Sarah and Victor Lytvinenko began Raleigh Denim a year and a half ago with an enviable hometown advantage: Raleigh, N.C., the line's namesake and base of operations, is a stone's throw from Cone Denim Mills, the U.S.'s premier denim manufacturer. Using Cone's lightweight selvage, the Lytvinenkos make their understated but meticulously detailed jeans by hand. The back pockets are over-stitched and the front ones are slanted, not curved. The material's sulfur wash gives the raw denim a natural luster and, when it breaks in, a greenish hue. The result: the first pair of jeans to come my way in a long time that I felt compelled to buy for myself.
The story isn't all rosy: The Lytvinenkos' denim has been discontinued by Cone, but they've got enough for a significant run for fall. "Hopefully, we'll get a big enough order that we'll be able to develop and produce it ourselves," Sarah said. With Barneys picking up the collection exclusively for its NYC and L.A. flagships—and expanding it to eight more stores next season—somehow I don't think that will be a problem.
$275, available at Barneys New York, 660 Madison Ave., NYC, and 9570 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, Calif., barneys.com