R. Perkins MFG – One Man Brands

R. Perkins MFG - One Man Brands

R. Perkins MFG – One Man Brands

If you want a thing done well, do it yourself

– Anonymous

To many of us in the raw denim world, this old English proverb might mean something along the lines of visiting a bespoke jean maker for hemming, or even tapering a pair of selvedge ourselves. In 2011, when Ryan Perkins struggled to find a pair of ideal fitting selvedge jeans that didn’t burst his student bank account, he took the literal meaning of the proverb and decided to hand-make himself a pair to fit his exact standards.

Whilst studying Mechanical Engineering in Michigan, it was a case of being in the right place in the right time when Perkins stumbled upon an old Singer 401 sewing machine on the side of the road. He taught himself to use it in making his first pair of selvedge jeans.

Through sewing that first pair, he discovered how rewarding designing and creating such a personal and loved article of clothing could be. By the time he graduated, his passion for engineering had all but transferred to sewing custom jeans.

R. Perkins MFG Denim

In saying that, there is no doubt that Perking’s engineering background has heavily influenced his work as RPMFG (Ryan Perkins Manufacturing). In his own words, no aspect of the products produced by RPMFG is taken for granted.

One of the most important principles is that every design element has a rational decision behind it…every new process, material, skill, tool, can and should lend something new to the design.

Perkins is not a man who will do something for the sake of doing it. Although limiting in the sense that the only way it would work is for him to be sewing everything himself, he’s not bothered. As he explains, “somehow it works, somehow I’m making a living, and I feel really lucky to be doing what I love”.

R. Perkins MFG Bespoke Denim

As a truly one man brand, Perkins takes care of every aspect of the business from the branding, graphic design and web development, to sourcing, pattern development, taxes, and quality control.

However, despite this solo effort, the jeans produced by RPMFG are seemingly some of the most stylish available and are a true testament to not only the client, in the way that a bespoke product should be, but also the founder’s passion for the craft.

In 2013, Perkins will aims to move RPMFG out of his kitchen and into an old industrial building in Kalamazoo, Michigan. His clients will be able to visit him, have any jean alterations, and receive a first hand view into how the products are made. Collaborations with well-respected brands are also in the pipeline as we will be following RPMFG’s progress.

RPMFG Denim Duffel Bag

RPMFG Denim Duffel Bag


Harry is a fixie rider, brother of three, full-time student and an Instagram addict. He lives in Wellington, New Zealand. Follow his daily activity: @harryross_

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  • Jun

    Inb4 Devan’s haters starts flooding in…

    • OldFag

      Get that 4Chan shit outta here, newfag.

  • http://www.facebook.com/devan.prithipaul Devan Prithipaul

    This article doesnt mention the kind of denim that he uses. that would be nice to know. and to be honest i dont really like the way the denim looks either, but i am kind of guessing that the guy here is doing this more for himself than for commercial opportunity or to make money. also, i am pleading that no one will reply to my comment saying cool story bro, or any of these impostors. like the great kanye west said “if you have haters, you’re doing something right”

    • Grandier

      no, the author didn’t mention what kind of denim he uses, but i’m guessing you’re too lazy to take do a bit of research on his website which is linked above (tl;dr: it’s from Kuroki Mills, thailand, and…candiani? never heard of that one before). i do agree that he kinda do it for himself more than going big business with it.

      on the off-topic…..i’m fairly sure you got haters for a completely different reason though….

      • Grandier

        oh i forgot to mention that he seems to do some sort of…special custom order? like pick your denim fabric and bespoke, and pay a same amount of money, also works the same as the other leather accs and stuff. pretty original business i’d say.

      • http://www.facebook.com/devan.prithipaul Devan Prithipaul

        No, i didnt do any research, the article is supposed to do that for me. haha you’re totally right about the off topic thing! and the bespoke thing, that does make it an original business, why didnt the article cover that? im not a very big fan of this article, it missed some important information.

        • http://www.facebook.com/Harry.Christopher.Ross Harry Ross

          Hi Devan, thanks for your feedback. The focus of the One Man Brand series is heavily on the startup and operation of (as the name implies) one man denim brands. Rather than going into great detail about the products, i chose to focus the article on Perkins himself, the way the brand came about, the way it is run and RPMFG’s goals and aspirations for the future. However i’ll be sure to take your feedback into consideration. Thanks for reading, Harry.

          • http://www.facebook.com/devan.prithipaul Devan Prithipaul

            heyyy that makes sense! yeah now i definitely see where you’re coming from, i guess, when i read one man brands, i thought it was like an advertisment for that brand, but its more like seeing how/why the one guy started it. cool, thanks for for the help! you dont need to change anything, i just missed the point of the One Man Brands. my fault.

        • the van pretty paul

          ……Said the guy who loves the ‘great’ kanye west.

          • http://www.facebook.com/devan.prithipaul Devan Prithipaul

            i LOVE Kanye West! he is my style icon, my favorite music, he has the best celebrity drama! whats not to like!!?? also, as an FYI, his best music is from his first two albums (especially Roses, Diamonds from Sierra Leone, Touch the Sky.

  • devan prettypenny

    damn. these jeans are a pretty penny.

  • Zavick aka Supadog

    Dude i love your work……… your passion …www.zavick.com

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