
Eric Dickstein: “Do they charge second quality, so basically you make a 10 thousand square foot run and the second is what they screw up, is that how it works?”
Pete Searson: “… well, in any production run in anything there is always like a seconds pile you know, and I don’t know what the percentage is, if we order 10 thousand yards, you know, maybe they cut extra, and Tony would have the answer to that, but to just to accommodate our request for 10 thousand, maybe they make a little extra knowing that there will be some seconds – i mean you know these machines you know, they are crusty old machines still running on leather straps and wood shuttles, so it’s like, there’s gonna be some irregularities now and then and ultimately if it takes away from that section of fabric than it’s not to be used, but clearly there’s a lot of denim guys out there that these really subtle flaws if you wanna call it, or irregularities or whatever, they give the jean a lot of character as well, so we take all that into consideration and buy the seconds and use some of it probably, and then others at our factory in the city, there’s a guy that comes around and takes these denim scraps and makes insulation for homes out of it, so that’s kind of a cool element to the recycling, to the process and the life of this fabric that comes out of North Carolina.”