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New Andersonville Denim Store Will Sell Jeans Made Locally In Chicago

Andersonville is well known in Chicago for its emphasis on the ‘Local-First’ movement, so it seems fitting that a new company that makes all its denim goods right here in Chicago is opening a brick and mortar store in the neighborhood.

Dearborn Denim, which has a store in Hyde Park and a factory in the Garfield Park neighborhood, will open their latest shop at 5202 N. Clark. The company will celebrate their opening this Friday, May 4, from 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Dearborn Denim was started by Rob McMillan and features denim jeans that are cut, sewn, and crafted at their local factory in Chicago. All materials are from the USA including long staple cotton from West Texas that is loomed a state-of-the-art denim mill in Georgia, the thread, the rivets and of course the zippers.

McMillan started the company after his wife complained about the poor quality of jeans she was buying. He did his research online and visited apparel manufacturers with the purpose of designing the perfect pair of jeans that are locally-made.

“I thought, what if we started making jeans in Chicago. What would that look like?” McMillian said in a WTTW interview. “So I started researching on the internet. When I realized we could make jeans here (Chicago), paying good wages, using great materials and selling directly to customers for $49 I said – I want those.”

The jeans are made by workers, many of them immigrants, at his Garfield Park factory that was once an industrial laundry. Part of the company’s philosophy is to pay the employees fair wages.

“We try to pay as much as we possibly can,” McMillan added.  “The national average for a seamstress is about $12 per hour, we are up at $15.  At the same time we are competing with labor costs from oversees and those are $1-$2 per hour. Hopefully as our production increases, we can pay more.”

Though most of his customer base is currently in Chicago, word is spreading about the business. According to McMillan, his company is made for e-commerce and having a central location in Chicago gives him a distribution edge.

Banking on quality denim made with American materials and spirit at a reasonable cost of just $49 per pair of jeans, the company is hoping their North-side debut will be a big hit.


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