The New England garment industry is coming back, at least in a modest way, thanks to small manufacturers such as Hartford Denim Company in Connecticut’s capital city. Owners Luke Davis, Marshall Deming, and Dave Marcoux, all in their twenties, met in high school. Marshall’s mother was a seamstress, Luke learned sewing from his grandmother, and Dave learned from Marshall and Luke. In time with the Millennial-era DIY ethos, they embraced the craft, and in 2010, challenged themselves to build 100 pairs of jeans in three months. By the end of the summer they had opened a workshop and were well on their way to establishing their brand, Hardenco.
All products, ranging from denim clutches ($25) to jeans ($282.50), are produced on restored vintage industrial sewing machines, giving the trio a better appreciation of the history of New England’s textile industry—but their choice is also practical. “The older machines are readily available and easier to operate,” Luke says. “With the old machines, you need a mechanic to fix them; with the new ones, you need a computer technician.”
Hardenco creates long-lasting products using the best materials possible: American and Japanese denim, and cotton thread made by the New Bedford Thread Co. And they back their products with a lifetime repair policy: If the product rips or breaks, they’ll fix it, free of charge. Check the Web site for workshop tours and outlet hours. —Amy Traverso
Hartford Denim Company. 860-880-0495; hartforddenimcompany.com