The Power of Two: Passion & Love

American Authenticity

Over the past few years, we have observed and experienced tremendous innovation and creativity throughout the Midwest. Many of these creative moments were cultivated or created by passionate couples. We spoke about this with our friends from Detroit, Perfect Laughter, over dinner in Cleveland several months ago. Around the same time, they wrote a series of blog posts called “A Couple of Questions” that highlighted many of these creative couples in art and design. Recently, we have noticed a similar trend in fashion, an increased focus on designing, producing and manufacturing in the USA; with the intrinsic values of quality and craftsmanship – American Authenticity.

Raleigh Denim

Sarah and Victor Lytvinenko met in high school and then attended North Carolina State University, where Sarah studied fashion and Victor business. Together they created Raleigh Denim to unite tradition and heritage with contemporary fit and style, all under one roof using locally and regionally sourced product. Their jeans are handmade in the United States at their Martin Street workshop, located in the revitalized district of downtown Raleigh.

They have received press from Elle, Lucky, Esquire, Southern Living and Fast Company. And more importantly fashionistas demanding their jeans, which resulted in Barneys and Saks picking up the men’s denim line. The contract with Barneys forced them to increase production and staffing, requiring them to take advantage of the Obama small business assistance stimulus plan to hire more staff, a total of 14 new local employees.
















Imogene + Willie

A big idea in the middle of the night, that was the beginning of Imogene + Willie, created by Carrie and Matt Eddmenson. Two childhood friends whose lives seemed to always bring them back together, fell in love and brought their passion for denim to life. They opened their workshop and store in an old gas station in Nashville, Tennessee. They have been receiving great press from musicians like Kings of Leon and Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. Their beautiful story is best explained from their point of view in the video below.

United Vision and Ideals

After learning more about Raleigh Denim and Imogene + Willie, it was clear that they shared similar philosophies, which also contribute to their success.

  • Craftsmanship: Meticulous attention to detail and intense respect for their craft. A level of expertise achieved only after years of study and practice; dedicating your heart to your work; blood, sweat and tears
  • Quality: Utilizing the best materials and methods to compose their creations
  • Responsibility: Understanding the need to design, produce and manufacture their works right here in the USA and support their local communities
  • Sustainability: Utilizing locally and regionally sourced materials and understanding environmental, economic and social impact of their actions. Both Raleigh Denim and Imogene + Willie are housed in revitalized buildings and areas, supporting the rejuvenation of their communities
  • Authenticity: Maintaining their unique mission and vision
  • Style: Understanding the pillars and elements of fashion and infusing the authenticity of their brand and products
  • Heritage: Drawing inspiration from and honoring the past, with a fond heritage for family, their craft and our country
  • Passion: Emotional devotion to their craft and works
  • Love: Relentless love for each other, their craft and community

The result of this model or philosophy in action is attainment of the American Dream – achieving personal and professional prosperity and success from owning and operating your dream, actualized by enacting your beliefs and principles.