Made in America: Asbury Park Denim

Denim 2
American made denim is one of the last strong-holds of our apparel industry and Asbury Park is a new brand quickly carving out it’s place in the market. Founder and Creative Director James Hankins invited me to take a behind the scenes look at the design and production process for a brand that is 100% sourced and manufactured in America. Mr. Hankins’ fabric is produced by legendary textile house, White Oak Cone Mills, in Greensboro, North Carolina. The fabric is then shipped to the Jean Mart Inc. complex in Los Angeles, Ca. The denim is then turned into the final product—a crisp pair of blue jeans. Upon entering the factory I am met by Mr. Hankins and Jean Mart Vice President, Steve Rhee, who guides the tour of his families’ facility.

Denim 1Phase 1: Design a jean. From the
shape of the pant, to the rivets,
to the labels, where the pockets
are placed, what thread to use for
stitching, and finally the wash,
the options are really endless.

Phase 2: Once the sample is
created they have to do a tech
pack, which is the recipe for the
jean. A tech pack has every single
specific step in making a jean
listed in detail, from the type of
wash they go through at the dye-
house all the way down to the very
last stitch.

Phase 3: A shrink test is performed
on the production fabric to ensure
a consistent fit. The pattern is
then adjusted if necessary. Then a
sample is created from the tested
production denim and inspected for
quality and fit.

Phase 4: Next they have a pattern maker do all the marking and grading for the style they have created. This means they have each size of that style of jean turned
into its own individual pattern.

Phase 5: Production run. Each jean is made up of 21 individually cut pieces that are sewn together in a 39-step process, which includes size tabs, care labels, buttons, rivets and so forth. After the ‘raw’ jean is completed, it is trimmed and inspected, then sorted by size.

Phase 6: Washing and aging. Depending on the particular style of jean, some go to a wash-house across town to give them their “worn-in feel.” The techniques for accomplishing the desired wash are virtually endless and can vary between hand and
machine made.

Phase 7: After the washing process is complete the jeans are packed on a truck and sent back to the factory for sorting and final inspection. Then they are pressed and all the hangtags are applied. The jeans are then folded, bagged, sealed and boxed before being shipped to retailers.

The tour of the facility ends where the boxes of finished product are waiting to be picked up by shipping trucks and sent off to a Nordstrom’s retailer near you. Steve and James smile proudly as they’ve just finished showing me the entire process a piece of denim fabric goes through to become a quality pair of jeans.


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