My initial excitement about Motor City Denim has faded.


When I first heard of Motor City Denim I was very excited. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to support Michigan made products. At first glance, a company founded by a guy who used to make things for the auto industry is certainly something I should be wild about. I was - until I found out their target audience. It sure isn't me.

I guess my disappointment is my own fault. My thought pattern went this way: A company making jeans that is trying to be a part of the resurrection of The Motor City - which played a huge part in creating and sustaining middle class existence in Michigan and a large part of the Mid-West - would be targeting the regular people. Henry Ford broke things wide open when he concentrated his efforts on producing automobiles that EVERY family could afford. When I heard MCD co-founder Mark D'Andreta on the radio talking about the importance of keeping regular people employed and his drive to make a product in the US instead of overseas I was fist pumping and talking back to the radio.
Fast forward to the MCD website which is offering pre-orders on these made-in-Michigan jeans. My enthusiasm drained like the coffers of the City of Detroit when I learned that if I wanted to own a pair of Michigan made jeans I had to spend a minimum of $149 (8/28/11 - now they are $178) for a pair. (They have two styles for men - the Eight Mile for$149 and the Ambasadors for $169.) Believe me, I was NOT expecting to own a pair for the same $25 to $30 a pair I spend on Lee jeans made wherever Lee can find the cheapest labor force. My wife makes jewelry here in Michigan and I know we cannot compete with Chinese mass production in the area of price. By the same token we do not stock our store with strickly high end merchandise either. I guess in my mind the MCD jeans would come in around $50 to $60 at which point I would have been the proud owner, wearer, and advocate/salesman. Sorry, Mark - but $150 ($178) jeans are out of the range of my interest for casual, functional attire.
I wish MCD the best of luck and good fortune with their product. I am happy to see them working to keep Michiganders employed. I am truly bummed that I will not be buying their jeans. They do offer t-shirts for $25 and $30 bucks, but a shirt promoting jeans I don't wear is kind of silly in my book.
I can only surmise that Mark and his team have looked into their crystal ball and decided that the future of clothing Made in Michigan and/or the USA does NOT lie in the wallets of the dwindling middle class. They have set their sights on bigger check books than mine.
Bummer.

UPDATE: The same day I wrote this piece, I contacted Motor City Denim via the form on their website and expressed myself regarding their products and pricing. I thought it was the right thing to do. I asked if they would be introducing any lower priced jeans and expressed that I felt it was odd to be targeting high ticket sales only from the Motor City. They never responded.

2/23/13 - ON A POSITIVE NOTE - I have found some jeans that are made in the USA and sell for less than $100. (Wish they were made in Michigan, but.....). I found them through the Duluth Trading Company on page 29 of the catalog dated March 2013. Price is $84.50 - right in my comfort zone. Apparently, many of  their customers had been asking for jeans made in America and they found some. The catalog states:

"So when we found a company in Tennessee that still makes jeans in America - out of high quality domestic denim - we signed 'em up in a hurry."

They are made by a company with FIVE generations in the clothing business. I ordered some today. There are 195 reviews on their website and the score averaged out is 4.5 stars out of 5 so I am anticipating a nice, high quality product. Will let you know how they work out

In the meantime, you can get your own here: Duluth Trading

3/16/13 - I have worn my Ballroom jeans from Duluth many times - including spending two long days in them traveling back and forth on vacation to Hawaii. I am VERY happy with them. They are very well made and comfortable. I ordered my first pair in the dark denim and will be ordering a second pair of them in the stone washed color. Excellent product at a reasonable price.
Just received my second pair: My review is here.
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