Hometown Tourist: Grandpa James Denim Supply

American Heritage Denim, a nostalgia that goes along with a great pair of jeans that last through all the fades.

The owner of Grandpa James Denim Supply downtown Traverse City understands the meaning behind classic American garments that are simple, clean and well-built with craftsmanship at their core.

Grandpa James Denim Supply is named after Justin Wright’s hardworking grandfather and carries goods that harken back to the days of the all American garment.

“So the denim that we carry is made on shuttle looms. The Levis, Lee, Wrangler, they all got rid of their shuttle looms back in the 60’s. Not all of them, they still make small amounts of boutique jeans, a lot of these shuttle looms that were left over some young American guys bought them up, some Japanese bought them up and they started trying their own hand at American Heritage Denim,” said owner Justin Wright.

You can feel the toughness in each pair, and Justin will explain to you how each company is going back to the roots of jean making.

He carries all different weights for comfort and durability in summer, winter, or at work, and it’s all with no frills, just simple and clean.

“Here is the same pair three years down the road. These are a friend of mine, a mechanic at Casey Auto. He and his dad own the place, and these are his jeans, and this is the beauty of raw salvaged denim, these are his jeans, this is his wallet fade, these are the creases, his knee bend makes and they tell a story,” said Wright.

He’ll even hem them right here for you on an old Oshkosh Singer sewing machine and then you can get straight to earning your fades.

“If you’re looking for high quality stuff but you don’t want to look like a fashionista, you know, this is your place, if you want to come in and find the right fit,” said Wright.

It’s all clothing that gets better with age, and speaks to a greater legacy of American craftsmanship, leather goods, boots for work and every day, hats, bags and shirts, and it’s all procured with quality in mind.

“I have two cuts of denim out of White Oak Mill in North Carolina which was shut down about four months ago, and for anybody who buys any of this denim, pretty much that’s it for American Denim at the moment. I don’t know whether or not you should put it in a glass case or you should wear it because it’s going to be worth something someday,” said Wright.

Categories: Hometown Tourist