Seven Questions: Gustin

Chances are you heard about Gustin back when they were raising funds for their (re)launch on Kickstarter. The press was ample, and with good reason. What Gustin promised – top of the line, American-made selvedge jeans for well under $100 – was almost impossible not to get excited about. That the jeans also boasted a classic design and great fit only sweetened the deal. Unsurprisingly, the campaign was a rousing success. Now, four months and almost half a million pledged dollars later, Gustin has officially entered its next phase, launching a fell-fledged online store and beginning to roll out a handful of new non-denim products.

Gustin founder Josh Gustin recently took some time out to discuss high quality, low prices and keeping the brand’s momentum going. Here’s what he had to say.

Well Spent: Give us the Gustin origin story.
Josh Gustin: Gustin started in 2005. I was in grad school getting my MBA. While everyone else was going off to their banking or consulting internships, I decided I was going to teach myself how to make the perfect pair of jeans. I was drawn to denim because it is a timeless garment that has been a huge part of people’s lives for over a 100 years. I loved the material and the craft of it. I loved making something real. I was fortunate enough to connect with amazing people in the industry who helped me learn and launch a number of premium denim lines in top boutiques around the country prior to re-launching the brand in 2013.

Tell us about Gustin’s products.
Our design philosophy at Gustin is simple: we design what we want to wear. This means classically styled garments using the best materials and construction techniques available. These are timeless garments that never go out of style. Our roots are in premium denim. We use selvedge denim from the best mills in Japan, Italy and the US.

Now we’re applying the same philosophy to a completed collection. We launched leather accessories and have an amazing button-down on the way. We also care about where our products are made, which is why we have chosen to do all production in the USA. Our denim is sewn in San Francisco. This allows us to live and breath our product. We walk the production floor several times a day, to stay close to the craft we love and to keep quality high.

On your site, you talk about “changing the industry.” What, precisely, are you changing? Why are you trying to change it?
Eight years in traditional retail left us frustrated with that model for a number of reasons. First, designing the highest quality garments and producing them locally meant incredibly high price-points at retail, which excluded a lot of people from enjoying our products. Second, we lacked any connection to the people who wore our designs. This meant always being in state where supply never quite lined up with demand.

On Jan 7th we changed all that. Our goal was to create the first fully crowdsourced premium fashion company. We design high quality, locally produced garments, crowdsource production and then deliver everything at wholesale. Our launch on Kickstarter confirmed that people were ready for a true alternative to traditional retail – we raised almost 450k on a goal of just 20k with the support of 4010 backers.

An even more significant moment came on April 1st 2013 when we launched our own platform at under the same crowdsourced model. The response has been equally strong.

How are you able to maintain quality while keeping your prices so low?
We are able to do so by not overproducing. We make exactly what is backed, period. We don’t have to deal with excess inventory, which means we don’t take a hit when a particular fabric or size doesn’t sell. Also, because it’s our business, we aren’t paying anyone to sell our jeans and take a large cut like we would if we sold in a boutique

Aside from the price-point, what sets Gustin’s jeans apart from the rest?
The sense of community we build through crowdsourcing and our commitment to openness and service is a really unique approach for a fashion company. Combine that with our top quality fabrics and fit, subtle yet striking details, and that we offer a great value with a great experience for our supporters.

Are there any new products coming out that you can tell us about?
Gustin is expanding into a true lifestyle brand. We want Gustin customers for life. Our next adventure is going to be men’s button-down shirts. Classic American styling, fabrics from Thomas Mason and from some of our favorite Japanese mills, top notch construction (done in California), all delivered at the same radical prices as our denim and belts.

What would you say to someone who’s still on the fence about buying from Gustin?
Give us a shot. We like to let our products do the talking. We’ve been devoted to the craft of creating the perfect garment for years and we’re more excited than ever to keep that quality but get it you at amazing prices. We’re only successful because of our community of supporters and that’s how we like to keep it.

For price and purchase info, visit Gustin.

  • Ben

    Exciting to hear they’re getting into shirts. I’ve been intrigued by their model, but haven’t wanted any new denim.

  • Craig

    I bought a pair from the original kickstarter campaign and ordered a size based on measuring a pair of my own jeans and comparing it to their fit chart. When they came they fit me like clown pants…waist was fine but the thigh, knee and leg opening were so wide that it was comical. They are basically unwearable. They now offer a straight fit and slim fit, but I lose out because the original run was only straight fit (btw, I have a very normal body shape). Josh wouldn’t do an exchange because I had washed them to try to get some shrinkage, thinking they would fit better, but they did not. You’d think that as successful as they are, they would eat it and still do an exchange to have a happy customer. All I got was “Thanks for trying us out” and a pair of unwearable jeans. I would consdider giving it another shot and ordering a slim fit pair, but the customer service left a bad taste in my mouth. Also, beware, those of you that like plain back pockets, make sure you look at the photos, as they put a horizontal signature blue stitching through the middle of the back pockets which kind of takes away the heritage look.

  • Greg

    I also funded the kickstarter.

    I followed the fit guide (measuring some comfortable jeans and subtracting an inch for stretch) and received a pair that was tight on initial wear but is comfortable now as the fabric was stretched out. Legs are fine on me (5’6″ 145 lb).

    They use sanfordized denim which should have minimal shrinking.

    About the back pockets – the horizontal stitching is there because the pockets are lined – no more wallet holes for me!

    I’ve already ordered a second pair off their new site and am waiting for another run of belts to pop up.

  • Craig

    After Josh read my comments here he contacted me and offered to send another size to try on to see if the fit works better, and it did. Now THAT is good customer service. The thigh, knee and leg opening are still a little wider than average, so definitely consider the slim fit if available.

  • Richard

    Gustin Team, I’m not interested in your product. Not particularily averse but just not my thing. Your retargeting ads, however, really annoy me and take you right off the list of brands to recommend to friends. I don’t want to see any retargeting ads, much less ones from one of my hobbies. It’s creepy, cheap and screams of trying too hard.

  • Ulysses

    @Richard – what the screaming hell are you talking about?

  • Glenn

    Once I received my first pair of jeans I fell in love right away! These are amazing selevdge jeans for a wonderful price. They are selling $205 jeans for $81. You can save even more if you sign up with this link. If you sign up with this link you save $20 on your next order.

  • NYS

    If you want a heavyweight denim with classic looks,Gustin is an excellent choice. Recently they are offering a nice denim – the 1776 – for only $81!

    You can get a $20 discount on your first purchase by applying the link below:

    Now you can have a made-in-the-states denim at only $61!

  • rapho

    Hello everybody :)

    Get 20$ off on your Gustin order !

    Click on the link below, create your gustin account and get immediately 20$ off on your purchase !!! :)

    Here is the referral link:

  • NYS

    Hi Everyone,

    I have just received my Heavy American (16.25oz Cone mills) from Gustin and the quality of Gustin is really awesome. I am sure you can hardly find a pair of made in USA heavy raw denim at just $81 elsewhere.

    By setting up your account with the link below you can enjoy $20 discount on your first purchase from Gustin. Enjoy!

  • Mark in Atlanta

    Sorry to say the quality isn’t awesome. I bought a pair and a rivet came off after the first wash. Sent them back for repair. The rivet didn’t even make it through their shipping the repaired jeans back to me. I had to ship them back again today for another repair. Their customer service is great but the quality and workmanship is very disappointing.

  • Preston

    I also have a pair from Gustin I got from the original Kickstarter campaign in April. A rivet just came off 2 weeks ago. I emailed them and they sent some new ones but I must be doing something wrong because just hammering the rivet cap is not attaching it. I’m going to try super glue next. Otherwise I think they’re pretty good.

  • Joel

    Unfortunately, the $20 discount link is over, but you can still get $5 if you use this one:

  • Quoc Nguyen

    what kind of fabric is the last pic? it looks amazing!