Pin Partner Eric Yelsma

With a yardstick and sharpie in hand, Eric Yelsma would go
to work tapering his jeans. The 6-foot-4-inch tall Yelsma, who considered
himself “tall and gawky” in high school, couldn’t find a pair of jeans that
struck the right balance between tight and baggy.  So he made them himself.

“I would turn them inside out, iron them flat and then just
kind of sew them in a little bit more for a thinner leg,” Yelsma said.

The 43-year-old isn’t in high school anymore, but you can still
find him behind a sewing machine. In 2010, Yelsma opened Detroit
Denim Co. His workshop in PonyRide is filled with the equipment he needs (nearly
15 machines in all) to make jeans from start to finish.


The Skinny:

  • Fun Fact:
    In high school, Yelsma wrapped an old log chain around a new pair of jeans,
    hooked it to the back of his VW Bug and drove up and down the road to break in
    his jeans. He would also sand holes in his pants.
  • Detroit Denim Co.
  • PonyRide
    1401 Vermont St.
    Detroit, MI 48216
  • Contact

“Both my parents grew up on farms and just that idea of
creating something really appeals to me,” Yelsma said. “Maybe that’s more of a
Midwest thing.”

Yelsma doesn’t have any formal training. Instead, his
five-pocket, straight-leg jeans are born of a passion and dedication to make
the pants he wanted, but could never find in a store. The Michigan native uses raw denim to craft his men’s jeans. It’s a
material fitting for Detroit: it’s meant to be worn, and worn hard.

“The harder you are on them the better they’ll be,” Yelsma
said. “Wear them for everything and anything. These are work jeans.”


Pin #3: “We listen to the “Searching for Sugarman” album at least once a week, and it’s always good. Very good. “I Wonder” is one of my favorite songs on the album. Rodriguez plays around town somewhat often, too. His music is fantastic and it’s great that he is getting recognition after over 40 years. Rodriguez’s music has transcended decades. Good music is music that lasts beyond trends and fads. Apparel is the same way.” –Eric Yelsma